Thursday 9 February 2012

Hot Chillies in Syrup

The chilli harvest has begun. I have a wonderful variety of birds eye chilli. It is tough as nails, and my original plant has survived attacks by caterpillars and possums, not to mention neglect from me!  The chillies start off green, turn black, and then after 6-8 weeks turn red, often within 24 hours. This winter I gave all my chilli plants a severe pruning, and this year I have the biggest crop so far. There's no way we can eat so many chillies, so I am preserving them.

I'm using citric acid to provide the acidity required to preserve the mixture, but without adding the strong flavour that vinegar would - my husband detests vinegar and I want him to eat these!

Wear gloves when preparing chillies, and if you don't like them too hot, then remove all the seeds and the white membrane inside that they are attached to. This is where the capsaicin (the hotness) is concentrated.

Hot Chillies in Syrup

My jar was approx 225ml in volume.

300ml water
300g sugar
1/2 tsp citric acid
14 birds eye chillies, washed and sliced into rounds (with seeds removed from all but two of them)

Heat the water, sugar and citric acid in a sauce pan until the sugar is dissolved, then simmer for 5-10 minutes until the syrup has reduced by about half. Add the chillies and simmer for another 5 minutes, then pour into a hot sterilised jar. Seal the jar in a water bath for 10 minutes - the lid should pop in. Allow to cool and then leave for at least a week before opening. You could add some fresh ginger slices to this recipe for even more flavour.

Once opened, you can use the chillies to add flavour to dishes, as a garnish, or you can use the syrup to add a kick to dressings and sauces.

PS: I saved all the seeds from the chillies to dry out and plant next year!

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