“Hey”. It’s Mrs B. We are in the kitchen. She says to me “This is the place I was hoping to prepare dinner”. She has that Desecration Smile (whatever that is) as she looks at what is easily my best ever crop of Red Hot Chilis. She looks to me and then the otherside of the room where a potted plant with small yellow chillies sits on the windowsill. “And by the Way, if you think that plant is staying in here, think again”
The debate is no more than a storm in a teacup. I agree to move the plant, a minor thing, and promise to process the chillies, although I fear it will take till midnight. As usual, I have grown several different varieties of chilli from around the world. To view the plants in the greenhouse was to go road trippin’ through south America and beyond from the brown Machu Pichu to the jewel-like Naga Yellow Blaze. I wonder if I should wear some PPE when chopping and cooking the chillies. I look around – “perhaps this velvet glove” I muse to myself but worry the combination of the brown and red chillies will only leave a purple stain. I decide to risk working without it.
First, chilli jam. We have finished last year’s batch. I gave a lot of it as gifts to my friends and relatives. In a matter of moments the aroma in the kitchen changes from coffee shop to sour smelling distillery, as the vinegar and sugar simmer. I have dosed the sugar with pectin but fail to stir it in properly, so it creates a nasty sludge. I pay for this later when, despite being right on time with the boiling of the jam mixture it refuses to set. I turn it again but finally give in and elect to market the new produce as ‘extra thick chilli sauce’.
I still have plenty of chillies left over and decide to try out my new oven – a readymade chilli dryer. The results are spectacular, transcending even my highest hopes. Some of the chillies had seemed a little low on heat, warm tape in comparison with the fearsome fire I had expected. But when I try the dried versions they have a deep kick that could leave scar tissue on gums and tongues. I chop the Machu Pichu to make chilli flakes. The rest I decide to make into chilli powder and process the dried chillies in an old coffee grinder. Removing the lid releases a fine dust cloud that is a real tearjerker. I go walkabout on the patio till the air clears a little.
But, ultimately, I am pleased with the final products. Mrs B sets up the produce on a tray for the Insta post. We believe the results justify the efforts .
A FREE JAR OF CHILLI JAM-SAUCE TO THE FIRST CORRECT ENTRY NAMING ALL RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS SONGS MENTIONED IN THIS POST.