This year I’ve had quite a glut of chilli peppers, not that I’m complaining, I adore chilli peppers! Most years though I’ve usually eaten them as they ripen and very rarely have to concern myself with preserving (if only the I could say the same about courgettes… I swear there’s a courgette fairy who wanders around with a small bicycle pump inflating young fruits so cropping becomes an hourly task!).
This year however I find myself with more than enough to cook with and plenty of spare ones, not least in part to a twitter friend, Craig, @wegrownourown, who sent me seeds for some slightly more different varieties. I’ll no doubt blog on them when I’ve recovered from the impending taste test.
Anybody who knows my kitchen antics will know that whilst I enjoying taking time over cooking, primarily due to the bottle of wine that gets opened, I’m not one for long preparation techniques, and the same can be said of my preserving methods… none of this blanching, drying and bagging for me, its straight in the freezer and fingers crossed in most cases.
As such so I took a look into methods of preserving chilli peppers that wouldn’t prove too onerous. I’d seen strings of dried chilli peppers hanging in photographs of expensive looking kitchens when I stumbled upon a copy of Country Life in the waiting room of a local Kwik Fit… yes it surprised me too, some how Kwik Fit & Country Life don’t really seem like uncomfortable partners. This was reinforced by the burly grease monkey who took it from me and furtively pushed it into his rucksack muttering “….its my mums”
Anyway, the concept seemed simple enough, harvest them with enough stalk, take a length of fishing line and a large needle and then string them together. Once done, hang them in a warm, light, well ventilated position and watch them dry. The Chilli Ristra – what could be simpler!
All you need do then is check that none start to go mouldy before they have dried, if so then remove those ones, but ultimately you just leave it hanging there until you need some for cooking with…. and to top it off, I read that in some countries its consider good luck to have a ristra hanging around the place… I hope it brings me some and refills that wine glass once more.