Chilli Jam Recipe

Homegrown Chilli Jam Recipe

I’ve been experimenting with growing chillis this year, for the first time ever. I’ve always thought there was something quite majestic about a chilli plant loaded with bright red (or yellow or green or any variety of colours), and having seen some plants gong cheap at the garden centre, I thought I’d give it a go.

The red chilli plant has done really well in the green house (aka front porch!) and the orange ceyenne pepper has done reasonably well outside, but probably needed a bit more sun!

Having now managed to get a reasonable harvest of chilli peppers, I wanted to have a go at making something that would last… Chilli jam!


This was a bit of an experiment, but I’m really pleased with how it came out. I’d probably add some more chilli next year (an extra ceyenne would probably have done it) for a bit more heat. That said, this is a really flexible recipie, so use as many or as few as you like!

Ingredients

  • A handful of chillies, finely chopped (If using shop brought, try starting with 2/3 medium red chillis)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried coriander
  • 650g tomatoes, cut into quaters (I used a mix of red, yellow and green tomatoes)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 250ml red wine vinegar
  • 600g granulated sugar

Method

  1. Add the tomatoes to a large pan with a splash of the vinegar and soften for a few minutes.
  2. Add the onions, cumin, corriander, chilli and the rest of the vinegar. Bring to the boil and simmer until the tomatoes have almost completely softened down to mush.
  3. I like to remove some of the tomato skins at this point, which will make a smoother jam.
  4. Reduce the heat, add the sugar, and stir until it has all dissolved.
  5. Bring back to a rolling boil and simmer for around 5 minutes.
  6. Pour into sterilised jars and allow to cool.


The jam, which is a bit more runny than traditional jam) goes excellently with cheese, or dolloped in a burger!

Swiss Chard

img_1225I love growing chard (aka: Swiss Chard, Leaf Beet) it’s so easy to grow, and will cope with pretty much all weather meaning it’s a great crop for ensuring you’ve got something growing all year round. Chard is also pretty flexible, as you can either harvest mini leaves that can be used raw in salads, or when mature, giving leaves that can be used just like spinach (although Chard is actually more related to beetroot).

Chard comes in a variety of colours (I like to grow a variety called “Bright Lights” which is really a collection of different verities) as there’s something quite ornamental about seeing the different coloured stems standing proud in the veg patch. Being a cut-and-come-again type plant, a few chard plants will give you a little harvest every week or so. They also grow really well in pots, especially if you want to harvest as mini-leaves for salads.

This year I’m also going to try over-wintering a few plants, as they’re biennials, and should flower in their second year. Apparently you can use the flower stalks like sprouting broccoli, and I may try harvesting some of my own seeds!

Chard tastes like spinach and can be used whenever you might use spinach; the only thing to watch for is the stems! Chard stems take longer to cook than the leaves, meaning they need to be cooked separately. Just cut them away and add the, to the pan a few minutes before you add the leaves.

Swiss Chard

 

Chard works particularly sliced and added to a stir-fry, or in a curry. Getting the family to eat it on its own can be a little tricky, so that’s where this little recipe comes in handy…

Ingredients

  • Chard, washed and stems cut away and leaves sliced
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Clove of Garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 Mushrooms, chopped

img_1227Method

  1. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and cook the onions until starting to soften.
  2. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  3. Throw in the chard stems, and cook for around 2 minutes before adding the leaves.
  4. Cook until the leaves have wilted down, but stop before they go too soft!

This versatile little side dish works well with a roast dinner, and goes really well with some crispy potatoes.

What’s your favourite way to use chard? Let me know in the comments!

Bank Holiday Projects

Bank Holiday Project and Sunshine Juice

I’m writing this after a beautifully sunny bank holiday spent in the garden building a new growing area and experimenting with a new recipe.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been pretty frustrated that the trays I have don’t fit on my windowsill or the mini greenhouse, so today was the day to build what I’ll call a growing tower!

It might be pretty empty now, but after a couple of coats of paint, I’m sure I’ll have no problems filling the shelves!

I also tried another way of using up a glut of tomatoes: sunshine juice! (OK, it might just be tomato juice made with yellow tomatoes, but sunshine juice sounds so much better!).

Really simple to make, here’s the recipe (makes two glasses):

Ingredients

  • 450g tomatoes (cut in half, but don’t bother if using cherry tomatoes).
  • Small onion cut into quarters
  • Salt & Pepper to season

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients in a pan, add a splash of water and bring to the boil.
  2. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring regularly.
  3. Once the tomatoes have boiled down, pour into a sieve over a jug. Use the back of a spoon to push all of the juice through.
  4. Allow to cool and serve with a splash of Worcestershire Sauce.

img_1162

Using yellow tomatoes made the juice sweeter than normal, and it passed the “would I make it again” test, so why not give it a go!

Green Tomato Chutney

Scrumptious Green Tomato Chutney Recipe

This has got to be one of my favourite ways to use up a glut of tomatoes,  and to be honest, tastes so good that it’s worth growing tomatoes just to make this chutney!

It’s dead simple, and once made it lasts forever (although the ‘elf and safety types will probably say only four months and keep it in the fridge). It goes splendidly with cheese and biscuits or a Ploughman’s lunch.

Ingredients:

  • 800g Green tomatoes (I like to mix in some red ones too)
  • 200g Bramley Apple
  • 300g Red Onions
  • 2 Red chillies
  • 100g Raisins
  • 150ml Red Wine vinegar
  • 150ml White Wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 200g Muscovado Sugar

Method

  1. Wash the tomatoes and cut them into small wedges. Chop the onions and chillies. Peel, core and chop the cooking apple.
  2. Put the tomatoes, apple, onions, chilli and raisins in a pan with the white wine vinegar; bring to the boil and simmer for around an hour.
  3. Add the rest of the vinegar, and then add the salt and sugar, stirring well until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally.
  5. Put into sterilised jars and keep them someplace cool and dark.

Most people recommend leaving the jars for around six weeks for the flavours to mature, but I can never wait that long… Tuck in and enjoy!