Pickled Chilies, Fridge Chilies, Dried Chilies, Chilly Chilies

Can you guess what this post is about? There´s a small hint in the title…

Yes, I am a complete chili addict.  I love things hot and spicy, but I know that not everyone else does.  Big Man has gradually increased his “heat tolerance” over the last few years, but he´s still got a way to go before he catches up with me.  A way around this is to grow your own chilies and then use them as you like.  They´re hard to buy here, Spain is not typically a nation of spicy food lovers.

Most of the chilies ripen at around the same time.  We planted late this year, so ours are all starting to turn red or orange (some are picked green) in early September. When you have this glut of chilies, you have to do something with them to keep them for the year ahead.

Chili Heaven

The simplest methods are (apart from eating them fresh), to freeze them or dry them.  Last year I planted long thin green chilies, some stubby orange ones, and the fiery cayennes.  You can see them in the photo.  If anyone wants seeds, please let me know and I´d be happy to mail them to you…honestly, if you have the weather for growing them they should do well.

This year I also planted some that a neighbour gave me (I don´t have a photo as they are not ripe yet) of some super fiery pinky red chilies that look like little balls or rose hips when they are mature.  If anyone knows what they might be, I´d love to know.

Some of my chilies I pickle and I followed the guidelines in Olives and Artichokes post here.  I used mustard seeds and peppercorns in this particular jar, but am going to enjoy playing around with spices and pickles over the next few weeks.

And a final way, which may be new to you, is my mum´s refrigerator chili preserve (for want of a better name) which keeps for a month or two and is for dedicated chili lovers who enjoy spooning spicy fresh chilies over anything and everything.  Cut your chilies finely, scissors help with this as they help avoid nasty incidents with chili fingers in eyes.  Put them into a sterilised jar (recently out of the dishwasher is good). Cover the chilies with oil (I use olive oil but any oil will do) and soya sauce (about 8 oil to 1 soya).  Keep in the fridge, shake before serving, and enjoy the buzz!

We are off on holiday tomorrow (yay!) for a week – looking forward to catching up on all your posts and comments when we´re back.  ¡Hasta luego!

Pickled Courgettes

What do you do when your Big Man comes home with about 15 mammoth courgettes and you´re the only one in the house who really enjoys them?  Well, you have to give a few away to a courgette loving neighbour, and then get creative.

The courgette loving neighbour gave me a recipe for her courgette bread which looks delicious and rather like my Banana Bread recipe.  As soon as I´ve made it I´ll let you know how it goes. Then I made some little courgette pancakes, but more of those another time.  And then I thought it was time to tackle some pickled courgettes.

These remind me of special Italian family meals when I was younger – lots of salamis and pickled vegetables as a big Antipasto.  It´s been years since I made them, and I used mustard powder and turmeric which is not so Italian, I have to confess.

I used a recipe I found on the BBC Good Food Website with a few small tweaks.

500g courgettes, very finely sliced (I used a mandolin slicer)

500ml white wine vinegar

140g brown sugar

1 tsp mustard powder (I used Colemans English Mustard)

1 tsp mustard seeds

4 dried cayenne chilies, crumbled (use less if you like)

1 tsp ground turmeric

Sprinkle the courgette slices with salt and then cover with ice cold water and leave for an hour. Drain and pat dry. Meanwhile put the rest of the ingredients into a saucepan and heat to dissolve the sugar and leave to bubble for a couple of minutes.

While the pickling liquid is cooling down a little, pack the courgettes into two sterilised jars, pour the liquid over and seal tightly.

The recipe says to keep them in the fridge and that they will keep chilled for a couple of months.  I have them in the larder which is cool.  They will taste great in a few days, but I had a few slices that wouldn´t fit into the jars which I covered with a drop of the pickling liquid and ate that evening…and they were delicious!