Saturday, 4 October 2008

Hot Chilli Jam

The chilli jam is delicious. I took the seeds and pith out of a good number of ripe, red chillies, and stewed that up with some homegrown ripe tomatoes to give a pint and a half of juice once I'd sieved out the skins and seeds. I added another pint of water, together with 1kg of bramley apples (shop bought), chopped with skins and cores. Once these had stewed well I sieved again and added the chopped chilli flesh to the juice. Sugar was added at a rate of a pound to a pint, and the jam boiled to setting point. It is a lovely red colour from the tomato juice, and has a good hot, sweet taste with fruity overtones. Ideal with cheese or cold meat, although Dans loves it in a jam sandwich. He's taken 3 jars to uni with him! Considering we paid around £4 for a jar of this last year when we were on holiday, this was a snip at 50p a jar to produce.
Anyone thinking to try this, do get some thin gloves before you start. I was very careful to keep my hands away from eyes and nose, but my hands felt as if they had been dipped in boiling water after a couple of hours, and I couldn't sleep because of the pain. It wore off during the next day, but they were still tender.
The weather has changed with a vengance, cold, windy and rain forecast for this weekend. Last weekend was beautiful, and I spent the whole of it gardening, bliss.
Sadly though, a lot of time was taken up with clearing out plants that had finished producing. I took down my runner beans, all they were doing was providing homes for the spiders. I've used up the last few this week, but there are a few frozen packs for the winter. I'm not so keen on them frozen, but it will provide a change in the cold months. The blackberries are also over, so I cut out the fruiting cane, and tied up the new ones. Hopefully they will provide more lovely berries next year.
I've also cleared out most of my tomato plants. It looks as if the fruit will finish ripening, so I won't need to make chutney. I've decided the greenhouse will only hold 8 plants comfortably, if I want to put in anything else. The only thing is, I've now been given some black french tomato seeds, soI will need to decide carefully how many plants of each variety I go for.
I also intend to plant out my garlic. After emptying one compost bin and spreading the contents on the garage garden, the garlic will go out there.
I have loads of ripening grapes. They are delicious, but I don't know if we will manage to eat them all. Wine springs to mind, but I've just freecycled the demi-johns, so would need to get some more!
I also intend to plant my sweet pea seeds, some broad beans to overwinter, and split up the self sown watercress in the hope of getting enough for a salad or two. Speaking of salads, I have just put in another load of seeds in the sprouters, as these will give some good additions as the other ingerdients become scarcer. There's still loads to do in the garden, but the weather makes it less attractive when it's cold and wet.

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