Redefining the Joy of Cooking – Seasonal Cooking {Part 3}

Processing Chilies in chilly weather

Come May, come chili cooking time and quite appropriately so. In the Eastern Free Sate, where The Crown Guesthouse is situated, it is quite common for temperatures to drop suddenly. May is also the month the chilies ripen, and when it does, they should be processed before the first frost bites.

We grow quite a few chili peppers from the Habanero family; not only do they grow well, but once they start bearing fruit it is quite an attractive plant. The hottest species from this cultivar is the Capsicum Chinese, measuring 100 000 – 350 000 on the Scoville Scale – a measurement of pungency.

We have various uses for our chilies; we make Sriracha sauce, which is made from the paste of various chili peppers. It is a very hot sauce made from chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, salt and sugar, scoring 220 points on the Scoville scale. It is rated the No. 1 hot sauce in the entire universe, totally overshadowing Tabasco.

During the last week, we have made Sriracha, a process over 7 days, and talk about a pungency that would scare the devil! Chili sauces may be hot, sweet or a combination thereof. Some sauces are smooth and others chunky and makes a really nice condiment to be used in various ways. Our Green chili sauce is made of various green chilies and is mild in comparison to the Sriracha, which is a smooth liquid. The Red Chili sauce we make is rather hot and very versatile, to have with anything from scrambled eggs to bredies.

Now another delightful condiment is the Chili Jam – for the distinguished pallet we serve that on toast with a chunk of Camembert or Gorgonzola – this is to die for, and you end up eating more slices of toast than usual.
And then we made Jelly – you will recall, those of you who follow our blog that we cooked quite a bit of pectin when apples were in season and this came in very handy for the Chili Jelly, which we usually serve with meat.

So next time you visit The Crown Guesthouse in Bethlehem, ask for the Chili Sauce [not for the feint hearted].

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