Look out of my kitchen window towards the greenhouses and beyond the greens, browns and yellows of the autumn garden, flashes of vivid red and bright orange catch the eye, adding an unexpected yet much appreciated burst of colour to a rather drab palette.
That said, it has now become a race against time, as the chillies continue to ripen whilst the weather grows ever colder. The Cayennes’ are ahead of the rest of this seasons’ plants and are rapidly and regularly changing from green to red. The Little Elf plants which were sown last August (2013) have also produced a respectable number of chillies and several of the huge Ohnivec chillis have started to change colour in the last few days.
The Patio chillies are still for the most part, pale yellow/green but I have spotted the first hint of orange and hopefully these chillies will now ripen speedily, as the parent plants are beginning to show the first signs of giving up the ghost and keeling over which is also true of the other varieties as well. I may yet have to bring some of the plants in to the relative warmth of the cottage to finish ripening the chilli peppers but time will tell.
Between the Cayenne and Little Elf chillies, I very nearly have enough in weight to attempt my first ever chilli jam. I only need 150g of red chillies which may not seem a huge quantity but with each chilli seeming to weigh less than a flea (okay, I may have exaggerated slightly), in terms of numbers 150g is actually quite a lot of individual chilli peppers. However with plenty happily turning red across the two varieties, I am hopeful of starting my jam making in the next day or so.
The Cayenne chillies will also feature in my pickled chillies, alongside their larger Ohnivec cousins. If all goes to plan, the red and dark green of the thinner Cayennes’ should make an interesting contrast against the red and pale green of the huge Ohnivecs.
Again I have never made pickled chillies before so my fingers will be crossed (and gloved) that this is another successful foray into preserving my own produce and the pickle will be stored in my brand new, 1 litre Kilner jar – a birthday present from Little Mudlet a few weeks ago. As I intend to pickle the chillies whole, the length of the jar seems ideally suited to the Ohnivecs and I have already measured it against the one I had to pick the other day (the stalk had come away from the main plant) which at 5.5 inches long, is a medium sized pepper when compared to others still on the plants. A jar of pickled chillies should provide a decorative and eye catching addition to the kitchen.