Stringing Up Chillies

It's Monday and Vanity Fair is on television, most couples settle down with a bottle of wine after the first day back at work but in the Pig Row cottage we have our very own way of relaxing. Tonight, we're stringing up the second harvest basket of hot peppers from our hydroponics challenge. We have already frozen some, turned others into jam and have had them on meaty hot pizzas. It all starts though with a sewing needle, some strong cotton cut to a desired length (ours are around 40 inches or around 101 cm in new money). We recommend doubling up the cotton for large chillies; this simply means cutting an 80 inch piece of cotton and then folding it in two after you have threaded it through the needle. You must start with a clove hitch around the first chilli which sits at the bottom of the string as this will take all the weight. If you don't know what a clove hitch is, then we suggest you do a strong knot.

Chillies

It's then a simple and relaxing journey of needle through chilli as we listen Miss Sharp make her scheming way through the world (Isn't that old person from Rising Damp? What, that's never Leonard Rossiter! Why? He's dead. She looks well for it. That's Miss Jones! I thought it was Miss Sharp. No, from Rising Damp!), we pop our needle and thread through the petiole (the stalk or green bit) of the chilli (see below photo of Andrew doing it). Don't push the needle through the chilli itself as this can lead to the fruit spoiling as it dries as you could inadvertently introduce bacteria into the chilli. Stick to the stalk! (It's France de la Tour! Was that her name in Harry Potter? Who? Miss Sharp! I thought she was Miss Jones? Isn't that Michael Palin?).

Sewing chillies

Chillies

Any chillies that have blemishes on or are starting to show signs of decay, discard. You should never preserve anything that has already started to rot. Remember the old adage of a rotten apple in a tray of good apples, it applies to chillies too and Vanity Fair. After stringing up your chillies, tie a loop to hang them from and find somewhere they can dry out.

Chilli strings

It will take two to three weeks for these to dry out and after that they can be used in sauces, in meals and salads. Add them to any liquid or oil and they will come back to life, releasing their hot, sweet taste into anything you are eating and reminding you of the hot summer just gone (I remember her now, she had a thing for Hagrid! What, in Rising Damp?!).

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