There are many ways to preserve the home grown bounty for the winter. I don’t like canning vegetables as I find that just reduces fresh vegetables into a less desirable version of themselves. Making jellies, chutney‘s and jams on the other hand, means turning them into something, maybe not better, but different and with new possible uses.
Preserving in alcohol is another old method, and it makes the essence of fruits or herbs last almost indefinitely.
I sometimes make herbal tinctures that are primarily medicinal. This chilli vodka is meant to be drunk just for the pleasure of the gentle heat spreading through your body, but I am sure it would be a very effective cure against cold feet, be they literal or figurative.
We harvested quite a few chillies this year and I’ve been putting them in almost every meal I’ve made since August, but there were still many left. So we made chilli vodka. Now, I don’t really like vodka, being a more of a bourbon/cognac kind of girl, but this one is pretty amazing. It also makes a good edible present, so if you’re extremely well organized and start planning for Christmas months ahead, start now. If you’re more the last minute kind of person, remember that the vodka only takes 24 hours to make.
One year ago: Chocolate Malteser cake
From Sarah Raven’s Complete Christmas
3 small red chillies or 1 long red chilli
750 ml bottle of vodka
Slice the chillies and remove the seeds. Add the chillies to the bottle of vodka. Leave to infuse at room temperature for 24 hours and then strain. If you want it hotter, use one long thin chilli, cut in half lengthways and deseeded. Submerge in the vodka and leave it in for decoration. This means the vodka will get gradually hotter, so don’t wait too long to drink it.
Label and date each bottle. Serve well chilled.