End of the Harvest Hot Pepper Relish (GF)

hot-pepper-relish-5

This was not the best year for my garden. You already know about my zucchini troubles but those were only the beginning. My tomato plants, as well as those of my neighbors, just didn’t do well. Yes, I harvested cherry tomatoes but nowhere near as many as I have in prior years. The San Marzano tomatoes were no bigger than 1/4 of their normal size, while the Brandywine didn’t even bloom until mid-August.  I gladly yanked them out of the ground during the 1st week of October.

On the other hand, my eggplants did far better than I ever imagined and I have trays of eggplant lasagna in my freezer to prove it. I picked the last of the eggplant on about Halloween and sadly cleared those plants from the bed.

Left standing were the chile/pepper plants. They, too, produced a great deal right up until the morning of November 11th, when everything was picked from that raised bed but I held off pulling them because there were still peppers ripening. That morning, I took stock of this season’s pickled pepper inventory. There would be no more pepper pickling this year. Great! Now, what?

Well, I did what most of us do under similar circumstances. I called upon Mr. Google. First, I checked to see whether green peppers would be as hot as fully ripened red peppers. I was swamped with every reply imaginable. Yes, green peppers are just as hot. No, they’re much more mild. They’re the same but red — no, make that green — are sweeter. The only response I didn’t see was that young peppers were inedible or, worse yet, poisonous. So, I went searching for a recipe.

I chose today’s recipe because it was so simple to prepare and, best of all, I already had all the ingredients. There would be no mad dash to the grocery today! So, here’s the relish recipe that I followed. To prepare the peppers, all I did was remove the top of each, leaving the seeds and ribs intact. I did nothing to limit the heat of the relish. The result? One spicy relish but not so hot to ruin your palate midway through the meal. Perfect.

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Hot Pepper Relish

Ingredients

  • 3.5 lbs (1600 g) mix of cayennes, jalapeños, and cherry bomb peppers, tops trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1.5 tsp pickling salt
  • 3/4 tsp black peppercorns
  • 3/8 tsp yellow mustard seed
  • 3/8 tsp celery seed
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed

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Directions

  1. Use a food processor to finely chop the peppers. (A knife may be used to dice them.)
  2. Add the remaining ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil before simmering for a few minutes. Lower heat to keep liquid warm.
  3. Fill clean, sterile jars with the chopped chile mixture.
  4. Remove the garlic before adding the hot liquid to each jar, filling to 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) from the top.
    • If you like, strain the liquid before using to fill the jars
  5. Seal each jar until “finger tight”. (See Notes).
  6. Place in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Start the timer after the water returns to the boil.
  7. Remove from the bath and place atop a clean kitchen towel away from drafts. Do not disturb for 24 hours.
  8. Store on a shelf in a cool, dark place. Use within 1 year. (See Notes)

Based on the recipe, “Hellish” Hot Pepper Relish, by BKLaRue.

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Notes

When dealing Large quantities of peppers and chiles, be sure to wear rubber gloves and do not touch your face as long as you’re wearing them. If you choose not to wear gloves and absent-mindedly rub an eye, I guarantee you’ll wear them next time.

This recipe resulted in 4 pints of relish but can be easily adjusted to suit the amount of peppers on-hand. Just be sure to maintain the relative amounts of the vinegars, sugars, and salt. The rest of the spices can be changed to suit your own tastes.

When preserving in jars, it is very important to seal the jars but not too tightly. “Finger tight” means to fully tighten the jar and then loosen it just a bit to allow for the contents to expand during processing in the hot water bath. Failure to do this may result in shattered jars. (Been there.)

Relish that has been properly preserved will last up to a year on a dark, cool shelf. Refrigerate after opening, however, and use within a few weeks.

You needn’t preserve the relish. If you prefer, it can be prepared as described and then refrigerated rather than being further processed in hot water. Be aware that relish stored in the fridge will remain good for a few weeks and not a year like its preserved counterparts. On the plus side, relish stored in the fridge will retain its vibrant colors and crispness.

  • Hot Pepper Quick RelishOur weather was most unseasonably warm when I wrote this post so I did not pull my pepper/chile plants right away. In fact, they remained until after the first killing frost during the early morning hours of November 20th. As a result, I had another batch of peppers to pick from which I made 2 half-pints of relish, though neither was processed and preserved. Call them a “Quick Relish.”, if you like but, whatever the name, è finito!

If you find that a jar has not sealed properly during processing, just store it in the fridge and use as you would a jar that you’ve opened.

For information regarding canning/preserving, please refer to the USDA Principles of Home Canning guide.

For information on preserving virtually any/all vegetables, fruit, and berries, be sure to check out the Pick Your Own website.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

honey-mustard-deja-vu

 

A few weeks ago, when I shared our recipe for Olio Santo, that post’s look back took you to our recipe for tomato ketchup. Well, with today’s recipe a relish, why not take a look back at one of the honey mustard recipes that I shared a couple of years ago? It’s a great little recipe and if you prepare gift baskets for the upcoming holidays, these 3 condiments make perfect additions to accompany the Olio Santo. You can see how we make honey mustard by clicking HERE.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

red-snapper-preview

Dad’s Red Snapper

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96 thoughts on “End of the Harvest Hot Pepper Relish (GF)

  1. This looks delicious; I wish I had tons of various peppers at my disposal, but Northern France doesn’t seem to be aware that there are several varieties of peppers on this planet, and my so-called “hot peppers” are exclusively green and very mildly spicy (I still pickled and fermented those I got from my CSA); I’ll definitely think of relish next fall. I was also getting eggplant from the same farmer until… last week! Early December!

    Liked by 3 people

    • My peppers were hotter this year than in previous seasons. I’ve read that much depends upon the air temperature and amount of water. Peppers grow hotter when stressed, so, hot temperatures and infrequent watering will increase the spice level. Well, we had plenty of rain and our spring is never too warm. You can imagine my surprise when I tasted my first batch of pickled cherry bomb peppers. I was taken completely by surprise by the heat — and loved it!

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    • My pepper harvest this year was the best ever and took me by surprise. I was making this relish in November!!! Just today, I planted the last of about 8 dozen bulbs. I ordered these last ones before the forecaster predicted this cold and storm system. I rec’d them today and was in a rush to get them into the ground before the snow hit. So, I am very much looking forward to spring. Only 3 months to go … 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That looks great, John, and definitely one my chilli-head husband would like to try. Our chillies are finished for this year but I’ll be returning to this recipe when he over-produces them again next year! Thanks for sharing. Lx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Linda. I can identify with over-producing chillies. I pickled and preserved 20 pints of cherry bomb peppers this year. That’s more than double what I usually get from my garden and all from the same number of plants. The others were more experiment than anything else. Those I preserved sliced, whole, or in with other pickles. I’m going to change things up a bit next year. I really don’t need so many chillies. Next year’s motto will be “Less is more”. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, MD. Necessity really is the mother of inventions. I just couldn’t bring myself to toss into the bin so many peppers, even if not fully ripe. (I feel the same way about green tomatoes.) This recipe is perfect and I’ll use it again next year.
      By the way, I finally bought a pressure cooker, swayed in large part by your comments. I am loving it! Stocks are a breeze to make and seem more flavorful — all in a fraction of the time. I’m looking forward to using it to prepare short ribs and pork belly. Yesterday’s stew was really good! Bean soup is on the menu for tomorrow. 🙂

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  3. That’s a fab recipe, John. No matter what you always end up with too many chillies. I froze a lot a few years back and still I am finding them in the freezer. Your relish is a heaps better idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I ruled out the freezer, Glenda, since I already roasted and froze quite a few Hatch chilies. Besides, I cannot give frozen chillies to people but I can give jars of pickled and preserved peppers to unsuspecting friends and family. 🙂

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    • People constantly remind me, Jeff, that when I started this blog, I refused to can anything. The threat of botulism scared me off. Well, once I started, I slowly expanded until now, where I’ll can quite a few things. Just do some background reading — the 2 sites I listed in the post are great sources — and start slowly. It’s easier than you might think — and safer, too, so long as you follow precautions and keep everything super clean. Beware, however, once you start you may end up with a dining room table that looks like mine, covered with jars filled with pickles, jams, and preserves of every kind. 🙂

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    • Ha! If you had told me just a couple of years ago, Angeline, that I would be preserving hot pepper relish, I would have had a good laugh. It’s only quite recently that I developed a tolerance — and even a taste — for spicy foods. I’m not ready to eat a habanero raw but I can see myself cooking with them one day — maybe. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Amanda. It only took one stinging eye to get me to always wear gloves, especially when dealing with this many peppers at once. This relish is worth the risk, though, it isn’t so hot that it will ruin your palate but it has a nice kick to it.

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    • I can get a number of chilies here, Gerlinde, but I’ve no idea where they’re grown. They certainly aren’t local. We’re in the midst of a cold, snowy weekend. In fact, I’ll be going out in a few minutes to clear some of it. We’re told to expect as much as 10 inches by nightfall tomorrow and I want to try to get a head start. My little snow blower can’t handle that much snow all at once. 🙂

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      • They were no peppers at our farmer’ s market today . We have wonderful artichokes , brussles sprouts and cauliflower. The typical highs here in Santa Cruz are in the sixties. I saw the weather report and you guys in for some stormy weather. Good luck with your snow blower.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Artichokes? This time of year? Oh, how I love fresh baby artichokes. YUM!!!
          Yes, we’re getting socked but it seems to be ending. The snow blower is working fine. I just finished my 3rd “outing” in the last 24 hours and I daresay that should be all. It’s still snowing but very lightly and I doubt it will amount to anything. If so, I’ll make pass #4 in the morning. Sixties? We’re heading for bitter cold and will be no higher than single digits on Thursday. It’s almost as if we live in different hemispheres, Gerlinde. 🙂

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          • The artichokes grow here on the coast and they are to die for. We have cool foggy summers here on the coast. Right now it is raining and I’m hapy because we had a four year long drought.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I would love to live in an area like yours, Gerlinde, for the artichokes alone. I’ve heard weather reports that the storms coming our way this weekend brought your areas some rain. That’s wonderful news, although you could have kept them a wee bit longer. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Amanda, for the kind words and chuckle. Gardening is such an iffy proposition. One never knows what plants will do well and which will falter. Yet we gardeners spend our winters planning the next year’s crops, expecting nothing less than a bountiful harvest. This year, some plants were very disappointing and others seemingly took it upon themselves to pick up the slack. Their over-production sent me scurrying for recipes. Cannot wait to see what next year will bring. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Good recipe! Love hot pepper relish, and nothing like having loads of your own on hand. I call that luxury! Our garden didn’t do well either this year. Our tomatoes in particular were disappointing. The herbs and Swiss chard did great, however. Our peppers only did so-so, but then we didn’t plant that many (they’re so abundant at farmers markets that we decided to just buy local ones this year. Hope the weather next year is better!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, John. I agree that peppers are readily available at the farmers markets but I find their heat level is all over the map. I never really know how hot my giardiniera is, for example, until I taste it. I thought that by growing my own, the heat level would be more consistent. It was but, surprisingly, much hotter than previous years. At least it was consistent. Now, when I hand a friend a jar of pickled peppers, I can say, “They’re hot,” and not, “Well, you’ll find out how hot they are when you taste one.” 🙂

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    • Reading through the comments, Abbe, it doesn’t seem like any of us had a great year in the garden. No matter the part of the country called home, tomatoes did poorly. Like you, however, my eggplants were the heroes this year. Amazing! I, too, am all set for next year. Much of my work, though, has been planting bulbs for spring. I put in about 8 dozen, mostly crocuses, with some tulips and alliums tossed into the mix, for good measure. More so than ever, now I’m really looking forward to next year! 🙂

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  5. The man who didn’t can is a true convert! Love this…wish I’d thought of it last summer with my chilli pepper glut (still have a ton in the freezer!). Didn’t plant any this year (due to the glut!) But we’re on again for next year so at least now I have a back up plan. Hopefully I’ll have emptied the freezer of the 2015 harvest by then too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You remember, eh, Tanya? Ha! Never did I think that I’d be canning anything let alone 20 pints of cherry bomb peppers like I did this season. I guess it’s true, “Never say never!” My freezer is home to some roasted Hatch chiles that I have yet to use. My dining room is home to all kinds of peppers, pickled and preserved in every way possible — sliced, diced, whole. Some jars have only one type, others have a mixture. It just depended on what was ripe the day I picked peppers. I ask everyone, “Do you like spicy food?” If the answer is, “Yes!”, I hand them at least 1 jar of peppers. If only you lived nearby. You’d have found a basket or 2 of pickled peppers on your doorstep by now, at least. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Well… I will NOT be making this… although I’m sure it’s awesome. I don’t like things that are hot, hot, hot. But, if I were at your home, I’d sure put a tiny bit on my grinder/hogie/sub!! ; o ) On another note, when we moved to RI we rented a house and the owners had planted tomatoes plants… which were still producing as fall arrived. Of course, this was waay before the age of personal computers… so I used my Betty Crocker cookbook and found a great recipe for Green Tomato Pickles. I had never canned before but they came out really good. My mother-in-law, who was French Canadian and used to do A LOT of canning in those days, loved the recipe and made her own green tomato pickles. And that was a great compliment to me!! ; o ) (Let me know if you want that recipe… I haven’t grown tomatoes in several years.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • They left their tomato plants? They must have been Italian. No Italian would pull a tomato plant before its time, no matter the reason. 😀 I, too, have a green tomato relish recipe but I’ll gladly accept yours. The worst part of having such a bad year in the garden was the lack of tomatoes of any color. I was thoroughly disgusted with them all! Well, that was last season. Next year will be better. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Do you think it was too hot… not enough rain…? Isn’t is frustrating… and you love fresh tomatoes (fresh everything, actually) so it’s esp. frustrating. I think I told you once (?) about how I planted a garden with my son Mike – outside of Philly. It had a fence, left by previous owners.. but the groundhog waited until everything was ripe, and then proceeded to take one bite out the tomatoes – and eat the other stuff down to the ground. My son never had a garden there again..

        Liked by 1 person

        • Since all of my neighbors had similar results, it had to be the weather, although none of us can put our finger on what exactly the problem was. All I know is that my cherry tomatoes under-produced; the San Marzanos were about half-sized, if that; and, my Brandywines didn’t even flower until mid-August. The vines, however, all grew like weeds. I even pruned them in the hope that they would concentrate their energy on producing tomatoes but that didn’t work. Yes, I was thoroughly disgusted.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I knew, for sure, it’s wasn’t you. Hey – you’re Italian and Italians learn about gardening when they are children! About being disgusting… I think I told you the story of how I had really good luck getting green tomatoes to ripen in a closet at my farm in Quebec… and how Claude’s uncle tried it and they went rotten. He told me, in French, how he was so pissed that he dumped them outside and jumped on them. (He DOES have a temper that one..) ; o )

            Liked by 1 person

  7. I can just imagine the smile of satisfaction on your face looking at all those Christmas gift baskets which must be lined up on your kitchen side bench ready to be passed on to appreciative friends and neighbours 🙂 ! Must really try about 4-5 months down the track! [Oh and the ‘warning’ about wearing gloves is more than valid and the eyes are not exactly the only body parts which can make one go ‘ouch’, now are they. . . . ?]

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, pepper fingers can be a problem where ever they touch. Zia liked to tell the tale of the day Grandpa brought her a bushel of relatively mild banana peppers to pickle. She worked all afternoon doing so but the peppers turned out to be the relatively hot Hungarian peppers. Her hands and arms were on fire that evening and she literally walked around her neighborhood through the night because the pain was so intense. That story definitely left an impression and I check for gloves, as well as jars, before I start picking peppers to be pickled. 🙂

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  8. You may not have gotten the tomatoes, but you sure got the chiles! Too bad they didn’t have time to turn, but what you did with them looks GREAT! I can think of many, many uses for this relish. It would make a great topping for tacos 🙂 or a big bowl of beans. I’ve pinned this so I can remember next year. I always have a bunch of green chile peppers at the end of the year. Great recipe John!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks MJ. I hadn’t thought of adding them to a bowl of beans. I cannot wait to give it a try. I have used them on every sandwich known to man, on and in pasta, atop pizza, and to liven up a bit of chicken or tuna salad. Love the stuff!

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  9. We had similar garden troubles this year and was very disappointed with the failure of the tomato crop. Yes, those cherry tomatoes persisted, but the big juicy ones rotted on the vine. Mr Google is entirely too contradictory sometimes when it comes to information, so I always look to the source of his information. Can you trust it or is it rather dubious? Love this relish – the same kind of thing you do with those green tomatoes (if you can get any to grow in the first place!).

    Liked by 1 person

    • So many of us suffered through a poor gardening season, Debi. Thank heavens we’re an optimistic lot. Next year will be better. I can feel it. 🙂
      Yes, I do not completely trust Google or its counterparts. I think we’ve all learned to take whatever the web tells you with a grain of salt. I have used green tomatoes to make relish and loved it. As you said, however, you have to get them to grow. Argh!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. That honey mustard recipe is also a winner for sure. I would definitely go with the Chinese seeds to give it a little kick…add those in moderation for sure. Saw you mentioned the Polar Vortex in that post…guess what’s coming down from the North now? Sorry to hear about the garden’s overall yield but it sounds like we can pretty much call this the Year of The Eggplant!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve read about Chinese mustard seeds and need to remember to look for them when I’m shopping in the Asian market next time. Although they’ve not called it a vortex , we’ve got some mighty cold weather hitting us mid-week. Right now, I’m battling the snow, trying to keep ahead of it. So far so good. I did hear, however, that there is a vortex due later in winter. Great! We all so enjoyed the last ones that hit us. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right, Betsy. I love the colors in that jar. Had the peppers all been ripe, they would have all been red and not nearly as “festive”, as you mentioned. It also would have been far spicier. This one was just perfect for me.

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    • That’s true, Mary. These do make great gifts — as many friends and family will attest. This relish is spicy but not so bad that it would ruin your palate for the rest of the meal. I do not like things that spicy. A little bit of heat is fine but no more. I think if these peppers had been fully ripe, they would have been far too spicy for me. I guess I’ll never know because I’m not going to take that chance. Yes, I’m chicken. 🙂

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  11. Buono Sera John! Been there, done that and learned my lesson making chilis and inadvertently brushed near my eye…. It was red for 3 days! I did a doozy… Now this relish is something my boys would be slathering on everything. I don’t think I would even need to go through the bothering of canning as the boys might inhale it in less than 3 days.. I love it bright and pretty too! Wishing you a safe and happy holiday. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in the weeks ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Buongiorno, BAM! I think the worst part of having “pepper fingers” is that the oil is a bit water repellant and washing doesn’t necessarily eliminate the risk. I’ve washed my hands and still gotten a red eye — even hours later. Best to put on gloves and be done with it. Besides, it’s safer for my pets, too, although Lucy loves hot chiles. There are advantages to not having taste buds, apparently. 🙂 As much as I prefer the look of the relish when fresh, I couldn’t possible use it all before it went bad. Preserving is the only choice for me. That’s OK. In February, I’ll be enjoying this relish and remembering this past summer.
      Have a great week, BAM!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. John – this reminds me so much of the year we grew 10 different kinds of peppers and they did ridiculously well. In fact, several wintered over and kept producing the next year! I never thought of making pepper relish. Duh. Where were you when I needed you? I roasted them all and froze them, which was good, but jars of your beautiful relish would have been better!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I could very well ask you the same question, David. I started canning the peppers as they ripened and just kept canning and canning and canning, I’ve got 20 pints of pickled cherry bomb peppers and I’ve been giving them away all along. I froze some roasted Hatch chiles but never thought to freeze any of these. So, instead of a freezer full of peppers, I’ve a dining room with peppers stacked everywhere. I think I need to take a 2nd look at next year’s plans for my garden. In the meantime, I see a number of rather spicy versions of peperonata coming my way. 🙂

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  13. That’s a shame about your tomatoes! How wonderful to have trays of eggplant lasagne lined up in your freezer – you have been busy. The photo of your harvest of peppers is really impressive. I too, often look at who I have or need to use up then get on google for inspiration. The relish will be really useful and at this time of year would make lovely gifts xx

    Like

    • Thanks, Charlie. Good to “see” you around, once again, if only for a few weeks.
      I’m way ahead of you with the gift giving. By now, most know to expect some sort of gift basket with goodies that I’ve prepared. And I do love opening the freezer and seeing the lasagna in there. For me, it’s like money in the bank. One of these frigid days, I’ll be enjoying eggplant lasagna. Oh, baby!!!!

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  14. Johnnnnnnn!!!! But your Hot Pepper looks so attractive!!! You know? For our garden too!!! It was an inauspicious year…. I did not to prepare the tomatoes preserves becouse last summer the weather it was unstable….
    I’ d like to make your hot pepper, I was born in South of Italy in Apulia ( Salento💕) and there eat spicy its part of traditional culinary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Whenever I mentioned pickling peppers, Zia would tell the tale about Grandpa bringing her a bushel of mild banana peppers to pickle and preserve. She spent the afternoon preserving them all. That evening, her hands and arms began to burn. They were hot Hungarian peppers. She spent the night walking in her neighborhood because her arms hurt so badly. Now there’s a cautionary tale if ever there was one.

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    • Thanks, Gretchen. There will be some changes made with next year’s planting. My garden is so much smaller than yours and I’ve got to be mindful of a plant’s yield before it goes into the ground. My fear, though, is if I cut the number of eggplants and peppers, this will be an “off-year” and I’ll be picking them from a bin at the farmers market instead of from my garden. For me, it’s what makes gardening fun — and frustrating. 🙂

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  15. This relish, as well as looking beautiful, would be ideal for blocked sinuses. Just showing the recipe should do the trick – 3.5 lbs of chillis, blimey, John. I doubt we have a store in Shropshire that has even a fraction of this amount. My own chilli growing has proved rather dismal. We don’t have enough hot weather, and ones have grown are tasteless. I am truly envying you your store of egg plant lasagna. I grew only 3 egg plant fruits this summer. Hey ho. Btw – how do you store them – dried? in oil? frozen?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Mary. I’ve not figured out what to plant next season but changes are in order. Still, I do like having so many chiles to play with and it’s awfully nice having a few trays of eggplant lasagna in the freezer. I heated one last night and it’s a good way to chase away the chills from this frigid weather.

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