Too many chillies & tomatoes from your bumper harvests? Follow our top tips and preserve your crops by drying them. Not only will this intensify the flavour but it’s a great way to enjoy your harvests all year round.
It's a great way of preserving the masses of chillies you get when growing in a Chilligrow!
1) Remove the seeds and cut the stems off your chillies.
2) The chillies need a well-ventilated area and should be turned every other day for around 5 weeks - we pop them on a herb and chilli dryer.
3) Once dry, put the chillies in a spice grinder and then store in a sealed container.
The seeds removed from your chillies can be dried and saved, ready to propagate for next season. Put the seeds in a separate bowl, cover them over to keep any light off and leave in a warm place (an airing cupboard is ideal). Move the seeds around in the bowl each day to prevent mould, and they will be dry after 3-4 week.
Here’s a quick cheat method, as Lancashire can be a bit short of sunshine for the traditional sun-drying method.
1) Cut your tomatoes in half and remove the seeds. 1kg of ripe tomatoes (Plum or Roma are ideal, but any variety will work perfectly) will make 200g of dried tomatoes.
2) Place the tomatoes cut side up and sprinkle with salt, pepper, basil and marjoram.
3) Cook the tomatoes in the oven at 100oc for 12 hours (or until they don’t have any moisture inside them). If they start to cook you should reduce the temperature or open the door.
4) Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
5) Once cool, place them in a sterilised jar and add a bay leaf, a few peppercorns and slivers of garlic, and cover with olive oil.
Your tomatoes will keep for up to 3 months in the fridge.
Most of us find we have lots of green tomatoes in September because when the temperature drops, ripening slows down considerably. Cover plants with a Polythene Ripening Cover & speed up the ripening process before the first frosts approach. This clever Ripening Cover retains the heat & moisture needed to encourage faster crop ripening leaving you to enjoy masses of ripe fruit and veg!