self preservation

The autumn harvest is upon us here in New Zealand.  That means baby root vegetables, new season apples, and the end of summer fruits.  As the last of the summer’s peaches, nectarines, apricots pears, and plums have been coming in, I have been bottling them for winter treats.

I also did a few jars of preserved lemons, after a preserving workshop at Moore Wilson’s, where that was the main recipe demonstrated.

In addition to bottling, I made a batch of pickled beets, and a few jars of lemon curd, which are long gone by now!

But, my most exciting (and tasty!) accomplishment on the home-preserving front thus far has been my fire roasted tomato and chipotle ketchup!

How did I do it?

Well, I started out by cobbling together my own home-made charcoal grill from bits of scavenged garden and kitchen supplies, including, an old terra cotta planter, a rusty brazier that has been holding a bucket of clothes pegs since we moved in, and the grill rack from the broiler (which clearly now needs a good clean).

homemade grill

I threw some balsamic-marinated tomatoes on the grill, let them char a bit, and then peeled off the skins once they were cool.  I also threw on a few jalapeno chilies I had picked last weekend at the chili pepper patch in Kapiti, and let those get nice and smoky for a few  hours.

Once it had cooled a bit, I blended up one chili, one can of chopped tomatoes, about 1 cup of the fire roasted tomatoes, 1/2 a white onion, 1/4 cup cider vinegar, 2 tbs white sugar, 2 tbs brown sugar, some salt until it was fully pureed.  I then added a few cloves and pepper corns, and let that mixture cook on a very very low heat semi-covered for about 3 hours.  After it had thickened up and there was not too much liquid left in the pot, I took it off the heat and let it cool. It thickened up quite a bit after that, and I pushed the whole thing through a sieve, which was very messy and a lot of work.  But the taste… was worth every minute of effort.

Below are some pictures from my trip to the chili pepper patch last weekend!

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