Preserving Chillies and DIY sweet chilli sauce

24 April 2018
From the get go of growing my own food I've always had some chillies growing. Sometimes it's been one plant in a pot and sometimes several plants in the garden. Personally I feel that all edible plants look good in the garden but chillies are definitely a stand out with their structure and colourful fruit.

I like chilli to add a little hum to a dish but still allow me to enjoy all the flavours present. For me it's not really enjoyable when the chilli action takes over and annihilates any sense of taste. But each to their own!

Chillies ready for some preserving love.

So, what to do with all the chillies when you only really use a little in your cooking directly? Preserve them of course.

Some of the things I've done to preserve chillies:

  • Freeze whole
  • Dry whole and either store as is or blitz for flakes or powder
  • Tomato chilli jam
  • Sweet chilli sauce
  • Added to pickled and fermented salsa

This year I decided to make a batch of sweet chilli sauce and also to have a go at pickling chillies. I followed the instructions over here for pickling the chillies. I think these will be great added to mexican bowls or winter stews to add a little oomph.

Sweet chilli sauce is really simple to make at home and a handy addition to the condiment line up. Great to add to many dishes and sauces or simply use for dipping any number of delights. A great easy lunch around here is dumplings with asian greens and sweet chilli sauce. Quick, simple and tasty...if I've managed to get some time to make and freeze a big batch of dumplings in advance that is.

I generally make some form of a simple recipe I came across on the SBS website. This year I didn't have ginger on hand so left that out but I've made it true to recipe in the past and it's very tasty. You could also add other flavours like lemongrass or lime leaves to add your own twist on it. I generally use whatever chillies I have growing but you can adjust the mix to get a different heat level if you like.

Blitzed up chilli and garlic - open the processor lid with care as chilli fumes are potent!

All you need to do is blitz up your bits - chilli, garlic, ginger and any leaves or spices you might want to add. Then pop it all in a saucepan with your vinegar and sugar and bring it to the boil. Boil for about half an hour to an hour and then pop into clean jars or bottles and store in the fridge for up to six months. It will thicken further once it cools.

Sweet chilli sauce - straight to the preserving room (aka the fridge).

Where do you stand on the chilli situation? Hot or not?
Any other good chilli preserving recipes or techniques to share?


  1. Hi Laura, do you always leave the chilli seeds in your sauce?

    1. I generally do, but only because it's so much easier to throw them in the processor whole. If you wanted to cut back on the heat though or aren't a big fan of seeds you could always halve the chillies and scrape out the seeds before processing.

  2. Laura, I don't like really hot food so use chillies sparingly. We have had heaps of them here and I have already put two lots through the dehydrator which were than put in the food processor for chilli flakes and I make some chilli salt with some of those. I might make some pickled chillies though so thanks for that link.

    1. Hope you enjoy the pickled chillies. I like the idea of the chilli salt.

  3. I'm like Chel. I am not a big fan of chilli so I don't grow them. Having said that though, I do like sweet chilli sauce. Maybe one bush in the garden would be okay! Meg:)

    1. Even if you don't eat the chillies they do look pretty cool in the garden as all the chillies display the various colours of ripening. One bush sounds like a plan.


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