Matt Simpson of Simpsons Seeds, a Chilli expert, author and general all round nice guy tells us how to make paprika;

“We don’t have the nice dry climate here in the UK that is enjoyed in the US and Mexico, so sadly we cannot dry chillies out in the open. It can be possible to dry chillies in a greenhouse, but this is risky, this last year, the ‘wet one’, it would have been pretty much impossible.

I have spoken to folks who dry them above ranges, Aga’s and over fire places, this may well add an extra element of flavour to them, but this can take some time, also, if there is much moisture in the kitchen from kettles or boiling water, it can take longer.

I have found that best way to dry them is to use a dehydrator, I have owned a couple over the last few years, surprisingly, the cheapest, has produced the best. It was bought online can was just under £40.

Unlike the more expensive one, this one does not have a thermostat, so I have to rotate the rays a couple of times. If I don’t the sliced up flesh tends to get a little bit caramelized. Brilliant! I do check the trays every couple of hours to make sure things are drying well.

Combined with the de-hydrator is a very basic blender, and also a cheap coffee grinder. I have been asked why I don’t invest in more expensive equipment. I found that they have the same life expectancy as the cheap stuff. What I would say is make sure that you cover your face, or buy a decent dust mask when it comes to processing the hotter chillies.

The drying fumes from the de-hydrator can be pretty harsh on the non chilli lover in the house hold, chilli fume related coughing fits are a common place occurrence for me, more so when drying Habanero’s and especially so the 7-Pots, which as mentioned earlier are insanely hot. Best thing to do is place the dehydrator in a spare room, shed, or somewhere unlikely to cause domestic problems. Do remember that pets noses are far more sensitive than ours, dogs many hundreds of times so.

The procedure is to cut the pods into slices, or pieces, try to make sure that they are as similar sizes as possible. This ensures that the drying time is the same, if the pieces are of uneven sizes, the drying time will be varied, some pieces will be caramilising, (which does add to the flavour), whilst others are still soft. Once dried, they need to be allowed to cool to room tempreture.

The next part of the process is the blender. It’s also a good chance to experiment with mixing two, or more varieties together. As a seed producer, I tend to make quite a bit of sweet paprika, this as you can imagine, I find a bit dull. So a few years ago I began experimenting using the sweet paprika as a base, and then adding the powder from a hot one.

The use of a blender leaves largish pieces, these have their uses, why not keep some back and mix them with crystal sea salt, this was they can be used as BBQ rub or steak seasoning. I tend to go for fine powder, it takes up less space, and mixtures are less likely to settle. This is where the face protection is very important. As mention I have been using a cheap, (less than £10) coffee grinder. The powder does float up in the air, even more so when emptying the grinder into a storage jar.  I found that using a spoon was kinder on the lungs, also giving each batch a few minutes to settle within the grinder before opening to decant also helps.

Suggested sweet peppers, Napoleon Sweet, Marconi, Honur F1, although any that take your fancy should do, I like to use a thick fleshed type. As for the hots, well, there is a huge range out there, go for ones which suit your tastes, remember that you will get less paprika from thinner fleshed, which includes the stupidly hot 7-Pot. Try some of the Aji’s, or thicker fleshed annums.”

Link to Simpsons Seeds Sweet Pepper Seeds

Link to  Simpsons Seeds Chilli Seeds



Chillies are very versatile, we all know that. There are now so many varieties in different shapes, sizes, colours, heat levels and flavour. People are always looking for new ways to showcase the Chilli in its best light, so what better way to showcase the heat and flavour by making Candied Chillies and thanks to Fairy Fee ( Fee Campbell ) she is sharing her method here;





“Choose a chilli with a good thick flesh and tough skin as they have to withstand quite a bit of cooking.  I used Bulgarian Carrots grown in the Fairy Fee greenhouse.

Slice your chillies to the desired size always mindful that they will ‘shrink’ a bit during cooking.

For every 1 cup of prepared chillies add 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water and slowly bring to the boil stirring all the time until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the chillies and simmer gently until all the stock syrup is absorbed (this takes a few hours) taking care not to allow it to burn.



Allow to cool slightly but be careful not to let the chillies stick together.





Coat each piece in granulated sugar and place on a rack to dry overnight (or on a very low heat in the oven for an hour or so but be careful because they will burn very easily).





Melt some bitter chocolate and dip half the chilli in the chocolate and lay on greaseproof paper to set.”






So there you have it, a simple but slightly different way to use some of your home grown crop and with Christmas fast approaching, giving these in a box or pack would make a great stocking filler for the Chillihead in your life!



Now although I list this as a recipe, it is more of a “methodology” than a recipe as there really are not many ingredients. When I mention pickled eggs, I get a mixed reaction from the people I speak to, they are definitely a “marmite” product, love or hate.

Chilli Pickled Eggs

Eggs have been pickled for centuries, as a way of preserving them, these days you can get one with your Friday night fish & chip supper, but to me they are a Christmas tradition, something I have loved for as long as I can remember. My mother would make a jar each year but only for the festive season.

This is something I now do each year for my own family.

So being a Chillihead, it is only natural that I would experiment with the addition of Chillis to add that extra bite.

The following recipe/method is my way of doing things, there are plenty of recipes out there but I thought I would share this with the Chilefoundry readers, especially as Christmas is just around the corner.

You will need:Chilli Pickled Eggs

  • 18 eggs (if using the vinegar jar listed below)
  • 1.14 Litre bottle of Sarsons clear pickling vinegar
  • Small amount of greaseproof paper
  • And as many Chillis as you dare, the hotter the better! Sliced lengthways

Step 1- The Eggs:

The eggs do not need to be super fresh, normal shop bought eggs should be fine, if like me you happen to keep Chickens at home, then use eggs which are at least a week old as it aids the shell removal.

Put the eggs in a large saucepan, and cover with boiling water. Some people say to add some vinegar to stop the shells cracking but I have never had an issue.

Wait until the water is at a “rolling boil” and then time for 10 minutes, ensuring the eggs stay covered. It doesn’t matter if the eggs crack while boiling.

Once the time is up, drain and immerse in cold water and give the pan a good shake to crack the egg shells, this enables the water to get under the shells and also helps with shell removal. When cold enough to the touch, remove shells being careful to leave the eggs intact.

Chilli Pickled EggsStep 2- Pickling the eggs

If you are using the jar that the vinegar is in then decant half into a jug and carefully drop the eggs in the jar whilst adding pieces of chilli as you go until the eggs reach the neck of the jar, now you add more vinegar to top up the level to just below the lid (you may need to press the eggs in gently so they wedge themselves in and stay under the vinegar).

An important point to note, if you are using old jars, make sure they are nice and clean, I use a Milton sterilising tablet which I have for my wine making, rinsing thoroughly after.

Make sure the jar doesn’t have any air bubbles trapped by tapping the jar and top up the vinegar if necessary.

If you are using jars with metal lids, it is a good idea to cover the jar opening with a square of greaseproof paper, this stops the vinegar making contact with the lid and rusting the metal.

Carefully screw the lid on tightly and put the jar in a dark cool place for at least a month. There is some debate about how long these will last in the jar, I have eaten home pickled eggs which were made the previous year, however 3-6 months is the maximum I would advise.

There you have it, do them now and they will be ready in time for Christmas, sliced up with cold turkey in a sandwich.

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The Smokey Joe Sauce Company - Spicy Banana Ketchup

The Smokey Joe Sauce Company - Spicy Banana Ketchup

Just imagine that you live on the idyllic isle of St Lucia, I can because I have been there, and so it seems has Smokey Joe. The island is about 230 square miles of volcanic mountains with the highest reaching over 3,000 ft above sea level. The hills and valleys  are covered with a rich green carpet of tropical trees, a lot of which are bananas plants, with bananas being one of the islands major exports.

St Lucia has a history of both French and British, but in 1814 it was finally secured by the British, in 1979 it gained full independence, while remaining part of the Commonwealth. It is a beautiful island with a warm welcome for tourists.

Bananas make a great base for a sauce, the sweetness mean you don’t need to add as much sugar, and this sauce makes great use of the bananas, the spirit vinegar stops the banana from oxidizing and turning the sauce brown, this ketchup is great balance of the sweetness and flavour of the banana, the acidity of the vinegar, then the spices, most notably the allspice  and the cayenne peppers.

Ingredients: Water, Banana (44%), Spirit Vinegar, Sugar, Onion, Sultanas, Garlic, Slat, Allspice, Turmeric, Pepper, Mixed Spice, Cayenne Pepper, Cloves.

Bottle kindly supplied by The Smokey Joe Sauce Company

It is not everyday that you find a ketchup that is not tomato based, and this one works so well, the consistency is thick, but very pourable, ideal for pouring over some BBQ chicken or even some slow roasted pork. In the recipe section of their web site they have  recipe for Pork Kebabs that use the Ketchup as a glaze which we have repeated below:-

Pork Kebabs with a spicy Banana Ketchup Glaze
Recipe Type: BBQ
Author: The Smokey Joe Sauce Company
Serves: 4 to 6
  • 2 lbs pork shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 10-15 bamboo skewers
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup Spicy Banana Ketchup for glazing
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  1. In a large bowl, combine soy sauce, garlic, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, and black pepper then mix together.
  2. Add the meat and mix thoroughly until well coated.
  3. Cover the meat and the marinade and put in the fridge for about 4 hours.
  4. Soak skewers in water for about 1 hour before using.
  5. Thread meat onto the skewers.
  6. Prepare basting sauce by combining Spicy Banana Ketchup and mixing well.
  7. Cook on the BBQ or medium grill, basting every time you turn it.

Serve with rice and peas and/or salad.

This sells for £3.20 for a 270g bottle, which while not cheap, you need to remember this comes from a small producer who creates some very unique and special products, you can order this on their web site were you can also find an ever growing list of stockists.


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