Kitchen Garden

Guajillo Chili Sauce

Guajillo Chili Sauce

Evolution of a kitchen garden includes figuring out what to do with the harvest.

After a couple of years growing Guajillo chilies, the results of waiting for the fruit to turn red, then drying them in a way that resembles what’s commercially available from Mexico hasn’t worked out.

Instead, I’ve gone green.

After the first garden gleaning I washed and cut all of the Guajillo chilies into four or five segments. Next, into the Dutch oven with about three quarters of a cup of tap water. I brought the mixture to a boil then turned the heat down to simmer for about 15 minutes.

The lot went into the food processor in three batches. I added seven cloves of fresh garlic, a teaspoon of salt, and roughly half a cup of home made cider vinegar. After a rough chop to break down the chilies, I returned the mixture to the Dutch oven, brought it to a boil and then turned the heat down to simmer for 20 minutes or so. That is it.

The intent is to refrigerate the product in bottles and jars to use right away. My favorite uses for the sauce is in tacos and quesadillas, and as a universal condiment. The one liter bottle in the photo won’t last long.

If the harvest were bigger, the sauce could be processed in a water bath in pint jars for longer storage. I’m getting more comfortable with reducing the amount of canned goods in the pantry, though, and I like the fresher taste.

There was a time I would can, dry, freeze and preserve every bit of food the garden produced. The result was to throw the preserved items into the compost a few years later because we didn’t use them. Now I’m working on a process to give excess produce away either to the food rescue non-profit or to neighbors and friends who don’t garden. Part of a kitchen garden is living in the moment of what’s currently available.

I can’t imagine going to the store, buying the ingredients for this sauce and making it. The engaging part is the interaction between the kitchen and how the garden produces. The goal of a kitchen garden is to get away from consumerism and make things from what we have.

There are similar chili sauces available on the market. The one I made will serve and it’s a great way to use Guajillo chilies.