Q. How hot is your Chilli Ketchup?
A. How long is a piece of string? Well that depends on what you call hot. Following your feedback it is a lot hotter than when I first started making it. In fact every batch gets a bit hotter. Basically I make it so it tastes good and doesn't remove the lining from your mouth. I know I made a rod for my own back by calling it Hot Chilli Ketchup, so, to make amends I will soon be introducing another Chilli Ketchup to the range. Hot and Hotter, take your pick. Watch this space (or my infrequent twitter/facebook utterances).
Q. How many calories are there in a jar?
A. Got asked this last year (admittedly prefixed by "I know this is a very girlie question...") and replied "taking the lid off will probably require more calories than you'll consume". Sorry, I just don't know. Really, how much jam do you consume in one sitting?
Q. Do you sell marmalade?
A. Farmers' market rules means that I have to grow the majority of the ingredients in my products. And there just isn't enough sunshine in Walthamstow for orange groves. Having said that our Rhubarb and Ginger Jam (which has orange peel and lemon zest) has a pretty good 'marmalade' edge to it.
The same Farmers' Market rules also means we don't do Banana Jam (you'd be surprised how many people ask me for that).
Q. Can you recycle the jars?
A. Indeedy! Bring back your used jars/bottles and as thanks I will give you 25p off your next purchase. You can throw away the lids as I use fresh ones each time.
Q. Do you make jam without sugar?
A. No. Jam without sugar is called fruit. I have tried the 'super jam' approach which substitutes grape juice for the sugar, but it entails such a lot of energy to reduce the juice down I abandoned that route. Anyway grape juice is still sugar, just in a different form. I also thought the taste was adversely effected.
The sugar in jam is there for a purpose. Firstly to preserve the fruit - jams low in sugar go off pretty smartish. Secondly it helps set the jam.
Q. Do you use any nasty stuff - preservatives and the like?
A. Good grief no. The sugar in the jams and the vinegars in the chutneys and pickles acts as a preservative.
Q. How long will it last?
A. If I had a penny for every time I get asked that then I'd have, um, at least 50p (UPDATE: make that £2.50).
If you don't open the jar then it will last for ages. After that, as long as you keep it in the fridge it will keep until the 'best before' date stamped on the bottom of the jar (they're called 'preserves' for a reason). Hopefully you'll be so intoxicated by the taste it will be used up well before then.
Q. Are you organic?
A. I certainly don't use synthetic pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Nothing in our range is processed using irradiation, industrial solvents or chemical food additives. Crikey no. Having said that I don't have any official organic certification.