Food & dining

Spice and heat

Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Hyde Park resident Celeste Croxton-Tate is prepping a red pepper relish she makes for her business, Lyndigo Spice. The sweet aroma permeates the workspace at CommonWealth Kitchen, the shared Jamaica Plain space. She adds apple cider vinegar, mustard seeds, and spices to give the relish a piquant Caribbean twist. On her worktable are a dozen jars of sweet, savory, and smoky chutneys, relishes, and fruit spreads she makes with local ingredients and sells to stores and at farmers’ markets (about $10 for 6.7 ounces). Roasted mango relish with curry and chile powder can kick up a stir-fry; the sweetness of pineapple chutney will soothe the heat of spicy jerk chicken. Gingery blueberry spread is delicious on its own with cheese. Croxton-Tate, 46, catered for friends and family for a decade and launched Lyndigo Spice last year (the company is named for her sister Lynn, who passed away; indigo is a name the entrepreneur liked, so she combined the words). Croxton-Tate had a passion for cooking even as a young girl; while other kids were watching Saturday morning TV, she watched cooking shows. She learned Caribbean-style cooking from neighbors while she was growing up in Roxbury. “Everyone’s door was open,” she says. “I would sit in their kitchen and watch them cook.” Cooking is her love, but she has another career. For 19 years, she’s been a police officer with the Boston Police Department, working her beat in the evenings. Starting her own food business was a longtime goal. “There’s a shelf life to products,” she says, “but not to your dreams.” Available at Formaggio Kitchen, 244 Huron Ave., Cambridge, 617-354-4750; Cambridge Naturals, 23 White St., Cambridge, 617-492-4452; Wasik’s Cheese Shop,61 Central St., Wellesley, 781-237-0916, or go to ANN TRIEGER KURLAND