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Oct 2, 2009 04:11 PM

Fresh peppers steeped in oil ?

'Joy of Cooking' states that dried chili peppers are to be used in making chili oil. It also says not to store/keep chili oil that was made with fresh peppers. Why ? If the fresh peppers were steeped/cooked in oil, wouldn't that keep for a month or so ? Or is this a bacteria issue. Thanks

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  1. It is a bacterial issue. Vegetative matter in oil creates a hospitable environment for botulism. You'll find conflicting arguments and recipes that'll say you can keep it for a long time and I use to keep mine for months but I've become convinced after much reading that it's better to do small amounts that you'll be using in a week to ten days just to be on the safe side.

    1 Reply
    1. re: morwen

      Morwen has it right, but keep in mind that the risk is vegetable matter kept in oil for a long time. If you make a flavored oil and filter out the peppers, garlic, or whatever after a brief soak in hot oil, there's nothing for bacteria to grow on and the oil should be good for several months.

      And I don't know why Joy of Cooking's authors think dried peppers are safer than fresh. Drying does not kill botulina, which is the main concern.