Most plants don’t grow all year around. This is why, in 4-season countries, vegetables are preserved to keep them fresh and available for cooking during winters. Thanks to the freezer, the jars and the technology in between that make preserving ideas come true (and easy). Now, the bushes of chillies can be just enough to spice up your meals throughout the year.
Another simple solution of preserving chillies is with olive oil. Why olive oil? Among any other types of oil, olive oil delivers tasteful dishes when cooked and probably the only oil that has healthy benefits for your body. Thus, olive oil is considered as high quality oil.
Olive oil can be the base to cook delicious food due to its wonderful aroma. With a good quality of olive oil, you can have chillies stock that taste even better in time. So how do you preserve chillies in olive oil?
First things to do
First thing to do is to harvest or purchase chilli peppers. Separate the rotten chillies and pick only the finest ones. If possible, pick the freshly picked chillies before processing because the spoilage begins once the chillies are picked. Wash the chillies with cold water.
Prepare the glass jars by washing them thoroughly and sterilise them by soaking in a pan of boiling water. Or, you can use your dishwasher to dry those jars. You see, everything to preserve chillies, need to be clean and sterilised. This is to make sure that bacteria don’t come crawling in your chillies and spoil them. As for the types of jars, you can use either one or two-part lid as long as it is air tight, it should be fine. It is also recommended that you use brand new jars. Old jars may have been used several times and the lid may no longer provide air tight feature anymore.
Using a sharp sterilise knife, make one or two small holes by poking the chillies. This trick will help the liquid to penetrate inside and make the chillies completely preserved in and out. To have a hotter sensation, you can chop the chillies into smaller parts. When you chop the chillies, the juice will be ‘squeezed’ during the preservation. Making them taste hotter and better!
Alternatively, you can roast the chillies by removing the seeds and put them inside your oven. If you don’t have an oven, you can take out the BBQ grill and roast them there. And since grilling don’t provide timer, you need to be sure that you ‘supervise’ the chillies to avoid overcooking them. Preserving chillies in olive oil allows you to add other ingredients that will create wonderful aroma and taste. You can input fresh garlic, oregano, or any other spices according to your preference.
Preparing the liquid
There are many ingredients to make the liquid solution. Here are the ingredients to get the perfect liquid to preserve your chillies.
A cup of water; 3 quarters cup of olive oil; 5 cups of vinegar (it can be white or cider vinegar); a pinch of salt.
Boil the mixture and pour it into each jar that you have filled with chillies. Leave a centimetre of space to prevent the oil from damaging the lid in the future. Wipe off the excess on the jar and lid surfaces and seal them.
Bring the jars into boiling water for 15 minutes. While you bathe the jars, check each one of them and see if there is any jar that isn’t sealed properly. The bathing process will make the lid pop down because the air is removed.
Use only high quality ingredients and instruments; not only for the chillies, but also for the oil and the jars. A good quality jar will not easily break during the process. And the best oil to preserve is olive oil. Olive oil has antioxidant benefits and promotes good nutrition.
When using acid ingredients such as vinegar, make sure you wear gloves when you do the process. Use tongs as well, to avoid your hands from touching the heated lid.
Air tight is the first feature you need to find when purchasing jars to preserve your chillies. This is essential because you may not want your long effort and time consuming activities end up in a trash bin just because the preserved chillies are spoiled. Preserving chillies in olive oil may need time and experience to be perfect.