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I have loads of chillies left over from summer so I'm making some infused oils for christmas gifts. The obvious oil to use would be extra virgin olive oil (very expensive for good quality), but I've also found some very reasonably-priced cold-pressed premium extra virgin rapeseed oil (it's even won awards!).

So my question is: are there any reasons not to use cold-pressed rapeseed oil vs olive oil for the infusions - e.g.

  • Any difference in flavour absorption?
  • Any effects from the different fats (mono-/poly- etc.)?
  • Any issues with storage?
  • Anything I've missed?
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Either oil will work just fine for infusing with chillies, at the end of the day just about any cooking oil will work. Infusing oil with chilli won't change its cooking properties, and both those oils will store fine long-term.

If you are going to go for a cold infusion then it's highly recommended that you dry your chillies first so you get a long lasting result. If you don't dry them they will get mushy and rot in the oil, which isn't very pleasant. Drying them in your oven will stink up your house big-time, but it's worth it.

Alternatively you can make chili strings with them and they will air dry, or you can freeze them for years and they'll stay good.

  • Nice, thanks. Definitely drying for longevity/intensity - no issues with jalapenos but have some Nagas to do that I'm genuinely afraid of. I recommend overnight drying in the oven. – rubie Nov 14 '16 at 14:28
  • Is there not a food safety issue with storing chilis in oil? – padma Nov 16 '16 at 0:31
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GdG is right about ensuring that the chillies be properly dried before putting into your chosen oil. If there is any moisture in the chili then it will rot, you may not see this initially, but the chances of someone getting botulism is quite high here.

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