13

I grew dozens more chillis than I was able to use this year so rather than throw them away I preserved them in a mason jar. I didn't have a lot of time to do it so I looked online and an article (which I can't find now) said I could just preserve them in vodka - I cleaned the mason jar with boiling water, washed, chopped and de-seeded and de-stemmed the chillis, then put them in and covered them in vodka.

They've been sitting for around a month now (I haven't had much cause to use them yet) and the other day I moved the jar and the liquid inside splashed up to the top and I noticed that some of it escaped past the rubber seal. So now I'm kinda worried that the jar isn't sealed properly and that instead of being preserved they're just rotting in there.

Is there any way to tell for sure? They don't smell anything other than spicy.

  • 3
    In future you may want to consider not de-seeding them - doing so will make them less hot (unless that is your intention). If you buy preserved chillies from the store (e.g. dried, in jars, chilli flakes, etc.) you will notice they usually have the seeds intact. – JBentley Dec 16 '18 at 20:01
21

Alcohol is a disinfectant, so any bacteria sitting around for a month in vodka have been thoroughly killed...

The only thing to worry about is that if some of the chillies were not completely submerged all of the time, you might have a slight problem. The symptoms to look for is discolouring: look for brown / black spots / extremities.

If not: no worries: they're still good.

  • Thanks! I was hoping this would be the case. One has been bobbing at the surface occasionally but I give them a shake to keep them all well-covered. – Kieran Dec 16 '18 at 16:35
  • 4
    Just remember to throw them out after about 25 years. Theoretically, they could still be fine, but chances are you won't be there to throw them out after 50 years. Always a good idea to write the date on these jars. – Peter Dec 17 '18 at 7:53
  • @Peter Have a look at the original – Fabby Dec 17 '18 at 19:10
18

As Fabby notes in their answer, alcohol is an excellent preservative. As long as your peppers are fully submerged, it's extremely unlikely that they could rot or spoil in any way. (If they aren't, there's a risk that mold or something could grow on the exposed parts, but even that's fairly low if all the surfaces have been at least temporarily in contact with to the vodka.)

What might be a bigger concern is that capsaicin, the chemical that makes chili peppers taste hot, is soluble in alcohol. After soaking the peppers in vodka for a month, it's likely that a significant fraction of the hotness and flavor has diffused from the peppers into the liquid, leaving you with a jar of chili-infused vodka and some noticeably less-hot-than-before peppers.

Not that that's necessarily a bad thing at all, mind you. There's lots of tasty things you can make with chili-flavored vodka, and the peppers themselves might be just the thing for something that calls for something a little softer and less spicy than they'd be when fresh. But something you should keep in mind when deciding what to use them for.

  • 4
    I was planning to use the peppers for texture and a little of the juice from the jar for the kick. :) – Kieran Dec 16 '18 at 16:36
  • Smart man @Kieran ;-) – Fabby Dec 16 '18 at 21:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.