Sunday, May 18, 2014

Homemade Chilli Oil with Free Printable Tags...

6 months ago we planted a chilli bush, along with a handful of other veggies in a little veggie pot on our veranda. We do this periodically to give our daughter a feel for plants and gardens. Living in a rental it’s hard to put down roots for a garden, spend hours developing and making the space your own only to up and move 3 years later. So we have tended to only do the basics in our gardens’, maintaining what is there and creating our own little movable pots of colour and interest to make the space our own.

So when we planted this little veggie patch, we included a chilli bush, we all love spicy foods in our house and having chilli's on tap seemed like a great idea. Well we have had chilli's coming out of our ears since the bush started producing. We have 2 giant zip-lock bags full in the freezer and cannot give the chilli’s away fast enough, we use them almost daily in our cooking and still can't use them up. In this image there is only a couple of days worth from the bush so you can just imagine how many chilli's we are getting.

I have been searching for ways to make chilli based condiments. My two favourites are chilli oil and chilli jam.

So today I made the first on my list, chilli oil. It’s the perfect addition to our home as we love spicy food, a great way to liven up your food either during the cooking process or just as a drizzle on cooked meats, salads and more. It’s so easy to make, tastes delicious and is a great little homemade gift.
I bought a handful of cute little jars from a dollar shop to dress up and make some really lovely presents, of course, I will be keep plenty for myself. I spray painted the lids of the jars red, to keep with the chilli them. Then I created these little printable tags, download them here... which I tied on with some natural hemp cord, voila, homemade gifts. 

Its so simple to make, just wash and chop your chilli’s. I cut mine into fine slices as I think this looks nicest floating in the oil, but you could also chop them into tiny pieces, or even use a food processor and be really lazy.

If you wanted a milder oil you could remove most of the seeds as this is where the majority of the heat comes from, but we love spice so I left all mine in, this does however, make for a pretty spicy oil.

Shallow fry the chillis in just enough oil to release their flavour, after a minute or two, once you can see the chillis begin to fry and can smell the fragrance, add a little more oil, bit at a time until the chilli's are just covered, and the oil it hot enough to infuse. I did it bit by bit, 2 large hot chillis for every 100mls or oil or so, this is dependant on taste and how hot you want the oil.

I repeated this step about 3 times, using a total of 6-7 large hot chillis, then warmed the remaining oil and added it to the chilli mix. Warming the oil allows the chilli flavour to infuse faster and more intense that a cold oil. Leave to cool.

Once the oil had cooled and flavours had infused nicely, I poured the oil through a fine sieve to clean the oil up visually and then picked out the nice looking bits of chilli and popped them back into the clean oil. Removing any bits at were too dark. Of course this step is not necessary but just makes the result look nicer, especially if you are planning to give them as gifts.

Pour into the jars and enjoy! I kept the bottles I gave away small so that the oil was used up before it went off, it should keep for a few weeks but won’t last as long as commercial oils as there are no preservatives used. Of course, in our house, it won’t last long. 

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