Try our chilli oil pick-me-up!

Master composter Rachel Phillips-Street, project coordinator for Shropshire and Cumbria Master Composters, shares her warming winter recipe for chilli oil
Jams and oils on shef surrounded by plants
Rachel’s homemade oils and jams brighten up her winter larder

Got lots of chillies to use up from your summer harvest? Our Master Composter Rachel dries and preserves chillies grown in her greenhouse over winter and pops them into chilli oil and jam.

“I grew loads of chillies this year and dry them by popping them on a baking tray and putting them in the oven after I’ve used it for something else,” says Rachel. “I let it cool to about 50 degrees and leave them to dry. Sometimes they need another round. I reserve a few whole chillies then blitz the remaining chillies in the food processor to make flakes which I store in an airtight jar.

“I’ll add extra virgin olive oil to a small saucepan - enough to fill whatever glass bottles I’m using - and very slowly warm the chilli flakes and oil for about 10 minutes, ensuring it doesn’t get hot enough to smoke.

“I’ll pour the oil into sterilised bottles and pop a whole dried chilli in the top to allow the flavour to continue to infuse. To give an idea of quantities, I used a litre of oil to make six small bottles, and about 6tbsp of dried chilli flakes. You can use less to make a milder oil.”

Rachel uses the oil within about six months and drizzles it on salads, pizzas and pasta.

We’d love to know if you give this recipe a go! Share your comments via our social feeds @gardenorganicuk.