Re: [CH] receipe request salsa verde

Brent Thompson (
Fri, 05 Jun 1998 10:20:33 -0700

> I've put dried habaneros ... in bottles of olive oil with the
> idea that after a while the olive oil would pick up some of the chili
> flavors. Is there any danger in this?

Nothing is without danger :-).  But, no, don't worry about this, because
water is not present in significant amounts.

Read up on botulism; it's a worthwhile investment of time.

I'm certainly not an expert on botulism, so the following comments should
only be considered useful warnings, not gospel.

The bacterium in question grows in aqueous non-aerobic environments.
Covering green chiles (and lots of other great hosts) with oil provides a
happy home for these critters.

They don't like acid, so if there's enough balsamic vinegar, considering
the recipe that re-started this thread, the mix should be safe.  But not
enough vinegar, and danger exists.  How much is enough?  Probably not too
much is required.

I seem to recall botulism organism also doesn't like high sugar
concentrations, so botulism risk is low in traditional jam and jelly

Cold slows them down.  So, refrigerating/freezing preparations that provide
suitable growing conditions can slow down growth to the point no
significant danger exists.

Boiling water temperatures deactivates the toxin, so boiling before
consumption makes it safe.  But as I recall, the organism itself can
survive temperatures higher than boiling point of water, so I'd have to
review the literature before having an idea what is required for safe
long-term preservation of preparations what would/could support growth of
botulism organism.

 ---   Brent