chili's in oil-alcohol mixture: any risk of botulism?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by butzy, Jul 13, 2013.

  1. butzy

    butzy

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    I am thinking of making some piri-piri mixture consisting of chili's, oil and alcohol (40-45% alcohol).

    Now I do know that when putting garlic in oil there is a risk of botulism and although I think the risk is very small, I do not want to take that risk at our restaurant.

    Would there be a similar risk with chili's?

    Botulism spores are mainly soil related and that would render the chili's pretty safe.

    Also, I would be using alcohol as well, the end percentage of alcohol will be around 20%

    Am I correct in thinking this is safe?
     
  2. chicagoterry

    chicagoterry

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    If you google "botulism bacteria alcohol" several links come up documenting the botulism poisoning suffered by prison inmates who consumed illegally brewed hootch. I can't tell if there were two incidents--one in Arizona and another in Utah or if it's bad reporting by NBC news. The Arizona case was documented by the Centers for Disease Control. Not sure what the percentage of alcohol was in their batch, but apparently not enough to kill the spores.
     
  3. culinairezaken

    culinairezaken

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    Their hotch is dermented which neans the percentage couldn't be above 18.


    Pieter.

    I love to cook with wine, sometimes i even put it in the food...
     
  4. dillbert

    dillbert Banned

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    interesting question.  

    went poking around - found one place that said 40% alcohol ie 80 proof is sufficient to kill the botulism bacteria and spores.  now, regrets it was pretty much "opinion" - not found any reliable research on alcohol killing botulism spores / bacteria....  the bacteria part would seem to work okay, but the spores are a lot tougher.  

    the dilution factor (to 20%) may be an issue.....

    chilis are an ag product and quite easily contaminated by all the "usual and customary" field /soil baddies - so just because it's not a root crop does not make "no possible botulism" a safe assumption.

    people see infused oils 'everywhere' - for example garlic in oil - but what is not obvious is that commercially the USDA requires acidifying agents to ensure the pH is below 4.x - I think it's lower than 4.6 that prevents botulism from reproducing.  

    for botulism to reproduce and release its deadly toxin, the requirements are:  no oxygen, pH above 4.6 (if that's right) and some moisture.

    so, depending on exactly how you're going about this - non-sealed containers may be a solution.
    non-sealed kept under refrigeration?

    if you're thinking to put up whole bunches and batches to be kept over months - chilis being a 'fresh thing' - the 'acidifying' routine may be your only option.  

    alcohol - stuff like vodka - is pretty much pH neutral (+/- 7.0) so it can't help in that regard - and there's plenty of moisture / water in the non-alcoholic percentage.
     
  5. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    And the oil will rise to the top creating the anaerobic conditions for clostridium to produce botulinin toxin.  Not worth the risk imho.
     
  6. dillbert

    dillbert Banned

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    If you fiddle with vegetable eg olive oil and “high proof” alcohol compounds, do believe you’ll find the alcohol promotes a stable miscibility of the two compounds.

    True, at some point the water content may/will overwhelm the alcohol bit and the solution will “break”

    Piri-piri from dried does not introduce a lot of extra water.  From “fresh” – author is in Zambia…. will bring more water to the table.

    Too many unknowns.

    working from dried, what the heck, make a batch once a week and keep it refrigerated.  even the USDA buys off on that (g)
     
  7. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Why not just do the piri piri in alcohol and then when ready to use, add amount needed to oil being used for preparation?
     
  8. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    It's been awhile since I been to Berkeley but there was one restaurant at each table was a small glass jar filled with red peppers, crushed, in oil.  Of which kind I don't know.  But it was the hottest stuff that I've tasted to date.  Just an fyi.
     
  9. butzy

    butzy

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    I grow my own chilis and can dry them as well.
    It is pretty standard here to see garlic/oil, chili/oil solutions here on the table, private or in restaurants.
    Personally, I think it is pretty safe, but I don't want to be responsible for any food poisoning to any client.
    I may just have to go for chili in alcohol tobe on the safe side.
    The info I found sofar indicated that alcohol over 18% would be safe ( the solution would be shake every day, kept inside the fridge and used within 2 weeks or so)
     
  10. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    If you want to do piri piri oil on the table, just keep it in the alcohol and add to oil right before service. At the end of the night, any leftover piri piri oil can be made into a house piri piri vinaigrette.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013
  11. butzy

    butzy

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    Thanks for all the info.
    I think i will be best off to make it just with alcohol and only add oil when I want to use it to marinate the chicken or whatever else (the plan is to improve on my piripiri chicken)
    I won't put the sauce out on the table, but will put out my standard chili pastes instead.