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david kaplan | Apr 15, 200703:22 PM     8

I'm looking for advice on storing homemade chili oil. I make it by dry-frying a mixture of crushed red peppers, including seeds, and Sichuan peppercorns, then heating that mixture in peanut oil until approximately 225F, and then cooling and putting it in a jar. My questions:

1. Is it OK to leave the spices in the oil or do I have to strain them out? The only reason I would want to strain them is to prolong the shelf-life of the oil -- I'm not worried about the oil getting too hot if the spices stay in because the hotter the better.

2. Can the oil stay at room temperature or should it be in the refrigerator? How long will it last in each location?

Thanks.

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