Monday, October 20, 2008

How to Make Garlic Infused Olive Oil

The following instructions for garlic infused olive oil were written by Jamie Sward. I think it is really important to have it here on Garlicster, since I've been asked a few times how to prepare the garlic olive oil.

With the weather getting colder, and guests on the way, I wanted to make some delicious garlic dipping sauce for some homemade bread sticks. I'm a big fan of dipping bread in olive oil, with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. So tasty! I thought this would also be the perfect time to use some brand new stainless steel kitchenware that I purchased last weekend. While I was researching recipes, I learned something very important about the process of making garlic-infused olive oil. One might think it's as simple as dropping a few cloves of garlic into a bottle of oil. WRONG! Do it this way and you risk botulism poisoning which can be deadly!


Clostridium Botulinum is a bacterium found in most soil and since garlic, being a root vegetable, is ripped from the ground, traces of this deadly bacteria are still left clinging to it. Since Botulism is an anaerobic bacteria (meaning that it thrives in an environment lacking oxygen), it dies in the presence of oxygen. Olive oil essentially seals out oxygen and when you mix food in with the oil, you have an ideal breeding ground for these potentially deadly bacteria. It is absolutely essential that you sterilize any food you plan on mixing with oil, including garlic. It's recommended that you heat the oil to around 200F, sauté your garlic in the oil. The creator of Emerilware kitchenware and cookware, Emeril Lagasse actually recommends sautéing the garlic over medium heat for between 3 and 5 minutes. Do not...I repeat do not soak your garlic in the oil prior to cooking it. While there's something to be said for planning ahead, when it comes to safely making garlic-infused olive oil, it pays to wait till the last minute.

54 comments:

marie said...

I would like to thank you for the information on garlic having botulism, you saved my family's health and or lives with that information, being an advid garlic lover i had done just what you said NOT TO DO and i had a bottle of olive oil with garlic sitting in the cuboard just waiting to be used, well not any more i threw it away. I wanted to know if eating raw garlic is harmful and how long you should cook it and at what degrees, does it cotaminate other foods and counters? if you know these answers could or would you pleae let me know? again THANK YOU VARY MUCH my email addresse is mariegmaof3@gmail.com or gmaof3dng@yahoo.com thanks marie

Maria said...

You can totally and absolutely eat raw garlic, I love it. Check out my "real pasta primavera" recipe here on Garlicster, it goes with raw garlic.

robbie d said...

It's about creating an environment for the bacteria to grow. Oil is an ideal environment. Eating raw garlic means the bacteria is subject to stomach acids and other things on its travels, and does not get a good environment to multiply.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. We had made garlic oil by just dropping the cloves in oil. We started a new batch about a weel ago and I noticed it bubbling like it was fermenting. I got nervous and did a web search which lead me to your page.

Anonymous said...

WOW, I have a big bottle of olive oil and was just about to put some garlic in it because I love a stonger garlic flavour. I just googled to see if there was something I needed to do other than just dropping the garlic cloves into the bottle, and I cam across your site. Well, I can't thank you enough. I'll continue to make it fresh every time.

michael said...

I want to make garlic infused oil. Can I dry out the garlic in a dehydrater and then add it to oil? Or will this also give me food poisoning.

Thank You

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness! Just like Marie, my husband and I just made a bottle of olive oil with garlic cloves in it a few days ago. The reason I found this site is that I was baking in the kitchen and while looking through the cupboard for something else I thought, 'I wonder how that smells now that it has been in there a few days.' What got my attention was the fact that when I opened the bottle it "puffed" like the way a carbonated beverage bottle does when you open it. That got me thinking about what gas may have built up in there which led to thinking about how foods give off gasses as the decompose. This thought freaked me out a little and I'm so glad it did! This will be in the garbage immediately after posting this and I will be sure to spread the word to anyone who thinks this might be the cheaper way to get tasty olive oil.

Samwise said...

It should be noted that Clostridium Botulinum (Botulism) i RARE. Garlic infused oil has been linked to Botulism but not very often( http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00000627.htm)
However this "Outbreak" of 34 case's was in 1985 and no deaths where reported.
Store bought Garlic infused oil generally contains acid(such as lemon juice) to reduce the chance of Botulism being able to grow.

Please don't be scared of garlic infused olive oil its not likely to give you Botulism. Stop being scared of everything and just live,

Also if you are still scared of everything in the world this site list safety precautions that will help make Gallic infused oil safer to use. (Add lemon juice and keep it in the fridge but not for to long) http://www.ext.colostate.edu/safefood/newsltr/v2n4s08.html

Angela Wilson, author said...

Thanks for the post! I'm a little surprised at how many sites are linking to Botulism for garlic-infused olive oil. I have a garden and pull my own garlic and use it all the time - fresh. I've never gotten sick - and I've used it over a few days in different dishes.

I'm trying to figure out how to can or store garlic in olive oil for a long-term use. It dries out too quickly just hanging. There must be a way, since they sell it in sealed jars in the stores.

I'll try it with lemon juice. Makes sense since you use it in your low acid items when canning.

Anonymous said...

First of all raw or freshly sauteed garlic is never a risk. Botulism can only multiply in an air free environment, like a sealed bottle. Second, ya, botulism is serious but rare. The canning industry went decades without killing it, simply throwing away the bad cans and jars (the swollen or bubbly ones). 3rd, surprise, 200 isn't hot enough to kill botulism. You need 250 degrees. This guide is useless and potentially life threatening.

Anonymous said...

Thats complete nonsense we eat potatoes, carrots and salad, you don't have to cook them to 'kill bacteria'

Simply peel the garlic and drop it in the same with everything else.

The earth is clean, theres nothing to worry about for millions of years we've been eating raw vegetables, we arn't going to die from it now.

peggy Huff said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
peggy Huff said...

Is it safe to simmer garlic cloves in oil for 10 minutes, r emove cloves, transfer to bottles?

Anonymous said...

I have a question. Can you make a stable and safe garlic infused oil with garlic powder instead? I wanted to give infused oil for gifts this year for Xmas. Thank you. Kendra

heldmx@aol.com said...

As I was contemplating making garlic infused olive oil, I was taken aback by your warnings. However, you informed me of how to prepare the oil in a proper manner. I will saute' my garlic at 250f for twenty minutes to kill any potential harmful effect. Thanks to you, I didn't do it by taking fresh garlic and putting into a bottle of olive oil. Thanks very much for saving my life. Sincerely, Michael Joel Held heldmx@aol.com

Staph Treatment said...

Clostridium are a spore forming bacteria, and it can take more heat to kill spores. Lower heat levels may actually cause the spores to activate, becoming the live bacteria. To get rid of all spores, you'd have to sterilize the garlic, which is not very practical. I have made a garlic and ginger infused raw manuka honey as a Staph treatment, and this issue could also be a problem there. And raw honey can also contain C. botulinum spores. The best we can do is cook the garlic enough to reduce most of the possible problem bacteria. And storing refrigerated is also a big help. Thanks you for your insightful post.
Michelle

bill said...

The problem with these sauteing techniques is that the very desirable strong, hot garlic flavor is lost due to the heating process, You end up with almost "roasted garlic", which is useless to make a pungent garlic infused olive oil. So maybe the only solution is to drop it in the bottle, wait a week or so to see if it bubbles.

Oregon Sue said...

I have been infusing garlic into olive oil for years and also onion... but I first take the freeze dried garlic slices and reconstitute them in warm water, drain and dry them completely (put in a coffee filter and squeeze) and then put them into the hot oil, 200*, and let it sit until cool. Same with the freeze dried onion. I also add red pepper flakes, and/or celery seed, and sea salt. Awesome!

Dave, Sydney said...

OK after quite a bit of time researching this after I also had a bubbling bottle of garlic oil, it seems that once we remove the extreme opinions (doing it once will likely lead to certain death, the earth is clean and won't hurt us), the facts are:-
putting fresh (wet) herbs undried or unsterilized into oil *can* kickstart botulism, however the incidences of it happening are *extremely* rare. You have more chance of being poisoned by supermarket foods or at a restaurant.

And can I also say that if you are happy to play Russian-roulette with your health by eating McDonalds, KFC or any of those kinds of fast food... then infused oil is the *least* of your health worries.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the advice - BUT - once the olive oil is infused does it have to be refridgerated??

Jim DeForest said...

After you have sauteed the garlic in 200 degree oil for the proscribed time, is it safe to put one of the cooked garlic cloves into the bottle with the oil?

Derek said...

I am totally confused now. Do I drop my fresh garlic into my oil?, do I a saute first? Do I reconstitute?

sleepless in sickness said...

Interesting discussion; its currently 4am and I'm in a bout with some kind of food poisoning I've narrowed down to the olive oil dipping sauce my girlfriend and I had at a local restaurant. Whether it's botulism or something else, I can't tell you. This is the second or third time I've become sick from oil, and my godmother served up food poisoning to a dozen people once that all got sick from oil. It's no picnic and it could be serious for a frail person like our 85 year old grandmother that thankfully didn't have any oil. I preserve several food items at home, and there's a reason why food is sterilized before preserving. If you notice stored food giving off gas (for example, popping a vacuum seal), this is a sign that bacteria is present and it's a good idea to cook something like that thoroughly before taking it. We're
so used to very high quality food because our regulations
are so strict here; in many parts of the world food poisoning is a real problem. It's usually from stored food that has been allowed to grow bacteria over a period of time; fresh vegetables, especially here in the us, are rarely a problem because the bacteria is at a very low concentration. So my policy: if I want fresh flavor, make the oil fresh. Otherwise, cooked preparations will last in a sealed container which gives an indication of releasing gas if something bad happens. And I guess now, no more tapanade type preparations at restaurants. This was a pretty nice place, too. Thanks for letting me be on a soapbox; the last 10 hours of misery make me feel obligated! :)

Anonymous said...

Well talk about too little, too late. OMG I "made" garlic oil a couple of weeks ago by doing exactly as these websites tell you not to do ! A small glass oil decanter (pointy lid with hole in it) of olive oil with four or five cloves of sliced fresh garlic AND I left it on the counter at room temperature. Let's not forget that we went away for 9 days returning last night to our un-airconditioned home and used some of the garlic oil to dress the cooked penne with fresh basil for dinner tonight. My husband and my Mother (82) and I ate about 7:45 p.m. It's now 2 1/2 hours later and no one has keeled over or complained of any symptoms to be concerned about. I did notice before using the oil, that the garlic pcs. were slightly browned/discoloured and no longer the whiter colour that they were when they were added to the oil. Because of the little hole in the top of the oil decanter, there was no way to hold in any gases. The aroma was still good and it tasted good, so I guess that time will tell. I didn't think to check the internet until after dinner . . . and imagine my shock. I'm confident that the small quantity used on the pasta will not be a problem, but sadly, I will dispose of the rest. In the future, I'll check first and then eat! LOL and make it for immediate use. :-(

Anonymous said...

I roast the garlic. Yum, roasted garlic infused olive oil. Love it!

Anonymous said...

A nurse where I work recently told us that she cuts garlic up and puts it in butter and stores it in her refrigerator and uses it as a spread on toast and bread. Couldn't this cause the same botulism?

sully said...

I started to make bottles for the holiday of olive oil herb sauces! I added2 cloves of garlic,(dried)thyme oregano and basil and onion! just experimenting to see how to make it! it Looks like one that you find on the counter for decoration! guess thats all it will be. I am not up for food poisoning!

Barbara Daca said...

Allicin is created when you CRUSH garlic through a garlic press. It is NOT present in whole, cut, diced or minced garlic and is ONLY produced when CRUSHED through a garlic press (NOT with a spoon). Allicin in Garlic is one of natures most broad spectrumed, antibacterial agents. It counteracts the growth of many forms of bacteria and fungi that cause disease. Allicin, the compound found in fresh garlic that constitutes antibiotic and anti-fungal properties, k ills or at least cripples 72 infectious forms of bacteria. Among the list of bacteria's that spread are diarrhea, dysentery (an infectious disease of the colon, with painful diarrhea that becomes mucous and hemorrhagic), botulism, tuberculosis and enceph alitis among other diseases. As scientists struggle to find new ways to fight bacteria that resist almost every drug in the antibiotic arsenal, a group of Boston University Medical researchers have made a significant discovery about garlic. "It's a surprisingly effective weapon agai nst some of the most dangerous antibiotic - resistant bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumonia.

Anonymous said...

I made a garlic infused oil with raw garlic and fresh rosemary. place the smashed up garlic and fresh sprigs of rosemary into the olive oil jar, shook it and waited. i let it sit on the counter and we've been using it ever since. looks good, smells good and none of us, to date, have been sick. but it makes me wonder what kind of chemicals companies use to preserve their stuff. i made the oil mix over a month ago.

Anonymous said...

I make olive oil with garlic using fresh cloves to pour over my new potatoes or pasta but i make it up in the morning in a very small bottle for that day and then throw any that is left over at the end of the day, which to be honest is very little or none, as I know how much to make. That way I know its fresh and no problem and takes no time.

Emma Blue Rain said...

You have made numerous errors in this entry that might cause more problems than you prevent.
You need to re-check your information & edit your post -- it adds to the confusion when someone posts things that are incorrect but sound like absolute facts.
Botulism is caused by something called a SPORE (like a yeast or mushroom or mold), NOT a bacteria. This spore is called Clostridium Botulinum.
The spore multiplies in an oxygen-free environment. A WARM one. Because garlic & oil/butter go hand in hand in many recipes or items we love to eat, especially in our favourite restaurants, it's only natural that people want to have it at home, and think it's easy to make. We also have it drilled into our heads that canning or vacuum-sealing things makes them safe because we remove the oxygen; this is true of probably 99% of foods we eat, but could be deadly with garlic and oil. Call it "the perfect storm" of food poisoning, if you will.
You can have garlic in oil or garlic infused oil in a safe manner: peel your garlic, mince it, slice it, or leave it whole if you would rather, cover it in whatever oil you prefer and refrigerate it, then use it within one week. ALWAYS. Keep it cold and use it quickly. After a week, chuck it out.
I only make what I can use, and if I end up throwing it out, it's no big deal because garlic is super-cheap and plentiful. Better safe than sorry and it's not going to break the bank (whereas being off work indefinitely because I poison myself is going to cost A LOT!)
NEVER EVER leave it at room temperature -- the spore multiplies like mad in a warm acid-free oxygen-free environment -- it's an incubator for this particular spore. It isn't the spore that makes you sick -- it is the waste product, the toxin that it releases (spore crap, basically! lol).
An even safer way is to chop it or mince or slice it then pour vinegar or lemon juice over it -- the acid kills the spore (like vinegar kills yeast). Then you can put it in oil, but still be sure to keep it in the fridge -- oils & fats go rancid when warm, but stay fresher when refrigerated, so your flavours will be better if kept cold (like butter lasts longer in the fridge).
Someone commented something along the lines of, "that's dumb, we eat carrots & potatoes without this risk of poisoning. Geez, you have to live and not be afraid of everything", and that is true, BUT if we were brushing a potato off, chopping it up, then putting it in a jar of oil in the cupboard for a month or a year, we WOULD run a serious risk. But since we store carrots & potatoes in the air, the spore cannot multiply.
And botulism is no little diahrea/pukefest kind of food poisoning -- our bodies cannot get rid of it that way. It is a toxin, a poison, not a live germ like salmonella that we can develop an immunity to. The most dangerous part about the spore is that food contaminated with it, that has a high toxin level will often not look or smell spoiled or altered; they look and smell perfectly safe.
Yes, there was an outbreak in Vancouver, Canada in 1985. There was also a big one in 1989, in NYC. Who knows how many other outbreaks there have been worldwide?
Anyway -- since your website comes up on the first page in a general google search, you should really correct it. If you need to research, the Canadian government has a fabulous department that helps keep us safe from food-borne illnesses, contamination and other things that can affect our health. I'm including the link to their page below. I hope some of this explanation helps you and everyone who happens upon this page :)
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/food-aliment/garlic-ail-eng.php

Mukesh kumar said...

Clove oil is aphrodisiac in nature and hence serves as an excellent stress reliever. It has a stimulating effect on the mind and removes mental exhaustion and fatigue. When taken internally, in appropriate amounts, it refreshes the mind. Clove oil also induces sleep and is helpful to insomnia patients. It is useful for treating mental problems such as loss of memory, depression and anxiety.

Clove oil when mixed with salt, and applied on the forehead, gives a cooling effect and helps in getting relief from headache.

The clove tree is an evergreen that grows to a height ranging from 8–12 m, having large leaves and sanguine flowers in numerous groups of terminal clusters. The flower buds are at first of a pale color and gradually become green, after which they develop into a bright red, when they are ready for collecting. Cloves are harvested when 1.5–2 cm long, and consist of a long calyx, terminating in four spreading sepals, and four unopened petals which form a small ball in the center.


Thanks
AND
Regards
Mukesh kumar
Buy Clove Oil

aneta, daughter of a microbiologist said...

just one clarification to emma's comment. clostridium botulinum IS a bacteria. without getting too into the microbiology, the important things to know about it are . . (1) it's anaerobic [grows WITHOUT oxygen]; (2) it forms heat resistant spores, which can germinate later [which is why cooking once may not be enough]; (3) it does NOT grow in acidic environments [sadly inapplicable to garlic infused oil]; (4) the bacteria can create neurotoxins which cause botulism, which is very very deadly. hence all the advice on garlic infused oil. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clostridium_botulinum

Sierra said...

Not sure why there are conflicting desriptions but clostridium botulinum is indeed a bacterium that can produce several toxins. Knowledge is the key here, you CAN make a garlic infused oil but know the risks, as minimal as they are they can occur. I have been making my own but rarely keep it more than two weeks, it starts to ferment and the bulbs look nasty...still tastes great though and I have not died from the toxins yet. Knowledge, free of charge and readily available right now.

Anonymous said...

Some people have WAY too much time on their hands. GO outside! Smell the roses. If they kill you, at least you will die with a pleasant scent in your nose.

zappenfusen@gmail.com said...

I've been crushing copious amounts of Garlic, combining with Olive oil, Basil, etc. & placing in refrigerator where it becomes a butter like consistency I use for seasoning pan's, Grits, you name it. After an attack of the worse Gastrointestinal upset I've ever had & wondering it's cause I wandered across your article. Is there a way to prepare my previous concoction & being able to store it for any appreciable amount of time in the Ice box without killing myself. I will surely miss my Garlic Butter. Zappenfusen

sharonmarsoun said...

Yep, you can dry garlic in your dehydrator, especially if you'd like to relish the smell of dirty socks in your house for a few days. Stinks like mad to dehydrate garlic. Never again!

lee weng kwong said...

To be on the safe side, it is best to use virgin coconut oil(VCO) as the infusion as VCO contains lauric acid which destroys bacteria, viruses and fungi.
I use VCO because it contains medium chain triglycerides which is the only known substance ( to my knowledge ) which is absorbed directly into the liver via the portal vein,resulting in almost 100% bioavailability. I'm using the VCO as carrier oil to enable any oil soluble nutrients in the garlic to be absorbed directly into the liver, thereby generating ketone energy instead of the normal ADP energy which cannot be utilised by the brain.

Hardo said...

I have just been introduced to this blog and am amazed how many people are into garlic infused oil.
I had a good crop of garlic this year and my way of preserving it is by processing the garlic in a food processor with cold pressed extra vergin olive oil and himalayan salt in a ratio of 2/3 garlic and 1/3 salt. the salt is the preserver and it makes it just about impossible for any bug to exist in that mixture. Very handy for any cooking, salads and soups in particular as a spread on fresh bread etc. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Based on everything I have read, I wander why, leaving the peeled garlic out (exposed to oxigen) will not get rid of the bacteria. For one, the bacteria which, as stated, comes from the earth, is likely to be on the outside, hence peeling should help. Two, leaving it out in contact with air should kill any remaining traces. Even more, rince them after peeling, towel dry and leave to air. Shouldn't all these make it safer?.
I am taking note of the fact that it should not be left for long periods of time. I used to crash or put whole a few cloves of garlic into my bottle of extra virgin olive oil, and keep on refilling the bottle. The garlic will take a brownish color and I have often wandered if they were rotten a little.
My big doubt is wheather the bacteria is on the outside or throughout the garlic. If it is troughout then my previous suggestions would not work, but if it is only on the outside, they should work. Also for added security (in the second situation, when the bacteria in on the outside), after wahing and exposing to air, we should be able to deep them in a little lemon juice for a few minutes, then rinse and dry and proceed.
I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR OPINIONS FROM THE EXPERTS TO THE REMEDIES I PROPOSE.

Jim Brewster said...

"Based on everything I have read, I wander why, leaving the peeled garlic out (exposed to oxigen) will not get rid of the bacteria."

Lots of confusion in this post and the comments. C. botulinum is a species of bacteria that forms spores. Oxygen does not kill the spores, but they only start to grow and multiply in the absence of oxygen. Yes cleaning the vegetables will remove most of the spores. As someone else pointed out it's not the spores or the bacteria but the toxin they produce. It's safe for healthy people over age 1 to ingest the spores in the quantities found in fresh vegetables; the body will kill them or pass them. But if you create an environment that is ideal for them, there is a higher likelihood that they will multiply quickly and produce sufficient toxin to poison you. I wouldn't necessarily trust allicin, or lauric acid, or other natural food components, to prevent that from happening. It is a low risk, but is it worth the risk? That's your call. IMO there are many better, more effective, and more practical ways to use garlic and olive than to combine them this way.

Anonymous said...

I was just wondering why the garlic dipping oil you buy in the store is safe and what process they use to make it safe. And is there a way to make the homemade oil safe for longer consumption? Thanks..

Anonymous said...

Geeze!!! Well, just to take the death watch panic down a notch or two....I have made my own olive oil for years. This is going to trouble some of the people here, but I regularly place 3 or 4 whole garlic cloves into 750ml of olive oil, and seal it with your regular oil spout ie not sealed.....and then...to make matters worse....I leave said oil on the COUNTER beside my stove, where I use it nearly every day. Once done, I dump out the leftover contents when it reaches the air level, wash bottle good with soap and water, the air dry and repeat the process.

Not dead yet, never sick....sometimes I wonder how the human race ever evolved with all the doomsday scenarios out there.

Ooops...got to go down to make some pasta with the garlic infused oil :>

Roy Pertchik said...

I've simmer/boil a few handfulls of peeled garlic in about a liter of olive oil for about 10 minutes, and then I just keep it at room temperature. I figure the oil boils at perhaps 350, which is well above the recommended 250 pressure cooking to kill botulism. Is this safe?

TAWM said...

I wish I had found this earlier. About six months ago I decided I wanted garlic flavored oil so I purchase one of those tall oil bottles with the cork and little spout. I shoved about ten cloves in it and filled with olive oil. I then put it in the cabinet and started using it to cook with a week later. When the oil level became low I added more oil, and quite honestly it smelled heavenly and tested even better. I used it for about five months, the garlic had started getting loose brown papery skin floating off of it yet I still used it but I wondered ifthegarlicwasgoingbad. One night I got a little sick and as always I trace back what I had eaten. I suspected the oil so I dumped it out and soaked the bottle with soap water. Nobody else in the family git sick. I sure do miss that oil it was divine.

Marty said...

Wow, I can't believe how much ridiculously comments there are here. Garlic can absolutely be eaten in raw form. Its peel protects it from contact with surface bacteria in the soil. It's 'possible' that garlic could have some bacteria, except that the majority of the world uses it as an antiseptic, and its the one few natural remedies that will stave off a cold or flu.

Regarding the comment of oil being a breeding ground that's the most retarded thing I've heard. Oil is a preservative if anything. Most bacteria feed on two types of things, sugar and protein. Go look up the FATTOM rule before posting misinformation.

That said you'll get a better flavour out of gently simmering the garlic in the oil.

With infused oils I've found they can go rancid a little quicker than your regular oil. Keep cool and dark.

Anonymous said...

Raw garlic is bacteriostatic and bacteriocidal. I understand oil deprives the environment of oxygen, making it suitable for bacterial growth, but the present raw garlic would kill and certainly inhibit potential botulinum toxin.
Same could not be said for other herbs, etc however, of course.

Anonymous said...

Like previously mentioned, it's about creating the environment that encourages the bacteria to multiply. Of course you can eat those things raw, but by doing them in oil you open yourself to risk.

R Campagna said...

This is strange information because I made a tincture of Garlic oil last year and put it in my own brown glass dropper bottle and then left it in my tinctures drawer for one year! When I began using it again there was no gases or strange smells (except strong garlic odor) . I used high quality organic garlic and organic olive oil to make it. I first crushed the garlic and then simmered it in the oil until the odor was present in the room. I did not fry it in the oil. I used a cloth sieve to remove the garlic pieces. People have been making garlic oil for centuries. Is it possible those reported cases of botulism where related to one particular source of garlic?

Anonymous said...

Its sad but true. My story should prevent anyone from making their own garlic pressed olive oil. My family were on vacation 8 years ago. They drove to Arizona in a motor home from Vancouver. There were 7 people in the motor home - 4 kids aged 3 to 9 and 3 adults aged 45 to 68 years of age. I was sick with measles at the time and had to stay home on Doctors orders. My two sisters and cousin went. My grandmother also went and accompanied my mother and father. My father was an M.D and my mother was a Registered Nurse. If anyone would have known the symptoms of botulism it would have been they. When they arrived in Arizona they set up at an RV Park. My Dad always liked to each my Mom's fried chicken, so they went out and bought some fresh chicken. They also bought fresh vegetables and garlic. My Mom made fried chicken for the group and a salad. A few days later they were found in the Motor Home - all dead. The toxicology reports revealed they died overnight from Botulism found in Garlic oil my mother had made before they left Vancouver and put in a glass mason jar.

EMILY PERDIOS said...

is this relevant to garlic only. because ive done this with chillies and peppers too? is this dangerous too then?

Anna Korn said...

This problem occurred with garlic in the 1990's, but could occur with any agricultural produce. Heating for ten minutes is not sufficient to kill the botulinum spores. Acidifying the preparation with vinegar or lemon juice will help prevent the growth of the bacteria which ARE there. All commercial garlic oils must contain acid by regulation since these outbreaks occurred. There is more information on the CDC website.

Anonymous said...

If you infuse the oil with the garlic then take the garlic out before you put it in the bottle would that cause a problem? I can see where leaving the garlic pieces in the bottle could cause a problem.

Victoria said...

Thanks for the discussion. Here is some additional information I found helpful based on the Emeril comments. I'm planning to make some pistachio basil pesto with a large batch of basil I have growing in our garden to send as a gift. I'm going to "risk" it by simmering my garlic in the oil, and just using the oil to flavor the pesto. http://food-hacks.wonderhowto.com/how-to/make-garlic-infused-olive-oil-vinegar-home-0153966/