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herbs in oil

Hi all again ,can anyone tell me if putting garlic into an oil infusion is ok as i was told it can be dangerous as in poisoning ,i use lots of other infusions for all matter of cooking and and salads and i find it strange that garlic is any different from the other herbs i use can this be correct do you think ,has anyone else used it in an infusion please,Good luck all Alan4711


  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,358

    I can't see how it could be dangerous Alan. Don't some of those infused oils you can buy have garlic in them? 

    maybe there's something we don't know.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,847

    I've put garlic cloves in virgin olive oil for years and am still alive.   Chillies and basil too.    And I've done strips of lemon peel in gin for a friend who likes G&T ebfore dinner when she stays and chillies in vodka for another friend who likes Bloody Marys but I have to say the chilli quickly reached lethal proportions so should be strained out after 3 or 4 weeks.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • blackestblackest Posts: 623

    Actually the answer is yes!

    Oil Infusions and the Risk of Botulism

    Flavored oils can add excitement to salads, marinades and sauces but infused oils have the potential to support the growth of Clostridium (C.) botulinum. Although the oil by itself does not pose a risk for botulism, the trendy addition of vegetables, herbs and fruits to oils, to make an oil infusion, can make this product potentially unsafe.

    Vegetables, herbs, and fruits are likely to have some degree of soil contamination, especially those that grow on or under the ground. Soil contamination introduces the possibility that C botulinum spores may be added as an unwelcome ingredient in a recipe. If the produce is put into an anaerobic environment, such as a container of oil, Botulism Toxin can be produced and botulism may result upon consumption. Several cases of botulism involving garlic-in-oil preparations brought this hazard to light in the 1980's. In 1985, Vancouver, BC, 37 people got botulism from a garlic-in-oil preparation. This was followed by a 1988 laboratory investigation into the survival of and toxin production by C botulinum in garlic-in-oil preparations. In 1989, 3 people in Kingston, NY, became ill, also from a garlic-in-oil infusion. Thus, in 1989 the FDA issued a ruling, ordering the removal from store shelves of all commercial garlic-in-oil preparations that lacked an acidifying agent, followed by a mandate requiring the addition of an acidifying agent (such as phosphoric or citric acid) to all commercial garlic-in-oil preparations. Acid prevents the growth of the C botulinum, so any spores that might be present in an infusion will not be able to flourish and produce toxin. The acid must be added as the recipe is being prepared.

    Are people aware of the slight, but deadly risk presented when these oil infusions are not prepared properly? Consumers need to understand the potentially life-threatening hazard of oil infusions. Oil infusion recipes can still be tasty and safe as long as the following precautions are clearly stated and adhered to:

    • Wash all soil-contaminated produce before adding it to an oil infusion,
    • Add an acidifying agent such as lemon juice or vinegar to the recipe at the rate of one tablespoon per cup of oil,
    • Keep oil infusions refrigerated in order to retard the growth of any microbes,
    • Discard infusions after one week, or sooner if apparent cloudiness, gas bubbles, or foul odor develop and,
    • When in doubt, throw it out.
  • blackestblackest Posts: 623

    You can get citric acid at the chemist. I mainly use it for cleaning my expresso machine. If there is any left when i make the first coffee the milk curdles.

  • SwissSueSwissSue Posts: 1,447

    Yes, wellllll, americans! nuff said!imageimage

  • blackestblackest Posts: 623

    The difference between commercial and home made is the commercial version is expected to sit on a shelf for months, if its fresh then it's going to be unlikely there will be problems.

  • Alan4711Alan4711 Posts: 1,657
    Now thats what i calls a good well explained answer and im very glad for the help, i think i,ll mix the garlic one as and when, and as you said the one i did make after a couple of weeks smelt foul i binned it Tar very much Blackest and everybody else,now im going back to the shed to ask another (sun dried toms ooooohhhh i love em many tanks all

  • gardengirl6gardengirl6 Posts: 223

    When I saw trhe price of garlic oil in the supermarket, I started to make my own.     I only make up a small amount at a time, enough for about a month, and keep it in the refrigerator.   No problems so far, and lots of money saved.

  • Golly. Who knew?! Whatever will we find out next.?. I can see it now - "Miraclegrow - my secret EBOLA shame"?! Ignorance really is bliss. Until u get botulism.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,969

    Just want to confirm and emphasise that storing garlic in oil is indeed a very dangerous practice (whether you're from the USA or not image).  

    Rules and precautions in the UK and Europe are just as stringent as those in the US and with good reason.  

    This may be helpful - however it does imply that it's ok to freeze stuff which may contain botulism spores - freezing does make the spores inactive while they are frozen but they spring to life again on thawing!

    As has been said, if you need to use infused garlic oil make and use straight away or buy commercially prepared oil which will have been made using appropriate safeguards.

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

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