Is it safe to keep garlic cloves in olive oil, if refrigerated?
By regor4 from 3rd Rock, AL
Is is UNsafe to do so as it is a breeding ground for botulism which can not be seen or tasted so you wouldn't know until it was too late. Best to stick with commercial preparations if you go that route and follow the storage instructions on their bottle.
(half way down page= "Storing Garlic in Oil - Warning! - Not Safe."
Yes, this is safe, but for no more than 2 weeks. I've read & seen on TV that it's easier to get food poisoning than most people think from using herbal oils that have either not been refrigerated or are kept too long. The warnings about botulism food poisoning from this are all over the web.
The flavored Vinegar's are much safer & keep longer.
Here's some great information:
Better safe than sorry!
Botulism is not like the other food poisoning most of us have had at some time in our lives (with the diarrhea, stomach cramps & vomiting). Symptoms of botulism include facial paralysis, drooping eyelids, double or blurred vision, dry mouth, change in voice, and difficulty swallowing. With a sufficient dose of toxin, symptoms may progress rapidly and descending paralysis may result in respiratory failure. But, thankfully, there is an anti-toxin available!
In the old days, people would get botulism from corn that was not canned correctly. Before mainstream canning, they used to recommend you heat your canned food (especially corn) to a boil for a certain length of time.
* Interestingly, in recent years they have linked some cases of crib death to infants under the age of one being given HONEY... This does not affect children & adults who can easily digest these minute amounts of botulism, but babies can get tiny amounts of botulism from honey which can grow & build up in a baby's body & possibly cause crib death.
Food Botulism information:
I roast my garlic and then put them in a glass jar in the fridge. I have kept them for about 3 months and they are fine.
Roasting Garlic - cut the top of the whole garlic off so all the cloves are just exposed. Place on foil. Drizzle olive oil on top of garlic so all cloves get a little. Wrap garlic tight in foil but don't break foil. Roast at 375 degrees F. for about 40 minutes; make sure a small knife goes in very easily. Cool until easily handled. At this point I squeeze the cloves into a glass jar to keep them in the fridge.
According to the FDA, botulism IS a possibility. Here is an excerpt from the county extension office, El Paso County, Colorado:
Garlic in oil. For added safety, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now requires that all commercial garlic in oil products contain specific levels of microbial inhibitors or acidifying agents such as phosphoric or citric acid. Although most garlic products do contain these additives, some boutique or specialty mixes may not. Always check the label to be sure.
As for home-prepared mixtures of garlic in oil, the FDA recommends that these "be made fresh for use and not left around at room temperatures." Refrigerate left-overs for use within 10 days, freeze or discard.
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