Garlic Infused Olive Oil - DON’T Try This At Home!

Lucia on Oct 24th

I’m horrified! I discovered something I didn’t know about olive oil. You see, it all started with garlic. I’d never have known this if I hadn’t got interested in the stinking rose. Isn’t that some name? No one really knows why, centuries ago, garlic was named the stinking rose. Well, the stinking part might be understandable, but the rose part? You could say it’s because the bulb resembles a tight rose bud, but that’s quite a stretch of the imagination.

Anyway, back to my big discovery. You can’t make garlic oil by putting cloves of garlic into a bottle of oil. Not unless you want to risk botulism poisoning. That’s right. Botulism. Because that’s what can grow when you combine garlic cloves and olive oil. Might be cool if you’re trying to develop a sideline business of growing raw material for the Botox market, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Oh, my gosh. I wonder how many people have tried a garlic infusion because they didn’t know that wasn’t safe to do.

Garlic bulbs grow underground. Clostridium Botulinum is a bacteria found in most soil so it’s always on root vegetables. Usually, the bacteria is killed when the root or bulb is removed from the soil and exposed to the air. Cooking also kills the bacteria which is why canned vegetables always say, “heat to a boil” on the instructions.

The toxic situation occurs when you put fresh garlic in oil and keep it at room temperature. You see bacteria are anerobic meaning they thrive in an airless environment. Oil is a perfect airless environment. The warmer bacteria are, the more they proliferate. So room temperature rather than refrigeration means a population boom for the microscopic critters.

To be safe, a garlic and oil mixture, has to be refrigerated AND it has to have some acid agent like citric or phosphoric acid added.

I don’t know if you’ve tried garlic infused olive oil, but it’s to die for. I’m so glad I learned this about garlic oil because I’m really into the cooking thing. I might have tried making my own garlic oil and really died!

I think I’ll just keep buying my garlic oil online from people who know the right way to infuse olive oil with the delightful taste of garlic. If you want to try a good infused oil, I love this garlic and rosemary infused EVOO I found at!

My grandfather was right. Learn something new every day because nothing beats knowledge.

Filed in Health Benefits | 9 responses so far.. add yours!

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    9 Responses to “Garlic Infused Olive Oil - DON’T Try This At Home!”

    1. Sarah Nov 6th 2007 at 08:02 am 1

      Thank you! I had the idea to make infused oils as christmas presents and stumbled across your post whilst looking for recipes. I’m so glad I found your warning - I had no idea!

    2. How to infuse olive oil : - The UK Food Site Oct 5th 2008 at 11:24 am 2

      […] Source: Garlic Infused Olive Oil - DON’T Try This At Home[…]

    3. Anna M Nov 1st 2008 at 05:11 pm 3

      anybody know what goes into the garlic and red chili peppers I found at the deli section of Sun Harvest and HEB? I really love it. Hope it doesn’t give me botulism because I think it has olive oil in it and it is not refrigerated and does not have a warning to keep refrigerated.

    4. Ramanathan Jan 24th 2009 at 03:29 pm 4

      my goodness. i have no idea that this garlic infested olive oil would have so much disastrous effects. i tried this at my home without knowing this.

      i chopped garlic and kept it inside olive oil to cure for two weeks in room temperature (around 25 degree celcius). after two weeks it smelled wonderful and really tasted good. now i see this article today, but i have already consumed it for two weeks (apart from the two weeks during curing). now what can i do ?

      will there any ill effects on me ? will i get any defects in my health ? i have now thrown the bottle. tell me what can i do now please ?

    5. Lucia Jan 24th 2009 at 10:21 pm 5

      Looks like you’re going to be OK. If you didn’t get sick within 24-36 hours, then you’re safe. If you ingested tainted oil, then your body would want to get rid of it ASAP… if you know what I mean.

    6. Herb Oils and Vinegars Grow Your Own - Growing, How To Grow Tomatoes Growing Fruit & Veg - Recipe Advice, Organic food Gardening, Chickens, Seeds for Sale Mar 8th 2009 at 12:26 pm 6

      […] about particular problems with infusing garlic (and, elsewhere, chilli). See also warnings on: Garlic Infused Olive Oil - DONíT Try This At Home! | Garlic Passion You may also be aware this matter has been raised previously on GYO, see: botullism Frankly I’ve […]

    7. Pam Crow May 27th 2009 at 10:59 pm 7

      What about using a dried minced garlic and dry peppercorns with some other dry herbs like rosemary basil and thyme. I thought it was anything wet into the oilve oil that would cause the botulism. Lemon pepper has some citris acid but not much and balsamic vinigar. Do those precautions eliminate the risk?

    8. shadowspawn Jul 7th 2009 at 07:33 pm 8

      What I do is go through the canning process. I heat it to above water boiling temp (can burn if you aren’t careful) then put it in a heated and sterilized mason jar (that was sitting with lids in boiling water) then use a pressure cooker.

      Works for me, has for years. I leave it in the sun so the temp fluctuates and works the natural oils from rosemary, pepper, and garlic as it expands and contracts.

      Of course if the mason jar doesn’t hold its seal and isn’t depressed from the vacuum, then yep, something went wrong and bacteria (or something living that gives off gas as a by-product) multiplied.

    9. Greling Jackson Aug 5th 2009 at 07:43 pm 9

      Put a quarter teaspoon of potassium sorbate (a harmless all-natural wine preservative and the most common food preservative out there) in it and shake heavily. This should keep it fresh and free from mold and bacteria. You could also add a pinch of salt to help. That and some fresh rosemary. Rosemary will not only add extra flavor but it has anti-microbal properties.

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