Safe Garlic- and Herb-Infused Oils
Currently the safe procedure for preparing garlic or herb-flavored oils at home requires infusing and storing the garlic or herb-oil mixture in the refrigerator for no more than four days due to the risk of botulism. A procedure used by commercial manufacturers of flavored oils to achieve room temperature storage for longer periods is to acidify the garlic or herbs, thus preventing growth of Clostridium botulinum. An Extension team*, including FCS County Educators Barb Abo (Ada), Joey Peutz (Payette), and Grace Wittman (Cassia), Program Assistant Surine de la Concepcion (Ada), Food Technology Center Manager (FTC) Josh Bevan, and Food Safety Extension Specialist Sandy McCurdy, has been researching a procedure for consumers to acidify garlic and herbs for making flavored oils safely at home.
The team has conducted extensive research on the acidification properties of fourteen different cultivars of garlic and of three herbs (basil, rosemary, and oregano), even growing some of the plants ourselves. A safe procedure for consumers to prepare infused oils was developed. Taste tests of safely infused oils have been conducted with consumers. Currently the research is being prepared as a scientific publication and as an Extension bulletin to share the safe procedure with consumers. Look for the Extension bulletin in Spring 2014. —Sandy McCurdy, Extension faculty