Can I use fresh uncooked garlic to make garlic infused oil or should it be cooked in the oil.

  • Posted by: Bippy
  • June 10, 2013
  • 6569 views
  • 10 Comments

10 Comments

pan_zareta June 10, 2013
I have no problem conceding to you ChefO, specifically in the context of giving public advice. I guess I have been fortunate in beating the odds.
 
cookbookchick June 10, 2013
Excellent answer, ChrfOno! And considering that C. botulinum produces one of the most toxic substances known, deadly even in the most minute quantities, one should never ever take a chance.
 

Voted the Best Reply!

ChefOno June 10, 2013

There are many spices and herbs with preservative properties, one of the original purposes for their use in food preparation. However, as with all such substances, concentration is key. Just as a thimbleful of beer won't get you drunk, there is simply not enough allicin in a garlic in oil infusion to be effective. And although garlic has been shown to have some inhibitory properties against some bacteria, yeast and molds, it has no effect on C. botulinum whatsoever (reference below, see Table 1).

The problem is well documented in countless studies and from outbreaks in the general population. This is why *all* commercial preparations are required to be acidified to below the point where C. botulinum can survive. If you won't take the FDA or the USDA's word for it, how about the CDC or the NIH? Every university with a food safety department? Food scientists such as Harold McGee and Peter Snyder?

http://wyndmoor.arserrc.gov/Page/1980/4480.pdf

 
Bill F. June 10, 2013
Never do that. It's safer and very easy to just cook it. Take an oven safe pan put the amount of garlic you want cover with oil and foil bake for about 30-35 mins. Then drain the oil and voila you have garlic oil. As the leftover garlic work great in hummus, mashed potatoes, etc...
 
pan_zareta June 10, 2013
Not claiming Wikipedia is a great source - but it does point out what a common and accepted fact the fact in question is (garlic's bacteriostatic and bacteriocidal properties). YMMV - I'll continue to feel safe infusing with raw garlic, and continue to flout the advice of boards of health that also recommend against eating raw milk cheese and the FDA, who have recently banned Mimolette, a classic that has been eaten safely since the 17th century.
-Certified Food Safe Handler
 
ChefOno June 10, 2013

Wikipedia should *never* be quoted as a source, especially regarding food safety.

You can read about the subject here:

http://umaine.edu/publications/4385e/

 
pan_zareta June 10, 2013
Yes, you can find that statement about the web. It ignores the fact that garlic is bacteriostatic and bacteriocidal. If you search the web you will also find many cases of people infusing with raw garlic without ill effects. This does NOT stand true for other herbs, etc. of course, as the oil depriving the environment of oxygen is the big part of the set up for botulinum toxin.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a microbiologist. Arm yourself with info and proceed accordingly.
 
HalfPint June 10, 2013
Garlic can carry the botulism spore since the bulb is grown in soil. While the garlic itself does not grow botulism, it can have these spores on it's skin and surface. Given that botulism will grow in a low-acid, low-oxygen environment (e.g. oil), botulism is a relevant concern when you want to infuse oil with raw garlic. Unless you have absolute confidence in the safety and sterility of the garlic that you use, please do not try using raw garlic to infuse oil.
 
pan_zareta June 10, 2013
Raw garlic is bacteriostatic and bacteriocidal. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garlic) It cannot grow botulinum toxin. So if looking for an answer in a food safety context, botulism is not a concern. Question remains whether from a culinary standpoint which, raw or cooked, is preferable.
 
HalfPint June 10, 2013
NO, unsafe because it will promote botulism growth. Garlic will need to be cooked in oil to kill any bacteria.
 
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