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I would like to bottle my homemade dressing. The main ingredients are olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, lemon and dijon mustard. Once it is bottled, is there a processing time as there is with canning vegetables?

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Canning method (I assume you're talking about room-temperature storage here) required would depend on acidity. If its acidic enough, boiling-water canning would work. Otherwise, it'll need pressure canning. Storing refrigerated is another option, though storage time is limited depending on fridge temperature. –  derobert Mar 28 '12 at 17:00
    
Why not just use a small bottle so the issue never arises? A quick google brings up bottles as small as 40ml which you should empty well before it goes off... Freezing may work too if you don't mind waiting for it to defrost, it may separate out but with a dressing that's simple enough to fix –  Inverted Llama Mar 29 '12 at 2:41
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@mfg I don't understand your edit. The OP asked whether the product is shelf-stable without canning. You changed it to the term "processing time" which I am not familiar with, and it sounds like it changed the original meaning. –  rumtscho Mar 30 '12 at 21:37

2 Answers 2

To can foods safely, you should always use a tested recipe. You can find safe recipes for most things on the site of the National Center for Home Food Preservation or on the Ball Jars canning site.

Sources like this recommend against trying to can your own flavored vinegar or flavored oil ... one could safely assume they would thus recommend against home canning of vinegar and oil.

I think this article is a helpful Q&A explaining why it's not recommended (or safe!) to create and can your own recipes - http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/nchfp/factsheets/heatprocessingbackgrounder.html

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Use a vacuum sealer and their special bottles. The machine, basically "sucks" out the air allowing you to store it.

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I'm sorry but that sounds like a good environment for botulism to grow in, if you don't do anything at all to sterilize it. –  eaolson Apr 22 '12 at 0:19
    
I need to find a real food science expert on this topic, because the vinegar could be a stronger acid environment where bacteria can't survive. –  MADCookie Apr 23 '12 at 19:41
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"could" isn't good enough, sorry. –  Mien Jun 25 '13 at 20:17
    
While the total acidity might be high enough to prevent bacterial growth, in something like this that will likely separate, I don't know that you can count on the acidity of the vinegar to preserve it. –  sourd'oh Jan 24 at 21:08

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