Storing garlic, ginger and certain other vegetables etc. in oil is a well documented botulism risk if preservatives are not added. As a consequence, I always make my pastes fresh immediately before use. I have considered freezing them, but due to the amount of oil used I am concerned they will not freeze well. I have had reasonable success freezing ginger and garlic pastes made with water, but the taste is obviously very different.

I am due to have guests for a curry evening and it would be helpful if I could do a lot of the preparation beforehand. One of these steps would be the prep of ginger and garlic pastes with rapeseed oil.

Taking into account that the pastes will comprise of pure garlic with oil and ginger with oil (I don't make a combined garlic/ginger paste), what factors other than acidity etc. will eliminate this risk? I don't intend to store the paste more than 24 hours in the refrigerator and the quantities of oil used will be just enough to make a smooth paste. I can potentially add salt, sugar or freshly squeezed lemon juice, but ideally I would prefer to omit the latter which is the only ingredient I assume would change the pH to safe levels.

(For clarification the water and oil are not essential ingredients here, I use them purely so the solid garlic/ginger will process into a smooth paste in my blender).

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    I thought that storage in the fridge for 2-3 days is safe, just like for other foods?
    – Esther
    Commented Aug 29, 2022 at 15:17
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    You might find this helpful: citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/…
    – moscafj
    Commented Aug 29, 2022 at 15:36
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    I suspect they would actually freeze fine, based on the basil - sunflower seed - lemon - olive oil "pesto without cheese" pastes I've been freezing for decades (previously with more expensive nuts.) Oil stiffens up pretty well at freezer temperatures, usually.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Aug 29, 2022 at 18:20

1 Answer 1


According to these CDC guidelines regarding botulism, storing fresh garlic in oil in the refrigerator is safe for up to 4 days. Very little information is available about fresh ginger in oil, but there seems to be little reason to assume it would develop botulism faster than garlic in oil, or that there is some relationship between the two that would cause faster development of botulism, since garlic in oil is already a close-to-ideal environment for botulism to develop (low acid and low oxygen).


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