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Recently I found a book on reducing food waste that suggested making infused garlic oil from the cut-off ends and (inner, reddish) garlic peels rather than the cloves. The recipe doesn’t involve any heating steps, nor notes on refrigeration after initially infusing the oil in the fridge for a month, and it’s suggested to use the oil in making salad dressing and the like.

Now it seems to me this recipe is using the parts that are at the greatest risk for contamination with soil bacteria… can something like this in fact be done safely? Does the peels' lower moisture content make any difference? Is acidification a feasible approach or will this just end in a sad pile of wet peels and no taste in the oil?

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    cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/9451/… has a very rigorous answer from an actual health inspector, i.e., a professional who deals with this kind of thing on a daily basis. In short: it's risky, and since botulism is no joke, I wouldn't do it.
    – John Doe
    May 30, 2023 at 6:27
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    Does this answer your question? Botulism, Garlic, Cold pressed Olive oil and mason jars
    – John Doe
    May 30, 2023 at 6:27
  • Thanks! I’ve been looking at related questions as well, but those all seem to concern fresh garlic cloves rather than the peels as I understand? For those I’ve seen acidification (as in that answer) or thorough heat treatment as a potential solution, but that might not be feasible with peels (there is another recipe in the book with onion peels in oil which does involve heating though)… May 30, 2023 at 8:40
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    Cloves or peels doesn't really make a difference imo, if anything the peels are more in contact with the surrounding soil, where they might pick up more microorganisms, not less. Reducing food waste is a noble endeavour, but garlic is not really a foodstuff that gets used in large amounts anyway, so the "savings" are slim to nonexistent.
    – John Doe
    May 30, 2023 at 10:14
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    If you really want to keep them from being waste, you can freeze them with other trimmings (stems, cheese rinds, vegetable peels, etc) and use it when making stock. But it’s a good idea to wash stuff that grows in dirt so you don’t end up with stock that tastes like mud
    – Joe
    May 30, 2023 at 13:53

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The approach you describe is practically a recipe for maximizing one's risk for death by botulism, while at the same time not producing particularly good garlic oil. Garlic peels/skin have very little or no flavor, may have dirt or sand on them, and the garlic "ends" are where botulism spores are most likely to be located.

While there are a number of ways you could attempt to make this more safe ... why bother? Why risk your life for low-quality garlic oil?

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  • Yeah, I’m starting to think when the author said it was great as a gift he meant „for your worst enemy“… May 30, 2023 at 17:24
  • "We're going to avoid food waste even if it kills you" would sum up a lot of the the "food waste" publications.
    – FuzzyChef
    May 30, 2023 at 17:45
  • Eh, I‘ve found some sensible ones - nothing earth-shattering, but good to get an extra snack or such -, that’s why this one kind of surprised me. I probably should’ve noped out by the time onion peel tea („best before bedtime!“) was mentioned… May 30, 2023 at 17:59
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    Onion peels are great as part of vegetarian vegetable stock though. If you use brown onions, they give it a good color.
    – FuzzyChef
    May 30, 2023 at 18:14

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