So I wanted to infuse garlic flavour to my sunflower oil. I sliced one full garlic and added it to cold sunflower oil and let it be for a week. When I opened it, the flavour seemed to have infused well but I saw a few bubbles of air in the oil. I got a bit worried and put the glass jar in the refrigerator.

Can you please tell me if:-

  1. I can use the oil safely if I continue to refrigerate it. Or should I just throw it all away?

  2. Can I do something to the oil to make it safe to consume?

Make fresh or refrigerate for up to 1 week is what is generally recommended for garlic-in-oil mixtures.

Marketed garlic oils are extremely controlled as garlic generally represents a risk of Clostridium botulinum presence in the food.

According to this link,

The FDA recommends that if you want to make your own infused garlic oil, you should prepare it fresh and use it right away. If you are saving any leftovers, you must refrigerate it right away and use within a week.

A link to the FDA document PDF download containing the following:

"Oil products that can create anaerobic sites of sufficient aw favorable for C. botulinum growth and toxin production are problematic; for example, the addition of fresh garlic to oil. The moisture surrounding the garlic fragments coupled with no acidulant creates the conditions necessary for C. botulinum growth and toxin production. To maintain a pH that precludes growth and toxin production, an acidulant is required in these products"

This spore-forming anaerobic bacteria is known to be extremely dangerous and lethal in small doses.

I am not saying to not play with garlic-in-oils at all, or trying to scare you out of it, but it is definitely a topic in culinary pleasure that requires research and preparation.

  • Thank you. This helps. I will discard what I have made and start over! – Apoorva Nagendra Aug 10 at 9:51

Short answers - 1 No. 2 Yes

My source was http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/botulism

However, upon going back to find the URL in response to the request and comment, it is obvious that I mis-read their statement. I apologize and withdraw my answer to the question

  • 1
    Could you add a link /citation for the second claim? It's at odds with what I've seen elsewhere on the survival of spores (as opposed to growing bacteria) – Chris H Aug 9 at 11:24
  • 1
    We need to be very careful here. I believe what you found is information that will deactivate the bacteria, but not spores. To kill the spores of Cl.botulinum at least 121°C (250F) for 3 min is required. While you can deactivate the toxins very quickly at temps above 80C (176f), You can't eliminate the spores on your stove top, without pressure sterilization. I would suggest editing your answer so that it is clear, and provides safe advice. – moscafj Aug 9 at 11:39

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