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09 February 2012 @ 09:44 pm
Garlic Infused Oil  

There are a lot of very frugal things one can make to with very little effort that will satisfy your inner foodie and bring a bit of luxury to your life. Infused oils are just one of them.

Any important note on food safety and infused oils. Historically oil has been used to preserve herbs, spices and some foods like mushrooms and fish. But sometimes traditions can be dangerous. I am referring to cold infusion recipes where vegetable matter is packed in oil and left to “soak” for several days or weeks and then the flavored product is decanted for use. The problem arises in that cold oil is the perfect environment for critters like botulism to grow. And the result can be literally poisonous.

This recipe is for hot infused oil. This means the oil acquires its flavor by heating it. Heat also helps to kill toxins. That combined with refrigeration and proper food preservation practices rewards you with an amazing amount of flavor in a tiny jar for pennies on the dollar compared to commercial oils.  

Most recipes call for virgin or first press oil. I favor olive oil for savory applications and neutral vegetable oil for sweet ones

10 Cloves Fresh Garlic - 1/4c (don’t feel like peeling garlic? Check out the tip at the end of this post.)
T Fresh Rosemary Leaves
1 t Whole Pepper Corns
1c Olive Oil

Small Stainless Steel Sauce Pan

Large Glass Measuring Cup

Large Metal Spoon

Knife & Board
Measuring spoons
Vinegar in a Spray Bottle
8oz Glass Canning Jar with Lid
Electric Kettle for Hot H2O
Fine Sieve or Strainer

Coffee Filters

Candy Thermometer

  • Sanitize all cooking tools, the jar and the counter you will be working on*.
  • Scrub everything with hot soapy water and then run through the dishwasher on the heated dry cycle.
  • Spray the counter down with straight vinegar and allow to air dry***.
  • Thoroughly wash your hands as well before putting on the gloves.
  • Inspect the garlic cloves for brown spots and discard any cloves that are discolored as they will be “spoil the oil”.
  • Cut the hard stem ends off each clove.
  • Rinse the rosemary sprig and pick off all the leaves.
  • Measure the whole pepper corns.
  • Add garlic, pepper and rosemary to the pot and pour in the oil.
  • Place pot over medium heat and cook until the oil starts to just bubble.
  • Careful, if the oil gets too hot it will burn and whole mixture will be come unusable.
  • Reduce heat to low and let steep for about 2 hours.
  • Your target temperature is about 170 degrees (use thermometer).
  • While the oil is brewing, clean up your mess and boil water.
  • Submerge the glass canning jar in boiling hot water for 10 minutes and then dry again.
  • After 2 hours pour oil through fine strainer into the glass measuring cup and let cool.
  • Then decant the oil a second time using the coffee filter to line the sieve into the canning jar and seal well.
  • The goal here is to remove all the garlic, pepper and rosemary pieces as this is what will cause the oil to spoil and/or grow unwanted critters.****
  • If refrigerated or frozen strained infused oil will keep indefinitely, but also always watch for spoilage**.
  • Use in salad dressing, for dipping fresh bread and for flavoring cooked meat or vegetables.

*On cleanliness: It is important that you keep your kitchen meticulous clean. Doubly so when you are making a product you are going to use over a long time. I sterilize everything I am going to use twice.

** It is your responsibility, not mine, to check for spoilage. Use your best judgment and when in doubt throw it out (sadly, I have to post this obvious wisdom).

***For further information on proper food preservation practices contact your local county extension office. Oregon State University has a great site just packed with information on gardening, food, nutrition and safety.

**** Here is a direct link OSU's publications on Food Safety & Preservation of Garlic and Herbs and Vegetables in Oil if you are interested in the food science behind this recipe.

Frugally yours-