infused oil and vinegar - safety etc

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Joined Jan 8, 2010
I got a garden full of fresh produce coming on and I want to make some flavoured oil and vinegar.
Now I should be pretty safe with the vinegar (due to pH), so for those I would like some tips on good combinations:
I got: lemongrass, turmeric, ginger, galangal, chili, mint, basil, garlic, rosemary and a couple more.

For oil: I'm a bit more scared because of the potential of botulism:
I've been reading up quite a bit but am still not sure.
Couple of ideas:
Fry the ingredients, as the temperature of the oil should be high enough to kill spores....
Make a very concentrated infused vinegar and mix with oil just before using (sort of a concentrated vinaigrette) (or ferment the lot and again use the lowering of pH as a safety tool)
Don't do anything, just mix spices/herbs with oil, portion and keep in the freezer. Defrost just before use.

Would these be safe? How would the taste be affected of the different methods?
I do have a pH meter and pH paper, so I can check
Any good flavour combinations?

I am quite partial to garlic oil and chili oil, and I would really like to make a nice basil oil as the commercial one I can find here tastes very artificial

All help is appreciated.
 

phatch

Moderator
Staff member
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Joined Mar 29, 2002
Oil hazard isn't just pH. It's that it's an anaerobic environment which is when clostridium makes the botulinin toxin.

Commercially, they acidify the fresh ingredients like garlic and prepare in a pressure system. I don't know the exact details. For oils, the general advice is to prepare small batches, keep refrigerated and use it fast. Using dried ingredients can also improve safety for oil as without water, the spores can't activate. But the flavor is different.

It seems there was a good article on it here but I can't pull it up in a search.
 
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805
Joined Jan 8, 2010
Thanks @phatch
I didn't put it very clearly, but I am well aware that the problem with oil is that it creates an anaerobe environment.
I put the pH down as that's what makes it safe when using vinegar instead of oil.
I'm still quite convinced though, that I could make a flavoured olive oil if I can get the pH down far enough. Most articles I have seen mention that sundried tomatoes in olive oil are safe due to the high acidity of tomatoes.

Hence the idea of making an infusion of herbs spices in vinegar, to be added to olive oil (possibly last minute, but then I'm scared it won't really give enough flavour to the oil)

Making small batches of flavoured olive oil will of course work, but it doesn't help me in preserving the herbs etc that are ready now
 
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Joined Sep 17, 2018
I got a garden full of fresh produce coming on and I want to make some flavoured oil and vinegar.
Now I should be pretty safe with the vinegar (due to pH), so for those I would like some tips on good combinations:
I got: lemongrass, turmeric, ginger, galangal, chili, mint, basil, garlic, rosemary and a couple more.

For oil: I'm a bit more scared because of the potential of botulism:
I've been reading up quite a bit but am still not sure.
Couple of ideas:
Fry the ingredients, as the temperature of the oil should be high enough to kill spores....
Make a very concentrated infused vinegar and mix with oil just before using (sort of a concentrated vinaigrette) (or ferment the lot and again use the lowering of pH as a safety tool)
Don't do anything, just mix spices/herbs with oil, portion and keep in the freezer. Defrost just before use.

Would these be safe? How would the taste be affected of the different methods?
I do have a pH meter and pH paper, so I can check
Any good flavour combinations?

I am quite partial to garlic oil and chili oil, and I would really like to make a nice basil oil as the commercial one I can find here tastes very artificial

All help is appreciated.
How long are you trying to hold these?
 
2,178
805
Joined Jan 8, 2010
I'm not sure yet.
What I am actually getting into is making spice mixes and pastes for the lodges and restaurants in the area and I thought that vinegars and oils would make a nice addition.
I think I have to leave out the olive oils and just keep those for myself. In which case, I'll probably have to got towards freezing some of the perishable produce (in ice cube trays, like basil/coriander etc) and then prepare the oil on the day it is going to be used (pounding in pestle and mortar while slowly adding olive oil).

I do not grow garlic (yet). These I have to buy. I assume I can freeze the cloves? Maybe by blanching them first?
 
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