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homemade salad dressing as gifts.......is it safe????

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EAH Oct 24, 2006 09:25 PM

I am on a budget this Christmas, and was thinking of gifting my homemade salad dressing in a nice glass bottle, along with various other homemade goodies. My question is my dressing is made with fresh garlic and I remember reading somewhere that you had to be careful with garlic and oil......? I certainly don't want to poison my friends and loved ones, anyone had any experience with this? How long will the dressing keep? Is there any special sealing or bottle that needs to be utilized (was just going to use glass bottle from the .99 cent store and a screw on cap). Any guidance is very much appreciated.

  1. f
    fbf242 Dec 20, 2008 06:50 AM

    This old post just came up when I was googling to find the answer to a similar question.

    I was planning to bottle some salad dressings as gifts. My dressings aren't going to include any fresh garlic. Just various types of vinegar, oil, mustard, sugar (some honey, some white sugar), and dried spices. I definitely don't want to make my family sick - or worried that they will get sick - but I wouldn't think I'm running that risk with the ingredients I'm using, right?

    1. pikawicca Oct 24, 2006 11:35 PM

      This is what I do: Pour olive oil into a sauce pan. Add smashed garlic cloves and sprigs of rosemary. Heat over low heat until oil just begins to bubble. Turn off heat. Let sit 4-6 hours. Strain. Make a vinaigrette using your favorite vinegar or lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, and the appropriate amount of infused oil. Refrigerate indefinitely.

      1. Karl S Oct 24, 2006 10:09 PM

        Well, once commercially sealed products are opened, they generallly have to be refrigerated unless they are simply oil, vinegar and spices (herbs raise the risk level). So I would not think this safe. And if I received it, I probably would feel obliged to discard it quietly.

        10 Replies
        1. re: Karl S
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          EAH Oct 24, 2006 11:01 PM

          Maybe I misunderstood your reply Karl, why would you feel obliged to discard it quietly? Wouldn't refrigeration be sufficient? BYW this is VERY in demand recipe of mine.

          1. re: EAH
            pescatarian Oct 24, 2006 11:12 PM

            Garlic if not stored properly can go rancid and can be a source of botchulism. I don't think it matters how you seal it. I believe it can be refrigerated as long as consumed with 2 months. If I were giving it as a gift, I would leave out the garlic. You can't control how others store it and for how long.
            Commerically made dressings generally have preservatives.

            1. re: pescatarian
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              EAH Oct 24, 2006 11:26 PM

              My understanding was that garlic stored in oil provides an anaerobic environment ripe for botulism but the introduction of an acid in the form of vinegar would counteract this. Am I incorrect in this assumption?

              1. re: EAH
                pescatarian Oct 24, 2006 11:32 PM

                I am not an expert on this, but I think you would have to have a lot of vinegar. A high acid environment might counteract it, but I'm not sure how much would be enough.

              2. re: pescatarian
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                foodfan Oct 24, 2006 11:56 PM

                Couldn't the gift be labeled with an expiration date? If I were to receive something I knew was homemade, I would consume it in the same amount of time that I would have if I made it myself. Especially if I knew I liked it, It would go pretty fast!

                1. re: foodfan
                  pescatarian Oct 25, 2006 12:43 AM

                  True. That's a good idea.

                2. re: pescatarian
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                  coconutz Oct 25, 2006 01:45 AM

                  I'm not an expert either but this link has someone a little more qualifed, and she says 2 to 3 days with the garlic in it.

                3. re: EAH
                  Karl S Oct 24, 2006 11:38 PM

                  If I think something has the possibility to be contaminated, I would graciously accept it and discard it later. Fortunately, a gift giver is not supposed to ask how someone enjoyed the gift they gave.

                  1. re: EAH
                    c
                    coconutz Oct 25, 2006 01:46 AM

                    There isn't any special seal or anything that will help. You can't home process salad dressing.

                    I have received this sort of thing before and I thank the giver, but discard the gift later. (Once I was mailed a leaking jar, obviously unintentional, but yikes, it was not even refigerated.) I don't feel comfortable about the fresh garlic or how many days since you made it and if the giver would be as meticulous and I would be, ie sterilizing the jars, heating the oil to 175F before infusing oil. Because it is so perishable, I don't even keep my own dressing in the fridge more than a few days for safety as well as the flavors fading or going off. Overall, that sort of homemade item has an ick factor.

                    Is there anyway you can give a dressing kit? Give a bottle, the recipe and any dry ingredients? Maybe you could find a glass marker and mark the levels for oil and vinegar.

                    Another idea is to make a homemade mustard which you can can and is pretty easy to make.

                    1. re: coconutz
                      Katie Nell Oct 25, 2006 01:03 PM

                      The kit idea is a great idea, if you're willing to part with your recipe! Of course, you have to be sure that your gift recipients would actually make it, but I still think it's a good idea! You could even pair the kit with some nice wooden salad tongs or something.

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