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Use and care of Basil Oil

  • MSK Jul 8, 2007 11:20 AM
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I made the Watermelon Gazpacho recipe from the "Cooling off" story on Chow. I used $10 of fresh basil and my very best quality EV Estate Blend OO. I was great but now I have 2 cups of very expensive, very yummy homemade Basil Oil leftover.

Any ideas on some other good recipes to showcase this liquid gold?

Also, how would you recommend I store it? I would not ususally refrigerate Olive Oil but this seems more fragile.

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  1. I might be tempted to turn some of it into a delicious basil mayonnaise. That with a ripe tomato sandwich could be instant nirvana.

    1. Refrigerate and use quickly -- homemade herb-infused oils pose a real threat of botulism poisoning if stored longer than a few days.

      7 Replies
      1. re: pikawicca

        pikawicca is right. It needs to be refrigerated and used within 10 days or so.

        If you acidify it, like by making it into mayo, it will keep longer.

        I might use it with some very good tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Or with a pasta dish.

        1. re: pikawicca

          Wow....is this really true??

          I put it in the fridge immediately and then went out of town for 2 1/2 weeks. It looks so awesome in the jar and I was excited to use it on my return. Do I really have to pitch it??

          What a bummer...........I used a $25 bottle of oil and probably about $10 of basil.

          Now I can credit Chowhound with not only connecting me to great chow but possibly saving my LIFE!!!!

          1. re: MSK

            Yes, it's true. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&am...

            Botulism poisoning is rare, but is a horrible and debilitating condition.

            I would definitely toss it. Oil is a dangerous medium for keeping almost any fresh herb or vegetable. Commercial makers of infused oil must by law acidify it and they also heat the oil to a certain temp for a certain period of time to kill the toxins/spores.

            Bummer about the oil. Perhaps next time make vinegar?

            1. re: C. Hamster

              Thank you so very much!!

              That info is very illuminating. I had always thought all you needed to do was look for the tell tale "swollen can."

              In addition, we just re-landscaped a portion of our property and planted a fruit orchard and herb garden. I had pictured myself canning the excess of what we hope will be an abundant crop. I've never canned before and now I'm a bit freaked out to try.

              1. re: MSK

                I'm not a canner, but I have the impression that it is actually quite safe when done right with the right equipment. I wouldn't be too freaked out.

                1. re: C. Hamster

                  It is safe, my parents did can everything while I was growing up. Fruit and veggies, stew and smoked fish, and that was using an older canning method. They have really safe and easy to use canners now. I am going to put some money into one myself.

                  But as it is suggested, learn about the spoilage, poisoning factors, and all you can to thoroughly enjoy it. I am sure your library can help you with books. I have a Sunset book that is really helpful.

                2. re: MSK

                  Your county should have an extension agent who can supply all the latest safe canning technique information. Modern pressure canners are easy to use and can process anything (even meats) safely. Follow all instructions scrupulously.

          2. You need to refrigerate it.
            Drizzle it over a risotto at the end. I'd use it as a finishing oil for sure.
            Drizzle over sliced tomatoes and shaved onion.
            I'd also use it on salads.

            1. Basil oil is really good drizzed over antipasto.

              1. Taking what I learned in another thread, couldn't you just freeze it?

                1. Store your oil in the freezer.
                  I freeze my summer basil harvest in olive oil and have been doing so for years. I chop it up up in the Cuisinart and add the oil, just as if I were making pesto and then store in in small jars. I can take a jar out when I need it anytime during the winter and it defrosts really quickly - guess the oil doesn't freeze like water does. Then I just make fresh pesto or whatever.
                  I learned to this from an Italian woman who had been doing it for many, many years before she ever told me about it so I guess it's safe as neither of us has ever killed anyone with botulism.

                  I freeze most all the herbs from my garden. I find that they are much, much closer to the taste of fresh when used in cooking than when preserved by any other method.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: MakingSense

                    Botulism isn't killed by freezing, but it's growth is greatly slowed. So once it comes out of the freezer, the 10 day rules applies.

                    1. re: C. Hamster

                      You freeze it fresh, take out what you need to use and don't keep it around. If you're making a big deal out of fresh vegetables and other ingredients, why put science experiments on them? Why do you think Euros can live with those tiny fridges?