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Jun 18, 2009 09:30 PM

raw vidalia onion in olive oil..... is it safe to eat?

i've enjoyed the vidalia in good extra virgin olive oil with lemon juice and salt suggested by terkalin. it's good on lots of dishes.

i used it for a couple of days, and then left it out of the fridge for a day or so (in a closed tupperware). i've put it back in the fridge, but i'm a little concerned whether it is safe to eat. (i made the onion condiment probably two weeks ago).

here's my question: do you think the onion has the same issues as raw garlic, i.e., not being safe (over time) in an anaerobic environment? if so, i'll throw it out. ;-((.

ps, i know it's "just an onion in olive oil," but why waste it if it's ok?

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  1. I haven't seen the recipe you're talking about, but based on stuff I've read in cooking magazines, the presence of a good amount of acid (lemon juice) would make garlic safe. Onions carry the same risk of botulism as garlic.

    If you're really concerned, maybe just throw the condiment into a stew or stirfry and cook the heck out of it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: cimui

      It's not the live clostridium botulinum that causes the problem in botulism, it's the toxin that is produced by the bacteria that causes problems. The toxin is NOT destroyed by heat and remains even after the bacteria are all dead.

      1. re: chococat

        Aha, thanks very much for the info, chococat!

        Do you, or anyone else, have any idea how much acid you need to make the garlic or onion / olive oil infusion safe for later consumption? I know that vinaigrettes with garlic, onion, olive oil and vinegar are generally considered safe.

        1. re: cimui

          Pierce the garlic clove several times with a knife and boil the cloves in vinegar is the trick I learned from Michele Anna Jordan, the author of a book on infused vinegars.

          The toxin dies at 140 degrees F...IIRC...but check to make sure.

    2. Hiya, alkapal,

      I'd discard it. It's a bit old at this point anyway, and besides, after I first read your post,
      I thought, "Uh-oh, chances are it's not safe."

      Don't take the risk -- get rid of it, and make yourself a snappy new batch.

      1. it's a bulb. I'm pretty sure the reason that garlic is a risk is because it's a bulb that grows underground.
        As you put it, "it's just an onion in oo"
        Trust me, it's NOT worth the risk.

        1. thank you cimui, maria, and gordeaux. i appreciate your responses and value your opinions.

          ta-ta vi-da-li-a! ;-).

          1. OK, this post has gotten me thinking. I routinely plunk a crushed garlic clove or two into 1/4 cup or so of olive oil and after a few hours on the counter, strain out the garlic and mix the garlicky oil into another cup or so of olive oil. Then I refrigerate, using the oil in marinades, to make aioli, and to brush on to bread, meat, or fish before grilling. It usually sits in the fridge a couple of weeks before I use it up. Is this risky?

            4 Replies
            1. re: nomadchowwoman

              Here's some info about infused olive oils and the botulism concern:


              1. re: beachmouse

                Thank you; that was very helpful. I had no idea!

                1. re: beachmouse

                  These types of sites are very helpful, but I really wish they'd talk more about clostridium botulinum and salt. Low pH/acidic environments are know to be hostile, but so are salty environments. 10% salt is supposed to be very hostile, and, from what I'm reading, most soy sauce is in the 20% realm. I make an extremely garlic-y teriyaki that I store for weeks in the fridge. I do hit the 185 deg. F/1 minute mark when I use it, but it would still be nice to know where I'd be at spore wise without cooking it.

                  I also wouldn't mind some data on clostridium botulinum and sugar. I'm sure if you add enough sugar to garlic to drastically reduce water activity, botulism ceases to become a concern.

                  P.S. Just noticed the date on this thread. Sorry for the thread bump. I need to get to bed.

                  1. re: scott123

                    scott, your input is always welcome. plus, the information on these threads is good for time immemorial (or something like that).