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Dec 29, 2012 05:29 PM

Garlic + Oil, Why is this recipe safe?

I've read other questions here and elsewhere that talk about the danger of garlic in oil. I'm trying to figure out why this recipe is safe:

The basic recipe calls for a pickling liquid of vinegar, water and salt. The vegetables are boiled for three minutes and then scooped out and placed in a pickling marinade of oil, sliced raw garlic and a chili. The vegetables and marinade (but not the vinegar solution) are placed in jars and stored for up to three months.

As far as I can tell shouldn't this recipe be at a high risk for botulism contamination?

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  1. Yes, it is high risk for botulism. It is not safe.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chefj

      +1, chefj is right on. NOT SAFE.

      Food Network chefs prepare food to eat immediately for a TV show then share recipes online at to support their TV shows (so viewers can watch and not frantically write it down for later).

      Be careful with websites when online rumors spread faster than facts. Especially without total accountability.

      Long-term food storage is when there is a potential DEADLY problem. Get more-specific recipes from reliable well-proven sources. A must when can and preserve. Putting yourself, friends, and family in the position to be a 'tester' is a DANGEROUS game where you do not need to roll the dice.

      Good information in a similar recent thread:

    2. if you must do the recipe, seal the jars in the pressure cooker (someone's got a recipe online). Thats apparently safe.

      9 Replies
        1. re: C. Hamster

          because pressure canning renders low-acid foods safer in long-term storage.

          1. re: sunshine842

            And pressure canning can turn many things into mush (due to overheating, overcooking, pressure, ...). Is best to start with a proven from trusted source very specific pressure canning recipe with exact measurements, times, etc. Especially with low-acid foods. Making up a pressure canning recipe from scratch is not recommended for average home cooks.

            1. re: smaki

              true. but someone posted about garlic infused oil with pressure canning. So the recipe does exist.

              1. re: Chowrin

                Chowrin, a link would be useful - what recipe are you talking about?

                "someone posted about garlic infused oil with pressure canning. So the recipe does exist."

              1. re: C. Hamster

                The big danger in canning is botulism. It's deadly, and it thrives in low oxygen environments (like in a canning jar).

                High acid kills botulism - so high acid canning like pickles is pretty safe. Jams are often cooked in a hot water bath, which, combined with the high sugar level sugar and acidity of fruit, kills anything in there, and keeps it sterile.

                High heat kills botulism too, *but* you need a temperature higher than that of boiling water. So pressure canning lets it get to a higher temperature than boiling water, which kills any botulism bacteria present, rendering the contents safe for long term storage.

            2. re: C. Hamster

              pressurizing it is akin to keeping it at a higher temperature.

          2. It's not really garlic-in-oil, it's a little bit of garlic in mostly water/vinegar with some oil. Looks pretty safe to me, especially if you refrigerate it after you put it together.

            1 Reply
            1. re: hsk

              The garlic is added to the oil. The water/vinegar is used to boil the vegetables, but then it is discarded. The bulk of the liquid in the jars is oil. (But yes there are only about 5 cloves total) The only vinegar is the residual that is left on the vegetables after straining them.

            2. The vegetables are first cooked in a pickling liquid containing both acid and salt. My guess is that they will absorb enough of both, or have some residual pickling liquid still clinging to them to add enough acidity or salinity to the marinade to reduce the risk that the garlic has to develop botulism.

              1 Reply
              1. re: DiningDiva

                Oil and water do not mix(in this case anyway).
                The garlic is mixed with the oil first which would keep it protected from the acid and salt and provide the Anaerobic Environment that the Clostridium Botulinum grows in.

              2. Not one I'm going to try.

                Pressure canning would reduce the risk, but still doesn't move it into a must-have in my pantry.