Garlic Infused Olive Oil - DON’T Try This At Home!


I’m horrified! I discovered something I didn’t know about olive oil. You see, it all started with garlic. I’d never have known this if I hadn’t got interested in the stinking rose. Isn’t that some name? No one really knows why, centuries ago, garlic was named the stinking rose. Well, the stinking part might be understandable, but the rose part? You could say it’s because the bulb resembles a tight rose bud, but that’s quite a stretch of the imagination.

Anyway, back to my big discovery. You can’t make garlic oil by putting cloves of garlic into a bottle of oil. Not unless you want to risk botulism poisoning. That’s right. Botulism. Because that’s what can grow when you combine garlic cloves and olive oil. Might be cool if you’re trying to develop a sideline business of growing raw material for the Botox market, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Oh, my gosh. I wonder how many people have tried a garlic infusion because they didn’t know that wasn’t safe to do.

Garlic bulbs grow underground. Clostridium Botulinum is a bacteria found in most soil so it’s always on root vegetables. Usually, the bacteria is killed when the root or bulb is removed from the soil and exposed to the air. Cooking also kills the bacteria which is why canned vegetables always say, “heat to a boil” on the instructions.

The toxic situation occurs when you put fresh garlic in oil and keep it at room temperature. You see bacteria are anerobic meaning they thrive in an airless environment. Oil is a perfect airless environment. The warmer bacteria are, the more they proliferate. So room temperature rather than refrigeration means a population boom for the microscopic critters.

To be safe, a garlic and oil mixture, has to be refrigerated AND it has to have some acid agent like citric or phosphoric acid added.

I don’t know if you’ve tried garlic infused olive oil, but it’s to die for. I’m so glad I learned this about garlic oil because I’m really into the cooking thing. I might have tried making my own garlic oil and really died!

I think I’ll just keep buying my garlic oil online from people who know the right way to infuse olive oil with the delightful taste of garlic. If you want to try a good infused oil, I love this garlic and thyme infused EVOO I found at!

My grandfather was right. Learn something new every day because nothing beats knowledge.

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7 Responses to “Garlic Infused Olive Oil - DON’T Try This At Home!”

  1. Bearon 25 Oct 2008 at 12:47 am

    I tried making garlic infused olive oil at home before, without acid or refrigeration. :-0

    I didn’t get sick, but the oil got moldy.

  2. jmon 04 Nov 2008 at 6:21 pm

    That’s why you “dry” your herbs, or in this case garlic, FIRST. Removing all the water content keeps the botulin from becoming a problem. Putting fresh foods of ANY kind in an olive oil is always a terrible idea. Also, heating the oil and herb above 120 F is supposed to kill the bacteria.

  3. Bob Greggoon 06 Nov 2008 at 4:59 pm

    I haven’t been trying to create garlic infused olive oil but your article did catch my attention regarding illness because I regularlly take fresh whole peeled garlic cloves (2 cups)and put them into a food processor and then drizzle about 1/2 oz. of olive oil. After chopping the garlic it is put into a sealable plastic bowl and stored in the refridgerator until used for cooking. I find this keeps the garlic in good shape for about 3 to 4 weeks. Do you see a problem with doing this ?
    Thank you,

  4. aon 07 Aug 2010 at 12:33 am

    Botulism only occurs in sealed bottles, without any exposure to air. It is rare but deadly. It takes 250 degrees to kill, not 120. The mold was probably something else completely different. Simplest solution is to use the garlic while it’s still fresh.

  5. Amberon 27 Aug 2011 at 8:40 pm

    So if I put garlic in my EVOO and add fresh lemon juice and store in fridge I should be fine? :)

  6. Ed Andersonon 10 Sep 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Microwave the garlic for 20-30 seconds at full blast if you are worried about botulism, works fine for me!

  7. Rebeccaon 09 Dec 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Simmer oil with cloves of garlic for 25 minutes. Let oil cool. Strain out garlic cloves and pour in to sterilized bottles. Use within 3 months. Wa-la! NO botulism and delicious garlic infused oil!!!

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