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Anonymous Modernist 339

[Modernist Cuisine] Garlic Confit

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Judy said:

This is a great recipe to try out if you are new to pressure-cooking!

Hi Judy,

Thanks for the recipe. The written version states 1 bar (15 psi) for 2 hours but the video shows full pressure for 1 hour. I have the Kuhn Rikon Duromatic. Is 1 bar the same as the first red ring? Also, can I just go full pressure (2 red rings) for an hour achieve the same result? Thanks in advance.

Cheers,

Chuck (ChuckSeattle on Twitter)

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Judy said:

Hi Daniel,

Yes, the lids should be on, but you want to put the lids on the jars loosely. If they are too tight, the jars could rupture.

Judy:

I followed the video instruction of tightening the lids all the way down and then backing off the tension by 1/4 turn (while this is the verbal instruction, the visual of the turn appears to be more in the 1/8 turn range). However, when I opened up the pressure cooker after the 2 hours, I noticed that approximately 50% of the oil had escaped out of the jars and into the pressure cooker watersf-surprised.gif. I live in Denver (elevation 5280ft). I doubt this was the problem but I thought I would post my experience with the hope of some suggestion for how to avoid this problem in the future. Thanks for the help.

Brian

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I have a concern about the risk of botulism in regards to the garlic confit recipe, and especially the note that accompanied it in the November blog, which stated that "The cook­ing time in this par­tic­u­lar recipe allows for alarge mar­gin of safety, so it can remain at room tem­per­a­ture indef­i­nitely as long as the lid remains sealed. Once opened, the gar­lic con­fit will last about two months, refrig­er­ated (the colder, the better)."

The primary recipe uses a pressure cooker, and cooks the garlic in oil at 1bar /15 psi for two hours. That pressure at sea level corresponds to a temperature of 248F, and that is indeed high enough to destroy the spores of Clostridium botulinum in about 3 minutes.

But in Denver (5280 ft.), Taos, NM (7000 ft.), and certainly in Bolivia (10,000 ft.), a marked 15 psi will NOT produce that high a temperature. Instead you would need an autoclave, or a sterilizer. In my case, in Taos, I would need 18.5 psi to reach that temperature.

But worse yet, the alternate instructions suggest vacuum sealing the confit and cooking it sous vide at 88C/190F for seven hours. That might be sufficient to produce a nice Maillard reaction and a tasty result, but available data suggests that at 205F the time to produce the recommended 10^12 reduction of spores would be over 1000 minutes, or 16.7 hours, so 7 hours at 190F would certainly NOT be enough time. Unfortunately, botulism spores can sporulate and produce the botulism bacteria that makes the deadly toxin, at storage temperatures as low as 3C/37F. So unless you kill all the spores, or keep them from growing through adequate chilling, you run a significantly risk.

So please, people, if you live at high altitude, and you use a normal pressure cooker; or if you follow the sous vide instructions, DO NOT consider the garlic confit to be shelf stable, even if the lid remains sealed! Instead, according to the US FDA Food Code, it must be refrigerated at a temperature lower than 1C/34F, and kept for no longer than a month; or else vacuum sealed and then frozen, whereupon it would have an indefinite storage life.

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Max said:

It should be two hours, with two rings showing (as LFMichaud said, that indicates 15 psi).

Are you sure about that? According to the manual(p. 61) the second ring of the Kuhn Rikon indicates the European standard pressure of 0.8 bar or around 12 psi. This would probably not alter the cooking time for the necessary Maillard reaction, but could be a problem regarding shelf-stability/botulism. Has anyone calculated sterilization times for 0.8 bar?

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I made this recipe with superb results. I used 4 heads of garlic, putting one head in each of 4 jars, each with different simple aromatic herb combinations-2-3 herbs per jar at random.

I too, was confused about the 15 psi for 2 hours, and I had to actually look in my Khun Rikon manual to see that that meant the 2nd ring showing. I had already cooked for I'd say an hour with only one ring showing, so I upped the heat and added about another 30-40 minutes with two rings, then opened it to check what was happening, and by that point they were absolutely perfect looking, so I didn't want to take it any further.

I was fascinated at how as the vacuum formed in the jars the olive oil continued to boil even as the temperature got to be as low as 80 degrees F.

426812_10100109055493900_18915791_41099996_32252881_n.jpg

Garlic Confit, still boiling near room temperature, as the vacuum equalizes

The resulting garlic cloves are such delicious perfection that I've been trying them out in all sorts of spots. For a really quick salad dressing, I've been taking out a clove from a jar with a fork, then drizzling a little olive oil then some balsamic vinegar glaze into a little cup, whisking that then putting the result onto a salad. Absolutely delightful.

The garlic is so sweet and delectable, that it's no problem to just take one, as-is, and smear a it on a piece of bread, and maybe use some sun-dried tomato with that as well.

I've now tried a small handful of recipes from the book. There is so much inspiration and revelation in there… I have to take it very slowly and carefully, lest I miss out on something because I passed it over.

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I'm pretty inexperienced with using my pressure cooker for canning, but I followed the recipe to the T. The can sealed properly and the result looks perfect, with a deep, rich caramelized color. I noticed when I put it in the fridge for storage, there are still bubbles rising up in the mixture. Is this normal (due to the vaccuum inside, perhaps)?

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Peter,

I looked at our manual, and it says, in response to the question "At which temperature do I cook most foods?":

"Most foods can be cooked at the higher pressure (second red ring) or 15 pounds per square inch..." It's possible you have a different model though.

rock0052,

We don't actually recommend using a pressure cooker for canning, because most don't have a gauge or calibrated weight to seal the cooker. The confit can be stored for up to six months in the refrigerator though!

Judy


Judy Wilson

Editorial Assistant

Modernist Cuisine

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I too had the problem where the oil leaked out of the pots into the pressure cooker when I tried the recipe.. Twice.

Any idea why this happens and how I can fix it? Could it be because my lids are on too tight? (I did make sure to unscrew them 1/4, but I had them screwed pretty tighly before, maybe the lid had "stuck" on the rim?)

I live at low elevation so that shouldn't be the issue.

Thank you!

Benjamin

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I've been having some problems with the Garlic Confit recipe and I'm hoping someone can give me a little guidance. The first time I attempted the recipe was with my old pressure cooker. I measured everything out and filled the jar, placed on a rack inside the pot with an inch of water in it, got it up to 15 psi, and set a timer for 2 hours. It didn't make it that long. About an hour and a half in, I started noticing a really intense, unpleasant smell that made me think that the garlic was overcooked.. I took the pot off of the heat and depressurized it... which was a terrible idea. My entire house was filled with garlic fumes that started burning my eyes immediately. I brought the pot outside and had to keep all of the windows in my house open for hours before it subsided. Once everything was cooled off I examined the garlic. The oil was a dark brown, the garlic slightly wrinkled, and there was a small amount of very dark oil at the bottom of the jar. As horrible as it looked, I still decided to taste it. Both the oil and garlic were extremely potent and had a strong, lingering bitter aftertaste. Obviously something had gone wrong and my assumption was that the heat was too high and had scorched the oil and garlic alike.

I recently bought a new Fagor pressure cooker and decided to give this another try. I did everything the same but this time I set the heat as low as I could and still keep the pot pressurized. At the 1:45 mark I started to get a little paranoid and pulled it from the heat and took it outside to depressurize it (at least I learned something from the first attempt!). The smell was not nearly as bad as the first time around but it still wasn't very appetizing. The garlic looked a little better, the oil a little clearer and less brown, and only a small amount of the excessively dark oil on the bottom. The taste was negligibly different from the first time; strong, bitter, and unpleasant.

What am I missing here? What should it look like? What should it taste like? Did anyone else essentially fill their house with the garlic equivalent of pepper spray when they tried this? Did you have to take it outside? Has your wife banned you from a third attempt like mine? I keep reading other people's accounts of this recipe and it sounds like something I would like to have around but what I've created is good for nothing other than keeping the raccoons out of my garbage cans. HELP!!

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I hope someone can come up with an answer for you, as my experience was pretty much identical. Just tried out the new PC last night and although the smell wasn't too bad I also got a layer of very dark oil in my batch as well. Haven't tasted yet but not overly optimistic.

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At least this means that it wasn't just me. My only thought was that maybe if the water level was high enough to be an inch up the side of the jar instead of just an inch deep in the pot that it might make a difference. All I know is for sure is that smell will probably never come out of the gasket on my pressure cooker.

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I get this layer of dark oil at the bottom when I do it too. Actually it seems like it's dark red. (Pic : http://tinypic.com/r/bi6syh/6) Could it be the olive oil I'm using? Or maybe the garlic? I get my garlic pre-peeled from an asian grocer. Olive oil is cheap-ish olive oil from Costco.

I've also learned that cool the PC by running cold water on it is a bad idea when dealing with jars. It causes a pressure change much faster in the cooker than in the jars, which will typically cause you jars to spill oil out in the pressure cooker. Not an issue since I started letting the pressure come down on its own.

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Next time I'll try blanching the garlic and removing the herbs, see if it that helps. I'll probably try to fill my PC so the water doesn't actually touch the jars, too (may not be related, but seems an odd coincidence that this "dark layer" seems to go up to the water level).

We'll figure it out eventually. :)

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I was thinking that maybe raising the water level would help. The way my PC works with the rack in it for jars the water barely touches the bottom but i still got a lot of the reddish/brown substance at the bottom of the jar. If you got the same results with more water than I am a little more stumped than I already was.

I had been using a decent oil, nice garlic from my local farmers market, and fresh herbs from my garden. I will definitely try all future experiments with cheaper ingredients from here on out!

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Esteemed colleagues,

do you use trivets? I use a small (one of the smallest) Kuhn Rikon and 0.25l jars that I place on a shallow trivet that was included with my pressure cooker. I tried several variations of different garlic varieties, oils and herbs, and each and every time my results were very consistent.

What you describe might be happening due to excessive heat near the point of contact of your jars with the bottom of the cooker. Try trivets!

I should also note that I use gas stove, I slowly pressurise my cooker at low heat (no point rushing it) and then leave it on a very, very low heat ”” it's more than enough to keep the pressure. That way the bottoms of my jars aren't exposed to excessive heat.

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