Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Garlic: Tips and Troubleshooting, Selecting, Storing, Recipes, Safety


Kim WB
 Share

Recommended Posts

Thank you for info Lisa. I just have peeled garlic cloves in pickling vinegar. They are submerged in a Kilner jar. Just an experiment really. Previous experience is a few onions and radish for quick use. I find the garlic clove much less harsh on the taste buds. Mark

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I stick a remote probe into the biggest garlic clove - usually do a pound of peeled cloves at a time - two liters of oil - doesn't have to be "extra virgin" olive oil - but I prefer one of the "greener" types that has some of the peppery flavor.

 

I use a 4-quart "Visions" roaster.

 

The temp signal is set for 250°F.  and when it reaches this temp I set the timer for 20 minutes.  At the end of that time I turn the oven off and allow the stuff to cool in the oven.

 

I'm worried that that's not an accurate method. Unless the garlic becomes completely dessicated, there will be parts of it at or below 212ºF. It's more likely that the temperature probe is conducting heat along its body, giving a false reading somewhere between the sub-212 inside the garlic and the 350 of the oven and oil.

 

Unless you're talking about removing the garlic before you turn off the oven. In that case, the oil may be safe, but you'll have to fridge the garlic and use it within 2 or 3 weeks.

-- There are infinite variations on food restrictions. --

Crooked Kitchen - my food blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm worried that that's not an accurate method. Unless the garlic becomes completely dessicated, there will be parts of it at or below 212ºF. It's more likely that the temperature probe is conducting heat along its body, giving a false reading somewhere between the sub-212 inside the garlic and the 350 of the oven and oil.

 

Unless you're talking about removing the garlic before you turn off the oven. In that case, the oil may be safe, but you'll have to fridge the garlic and use it within 2 or 3 weeks.

The probe has the sensor at the very tip -  and I have picked out individual cloves and speared them with a separate Thermapen just to be certain. 

 

The cloves actually "fry" and  it is making sure it reaches  205° F. and is held at that temp for a MINIMUM of 5 minutes.  As my process holds it at well above that temp for much longer, I am sure I am safe. 

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the information.  And, 'when in doubt, throw it out' is my motto.  My garlic confit is in the bin.  It had been in the fridge since mid-July covered in oil.  Sadly I have no pressure canner. 

 

You have a Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker though, don't you?  That should get up to a pressure of 1 bar/15psi (above atmospheric pressure), at which the boiling point of water will be 250F (according to this guide).  (Actually this article says K R pressure tops out at 17.4 psi  - also see the pressure-cooker discussion here).

 

But then how long do you have to process them? MC@H recipe for confit garlic (p 126) says 2 hours at 1 bar in 16oz/500ml jars.  USDA Home Canning Guide Ch 4 doesn't deal specifically with garlic, but the longest processing time it specifies for any vegetable in 16oz containers is 75 min.   So, if you followed the MC@H method, you should have safely destroyed all the c. botulinum spores.  This means you shouldn't have to worry about botulinum spores germinating at fridge temperatures, because there shouldn't be any spores left to germinate.

 

This is obviously a serious issue, so please weigh in, anyone, if this analysis seems wrong.

 

(I made a lot of confit garlic too, but didn't freeze it as you did:  I still have a couple of sealed jars in the fridge.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The probe has the sensor at the very tip -  and I have picked out individual cloves and speared them with a separate Thermapen just to be certain. 

 

The cloves actually "fry" and  it is making sure it reaches  205° F. and is held at that temp for a MINIMUM of 5 minutes.  As my process holds it at well above that temp for much longer, I am sure I am safe. 

That should be 250 degrees.  I was a bit fatigued by that time of the evening.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The other control inherent in your method, andie, is low available water.  Botulism spores are tough, of course, but the vegetative state requires water to get going.  Even ordinary garlic oil is very low in available water, which probably explains why this doesn't come up often.  Indeed, according to the CDC's annual monitoring reports, there has only been one reported case in the U.S. in the last twelve years, in 2012 (the last year for which data are available).  (There also was one, likely of interest to the OP, in Denmark in 2003.)  In the preceding ten, i.e., 1990 to 2000, there were two reported incidents in the U.S. involving four people (see Table 3).  Before that, the outbreaks which started this whole paranoia were two incidents in 1985 and 1989 involving several dozen people where commercially processed garlic in oil had added water.  Your product, and that which most folks are likely to produce at home, is very different for this reason.

 

I've never understood why, of all the food safety issues, botulism from garlic oil has gotten such traction.  The ordinary kitchen sponge is much more hazardous.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here in Phoenix, in the past 5 years two restaurants were cited by the health department for having fresh garlic oil (that is, chopped raw garlic, plus parsley, and olive oil) of indeterminate age in bottles left out on the tables. Employees at one establishment stated that they made the oil about once a month to refill the bottles.

 

It's not always about how many fall ill, it can be about how many times preventative measures need to be taken to prevent outbreaks.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here in Phoenix, in the past 5 years two restaurants were cited by the health department for having fresh garlic oil (that is, chopped raw garlic, plus parsley, and olive oil) of indeterminate age in bottles left out on the tables. Employees at one establishment stated that they made the oil about once a month to refill the bottles.

It's not always about how many fall ill, it can be about how many times preventative measures need to be taken to prevent outbreaks.

Yet if the restaurants had prepared just a parsley and oil mixture, nobody would have batted an eyelid as parsley oil, stored at room temperature is a routine preparation. This is despite parsley being as likely to harbor botulism spores as garlic. Garlic has simply emerged in the popular consciousness as inextricably linked with botulism, despite it not even being the most common vegetable (that would be asparagus).

As I mentioned earlier in the thread, there's more of a chance of you dying from a car accident going to the store to buy garlic than from garlic botulism. There were 2 cases of garlic linked with botulism affecting 4 people between 1990 - 2000. By my calculations, in those same 10 years, approximately 400 Americans would have died during that same time period from garlic buying expeditions (100M households * 20 garlic buying trips per household per year * 10 years * 2 miles round trip to the grocery store * 10 fatalities per billion passenger miles).

So you're better off strapping on a racing helmet and installing a roll cage in your car than obsessively monitoring the temperature of your roasted garlic oil if you're seriously concerned about the real danger in the world.

  • Like 1

PS: I am a guy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You have a Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker though, don't you?  That should get up to a pressure of 1 bar/15psi (above atmospheric pressure), at which the boiling point of water will be 250F (according to this guide).  (Actually this article says K R pressure tops out at 17.4 psi  - also see the pressure-cooker discussion here).

 

But then how long do you have to process them? MC@H recipe for confit garlic (p 126) says 2 hours at 1 bar in 16oz/500ml jars.  USDA Home Canning Guide Ch 4 doesn't deal specifically with garlic, but the longest processing time it specifies for any vegetable in 16oz containers is 75 min.   So, if you followed the MC@H method, you should have safely destroyed all the c. botulinum spores.  This means you shouldn't have to worry about botulinum spores germinating at fridge temperatures, because there shouldn't be any spores left to germinate.

 

This is obviously a serious issue, so please weigh in, anyone, if this analysis seems wrong.

 

(I made a lot of confit garlic too, but didn't freeze it as you did:  I still have a couple of sealed jars in the fridge.)

Next year I will use the pressure cooker.  Or grow less garlic  :hmmm:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...the bad guy garlic....

actually any herb can be a problem.  and fresh herbs in oil - as they contain more moisture - are "more worser" than dried herbs for oil infusions.
potatoes infused into oil can be a problem.  it's just not that many people infuse their oil with potatoes.

 

few, if any, restaraunts serve customers home-made infused oils, because....there is this potential problem.....
or spoiled meat, or rotten eggs, etc etc

as to timing - anything 'confit' is basically cooked to death, so a longer time is not a big surprise.

standing in the road is only dangerous when there is traffic present....otherwise you can stand in the road for hours without a problem.
I buy a head of garlic less than once a month, so my risk - per the presented analysis - is half that.
people who grow their own garlic, by that argument, have no risk - because they don't shop for garlic.

every year some number of people die from "home picked" mushrooms.  
I love mushrooms.  
I do not pick my own mushrooms because I don't know enough to not kill myself.

I do know how and why to use a pressure cooker, so I do.
 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had breakfast with a friend earlier today and I happened to mention the discussion about garlic in oil and botulism. (She has been a recipient of some of my roasted garlic in oil in the past and asked when I was going to produce some more.) 

She said her daughter, who has an 8-month infant, attended a nutrition seminar where there was lengthy discussion about botulism in honey and the dangers of giving raw garlic to infants. 

Apparently the recommendation was to "boil" the honey - at a low simmer - for a minimum of 45 minutes - before it thickens too much - before giving it to baby.  There were also handouts with recipes for honey candies that are cooked and therefore "safe" for babies. 

There were a couple of people in the audience who spoke up and one who noted she had fed raw honey to "ALL" of her children with no problems - apparently they keep bees and produce their own honey. 

One of the panelists said that many people had probably had the same experience as she but there also had been instances where infants became ill, affected by botulism.  However, the person in the audience pointed out that the infant in Riverside county who was affected had not been fed honey but CORN SYRUP, and no one seems to worry about that in infant foods...  Apparently this young woman keeps up with such news.

I guess after that the meeting was adjourned because there were so many independent conversations going on around the room (about 50 women and a few men).

 

I asked my friend if she was worried about botulism in the garlic and oil that I prepare and she said she was more worried about molds and such because her twin sister died in chilldhood from ergot poisoning (they lived in Iowa).  She also mentioned being wary of wild mushrooms - she loves them but always has a bit of trepidition when cooking and consuming them. 

 

Since the reported incidents of botulism are about 100 per year, it appears the danger is extremely remote for most people.  And botulism spores have been found in vacuum cleaner dust and dirt in "bagless" machines (the reason I prefer to have my dirst baggedd) scrapings from air conditioner screens and air filters, foodbourn is not the only way to get it.

  • Like 1

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

infantile botulism is a special off-shoot - most of the "growed up rules" do not apply.

 

most seriously, the digestive tract of infants can allow spores to (ah chit) grow/reproduce/whatever - I've been taken to task on those verbs - so I'll just avoid the language issues and simply say: 

 

when it comes to small humans, other rules apply.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Infantile botulism occurs because infants' guts are not sufficiently acidic

https://www.foodsafety.wisc.edu/assets/pdf_Files/Infants_Honey.pdf

As above, infants are not small adults. Special rules.

The botulism spores are everywhere. You can't escape. Your vacuum cleaner is safe.

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/a70a5447-9490-4855-af0d-e617ea6b5e46/Clostridium_botulinum.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I infuse garlic in oil in the oven at 350° F.  The process usually takes three hours, start to finish. 

 

I store it in sterilized jars with the wire snap closures at room temp and have done so for decades.  I originally got the "recipe" or process from one of the profs at Pierce college, Woodland Hills, CA.  They were doing some soil testing at the time (horticutural studies) which was why I made the initial inquiry. This was back in the '70s when I lived nearby. 

 

I have no problem with this method from a safety point of view, but wonder if this might lose some of the fresh oil flavour compared to the pressure cooker or (gasp!) low temperature method.

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here in Phoenix, in the past 5 years two restaurants were cited by the health department for having fresh garlic oil (that is, chopped raw garlic, plus parsley, and olive oil) of indeterminate age in bottles left out on the tables. Employees at one establishment stated that they made the oil about once a month to refill the bottles.

 

It's not always about how many fall ill, it can be about how many times preventative measures need to be taken to prevent outbreaks.

 

I wonder whether the officials issuing the citations knew (or care) that there has been only one reported case in the last twelve years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder whether the officials issuing the citations knew (or care) that there has been only one reported case in the last twelve years.

 

That's reported cases of the public becoming ill from eating in restaurants, right? Because in 2011 in just one case, eight people were hospitalized with botulism -but all eight were prison inmates in the Utah State prison. (they were sickened by a batch of pruno, which someone had tossed an old, foil wrapped baked potato into)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

I use a fair amount of garlic, but Toots doesn't, and she doesn't cook much these days.  When she does cook, rarely does she add garlic.  When I stay at her place, usually three nights a week, I generally do all the cooking.  Often whatever garlic she has (which I usually have brought) has gotten old.  If I forget to bring garlic with me, what there is to cook with is pretty sad. 

 

So, is there any way to extend the useful life of a head, or cloves, of garlic?

  • Like 1

 ... Shel


 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Grate it or chop in to fine bits and  freeze in  small ice cube trays. 

Cheese is you friend, Cheese will take care of you, Cheese will never betray you, But blue mold will kill me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Grate it or chop in to fine bits and  freeze in  small ice cube trays. 

 

Hmm, I'll have to play around with that idea, see how it'll work for me.  Might I just freeze whole cloves and then just grate them as needed?  Might that work as well?

 ... Shel


 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whole cloves hasn't worked for me, but feel free to try it.

 

I often grate whole cloves on the Microplane grater, and it works great.  I've never tried doing it with frozen cloves, although I frequently grate frozen ginger that way (a trick I learned here on EG).  So, yeah, I'll try freezing and grating.

 

That won't work if I want larger pieces, so there I'd have to try mincing or chopping and then freezing.

 ... Shel


 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well the problem I had with freezing  cloves fully was that it became weird in the  middle, gritty and just weird. It could be due to my freezer  but since then I grate and chop , if I know I cant get  good  garlic.

Cheese is you friend, Cheese will take care of you, Cheese will never betray you, But blue mold will kill me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My initial reaction to your question was to think "how is it being stored?".  Garlic lasts a long time in a cool dry place. Maybe that would be a place to start addressing the dilemma.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...