Garden Talk

with Rebecca Jordi

Q: I want to add fresh and dried herbs to oil. I have been told there might be a food safety issue if I do this on my own. Please help.

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Oils and Vinegars

Oils and Vinegars

A:  Since you were asking me a food safety question, I deferred to Meg McAlpine our Family Consumer Science agent who provided information from Oregon State University and Colorado State University.  Basically, garlic, vegetables or herbs in an oil mixture may support the growth of Clostridium botulinum bacteria. For safety reasons, these oils should be made fresh. Leftovers must be refrigerated and used within three days, then discarded. Herbed oils are made commercially but some form of acid must be added to the process to ensure safety. You can make flavored vinegars using garlic, vegetables or herbs as the acid in the vinegar will not allow the growth of Clostridium botulinum bacteria. However, it is possible for some of the vinegars to support the growth of Escherichia coli bacteria. Either infused oils or vinegars can cause great harm if not made and stored properly because of the potential for harboring these deadly bacteria. The following publications will provide more information to avoid contamination:


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