Recipe and warnings about garlic oil

Garlic harvestCredit: Photo by Jane Gates

I'm not a cook, though I used to love cooking. I no longer have time so I pretty much just live off of my garden. I couldn’t survive without my homemade garlic oil. It makes a huge difference with all my simply cooked or raw garden vegetables. This garlic oil is the simplest recipe in the world, but do read the caveat I’m writing at the end of this note.

I use this garlic oil on everything and always get good response from guests. A salad is always a disappointment without it. I grow my own garlic so the size and amount of garlic you use will vary.

 1/2 gallon of pure. extra-virgin olive oil.

Add 3 – 4 wooden skewers of threaded unpeeled garlic cloves (about 5-6”)

Let the garlic infuse in the oil in a cool location for 7 – 10 days.


Although this is an old recipe used for hundreds of years and I have probably consumed gallons of the stuff from when I was young in Italy to the present (as well as some of my lifetime friends), I have read there is a remote chance of home infused garlic oil being capable of developing botulism. I have never heard of such an incident, nor do I know of anyone who has. But apparently it has been documented and should be taken seriously. As a result I refrigerate my oil and pour it out a little at a time into a small bottle for regular use, refilling it every few days. I live on a lot of salad and everyone who has a salad I make wants to know the secret ingredient that makes it so good. All I use is balsamic vinegar, some sea salt, a little water and garlic oil. It can’t be easier. And It tastes great. My garlic oil also goes on meats and vegetables. A good quality olive oil is cold-pressed and heating it looses much of its nutritive value. The oil does not need to be heated for this recipe.

Most people who have been making their own homemade garlic oil are not aware there is any risk. But then there have always been a number of risks in home cooking. Personally, I consider the risks with added chemicals, preservatives and commercial contamination seem to be far wider spread. I like the flavor and the good health benefits of making my own fresh garlic oil. This is a choice for each individual.