Don’t get sick: protect with garlic-infused olive oil!
Garlic infused olive oil can be a great thing! By now you've read about the numerous benefits of garlic as a health-supporting food. Historically, the antibacterial and antiviral properties of delicious peeled garlic are perhaps its most legendary feature. This amazing bulb has been revered for its ability to ward off infection and fight bacteria and viruses. A recent study has shown garlics’ ability to help treat bacterial infections that are difficult to cure as they have become resistant to prescription antibiotics. However, most of the research on garlic as an antibiotic has involved garlic extracts or powdered garlic products rather than garlic in whole form. Which is why garlic-infused olive oil is a great product to keep close by during cold and flu season!
According to one study, those who consumed garlic-infused oil daily for three months had fewer colds than those who took a placebo. When they did come down with a cold, the duration of illness was shorter. While garlic may not be able to alter the course of infection itself, there may still be health benefits from garlic in helping to regulate the body's response to that infection. You’re probably tempted to go out right now and buy a bottle of infused oil at the store – but many on the market are pricey. While the prep work might be longer, making your own oil will ensure you'll get all the tastiness and health benefits of garlic at a fraction of the cost. First, it’s important to know the basics of making your own delicious infused oil, including one safety recommendation.
1. Be aware of botulism: Clostridium Botulinum, the microorganism that causes botulism, is present in soil, which means it can also find its way into garlic. This microorganism thrives in an oxygen-free environment like oil, so it is crucial that you heat to kill any botulinum spores that may be present in the garlic. In other words, do NOT drop a few raw garlic cloves in some oil and call it a day! Don’t fret: the CDC estimates that there are about 145 cases of it annually in the U.S., and only 15% of those are food-related.
2. Using quality oil is key: Labels can lie! The more details they provide on the label, (like the grower's name, the specific location where the olives were grown, and the cultivar) the more likely you are to be getting the real thing.
3. Quantity counts: Know what your garlic preferences are before getting down to business. Do you like a lot? A hint? Professional recommendations range from six cloves of garlic per cup of oil to one head of garlic per cup of oil. Bear in mind that more than this amount can result in a bitter aftertaste.
Now that you’re well versed in the basics, you can get cooking. Here is a simple recipe for homemade garlic-infused oil:
Step One: Peel your fresh garlic and let it sit out for a few minutes to get the maximum heath benefits.
Step Two: Sautee your garlic in high-quality oil. Pour in enough oil to give a healthy coat to the bottom of your pan (the best kind to use is cast iron). Sautee over medium heat for three to five minutes. The garlic should sizzle but not cook. If you only need a small amount of garlic-flavored oil to cook with or eat, you can use what's in the pan. If you're creating a big batch to save for later, proceed to the next step.
Step Three: Simmer your garlic in more oil (amount will vary depending on how much you need to make). Bring the heat down to medium-low and wait until the mixture begins to slightly bubble, simmering for three to five more minutes. To ensure that botulism spores are killed if present, simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the oil to cool.
Step Four: Use a fine-mesh sieve to strain that oil into an airtight storage container. Be sure that no garlic remains in the oil as it could go rancid and spoil your entire batch! The yummy cooked garlic cloves that remain can be used in other dishes.
Step Five: The last step, immediately following straining, is to store it in the fridge. The oil will stay fresh in your fridge for up to one week.
Enjoy your garlic infused olive oil! Watch our video and learn how to peel garlic really fast!