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Old 07-09-2007, 01:37 PM   #1
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Herb infused oil

Hello everyone, this is my first post on DC! I just discovered this place (well, not really "discovered", as it existed before I found it , but you get the picture).

Anyway, I know this has been beaten to death in previous posts, but I need some clarifications that hopefully you experts can provide.

Around a month and a half ago, I decided to try infusing olive oil with thyme. I had no idea that this was a risky venture along the lines of traveling to Fallujah by car with an American flag hanging off the antenna, but apparently it is.

I went to Bed Bath and Beyond and bought a bottle and a spout. I'm pretty sure the bottle is even marketed as an "oil bottle". I took some sprigs of thyme, put them in the bottle, filled the bottle with evoo, put the spout in (so it's not airtight- in fact, the bottle isn't even threaded for a cap), and put the bottle in my cupboard. I then let it sit for 2 weeks.

Two weeks later, I have a delicious infused oil. I used the oil for several days on everything from salad, to dipping bread in it, to brushing my teeth, to putting it on cereal (not really). But it was that delicious.

One day, seemingly out of nowhere, mold had appreared all over the exposed part of the thyme. Some of the thyme was still submerged in the oil at that point, and that part of it seemed fine. But everything that was sticking out of the oil (due to the oil level dropping as I used it) was completely covered in mold. So of course, I ended up wasting half of it.

After reading through these threads, and please correct me if I'm wrong, but I should have refrigerated the oil. That much I understand now. But what about the bottle not having an airtight cap? Would that have been ok had the bottle been refrigerated? If not, then what's the point of these pretty oil bottles? Do you make the oil in a mason jar, and then transfer it to the pretty bottles only when company comes over? I really don't get it...

Also, I assume that the oil would have solidified in the fridge. So what do you guys do- leave the oil at room temperature for a while everytime you want to use it? Lastly, it's been mentioned that you need to use the oil within 10-14 days. However, it takes 2 weeks to make oil, so I was hoping for a way to make some in bulk. Is freezing an option? It's just myself and my girlfriend, so I assume that the only thing I can do is to make small batches practically every week...

Oh, one more thing...does this apply to vinagrettes too? Let's say I make a vinagrette with just olive oil, vinegar, and mustard (so no garlic or shallots or herbs)...how long does that last? I've heard that if the vinagrette has garlic and other stuff, that you need to use it within 7 days. Does this rule apply when it's just a simple mixture?

Thanks for your help, and I look forward to getting thoroughly addicted to this place

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Old 07-09-2007, 01:48 PM   #2
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The short answer is that yes you do want to keep it in the fridge. That being said, you would still want to use it up or throw it out within 10 days or so.

Those bottles can be used for non-infused oils. I used to keep extra virgin olive oil in one. I now keep it in the container it came in, but those bottles work fine too.
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Old 07-09-2007, 01:57 PM   #3
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Any oil infused with FRESH ingredients, like herbs, garlic and chiles, is a potential botulism risk. Always refrigerate and use within 10-14 days or throw out.
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Old 07-09-2007, 02:27 PM   #4
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Do you guys have any idea for how much longer I have to live? The last time I had some of that oil was roughly a week ago...considering how fast mold sprang up (literally from one day to the next), I'm guessing that I definitely injested a pathogen or two. Or two hundred thousand.

So should I plan on a midweek death, or does botulism set in slowly over the course of various weeks? I ask because oil takes several weeks to infuse. It would be a waste of oil for me to start making some now if I'm going to be an IV diet within a couple of days, you know what I mean?

Serioulsy though, thanks for the responses.
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Old 07-09-2007, 02:27 PM   #5
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To infuse the oil so that it's not sitting out for two weeks, gently heat the oil to about 160-165 degrees. Add the fresh herbs and let it steep until you get the desired strength that you want, then strain and refrigerate. It should only take about 20-30 minutes to steep.
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Old 07-09-2007, 02:29 PM   #6
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awesome, good to know!
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Old 07-09-2007, 02:29 PM   #7
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BTW- is one method tastier than the other?
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Old 07-09-2007, 02:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quicker Thinker Upper
Do you guys have any idea for how much longer I have to live? The last time I had some of that oil was roughly a week ago...considering how fast mold sprang up (literally from one day to the next), I'm guessing that I definitely injested a pathogen or two. Or two hundred thousand.

So should I plan on a midweek death, or does botulism set in slowly over the course of various weeks? I ask because oil takes several weeks to infuse. It would be a waste of oil for me to start making some now if I'm going to be an IV diet within a couple of days, you know what I mean?

Serioulsy though, thanks for the responses.

You never would have had the chance to join this site. We're better than botulism by all accounts.
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Old 07-09-2007, 02:37 PM   #9
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The heating method is better because you can extract more of the herb's oils. For every cup of oil, use about 1/2 cup of herbs.

And thank you for searching and reading the older threads before starting a totally brand new one. It doesn't happen very often.
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Old 07-09-2007, 02:48 PM   #10
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Hey, can someone comment on my vinagrette question?

I've read in other posts (related to infused oils) something about throwing a little vinegar into the infusion to stop the botulism toxin (among other toxins). A vinagrette, obviously, already contains vinegar, so I don't understand why a vinagrette would spoil after a week...also, note that in my question, I'm talking about an easy breezy vinagrette with just oil, vinegar, and mustard.

Thanks again.
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