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Making Garlic & Herb Infused Olive Oil And Pepper Vinegar: Full Tutorial W/ Lotsa Pics

tropics

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Robert great job on that post,I saved the bottle link,I think I have a case of 8 oz. bottles left.
Richie
 

SmokinAl

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WOW, what a great tutorial & thank you for taking the time to write this up. Now all you need is your own labels for the bottles!
Al
 

chef jimmyj

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Nicely done Sir. Great detail and having the Whole Story makes for an interesting and Educational read. I am glad to have participated...JJ

BTW...Taste the Browned Garlic. If not bitter, it makes a Great Crunchy Topping for Salads, Vegetables, Potatoes and try it with Melted Butter on Steaks! Just drain off the oil on Paper Towels.
 

jfsjazz

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Couple notes: this is going to be very long and highly detailed. It's not really about canning or preserving so don't know if it should go into that sub-forum. The bottles I'm using are too small to put a pig or cow in so I'm gonna stay away from my two most trusted forums. This seems like a safe bet where to put the thread.

A couple months ago I decided to delve into making garlic infused olive oil. My "technique" was just to load a bunch of whole cloves of garlic into a bottle of olive oil and let it steep for a couple weeks to develop flavors. I posted this and immediately got responses from two of the most knowledgeable people in the forum telling me the error of my ways. The good folks that saved my a$$ were @daveomak and chef jimmyj chef jimmyj Both said the same thing: garlic is a root vegetable and susceptible to developing botulism. Holy crap!! This could have been catastrophic!! Thank God I'd only given a bottle to 2 different friends the day before who I immediately contacted and told them to dump it. I shelved this project for a bit while I did some research. Most of the processes I read were insanely involved and more than I wanted to get into. Then I found a couple articles that seemed credible, both stating the same thing. I then asked Dave and Jimmy if the process was safe. Both said it was but added a couple of caveats to go a step or two further to ensure safety. I'm back in business!! Got more stuff and tried again following their advice then sent a PM to both spelling out the exact process. Both agreed that what I've done is safe...whew!! Dave did mention the possibility of one additional step, which I'll note later, but both said it's probably overkill based on what I did. Here we go:

This is the herb mix I get from Costco that I use in the olive oil
View attachment 423628

Cut a piece of cheesecloth and dump a couple ounces of the herb mix onto it
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Loosely tie the ball with butcher's twine. The knot needs to be tight but don't make the ball itself tight so the oil can flow through it
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This is 3 quarts of olive oil in the Dutch oven
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A half cup of minced garlic. You don't have to use minced but the garlic needs to be in small enough pieces to ensure it gets fully hot all the way through
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Garlic and herb ball into the oil. Notice that the garlic is on the bottom
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Heating up. i'm going to post several pics. Note the color change in the garlic in conjunction with the thermometer readings and the garlic rising to the top
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We are in the safe zone. You MUST maintain a minimum of 250* for at least 3 minutes to ensure safety.
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This is the lowest temp I can maintain on this burner. I let it sit for 4 minutes, which actually gives 6 to 7 minutes above the 250* minimum threshold.
View attachment 423638
Note how dark the garlic is
View attachment 423639
Let sit for a couple hours to cool. This will give even more time above the minimum temp. Needless to say, I'm not playing games with this project. Botulism is some REALLY nasty stuff.
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Ok, we are cooked, cooled and safe. Time to bottle. Sterilize all bottles, dribble corks, and caps before starting this step. I did these the night before with a sanitizer that I use for cleaning my equipment when making beer, then put them in the dishwasher. Took out when done and put corks in to ensure nothing got into the bottles overnight. Place a bottle in the sink with a small funnel in it and put a piece of cheesecloth into the funnel
View attachment 423642
Remove the herb ball from the oil
View attachment 423644
Ladle the oil through a fine mesh tea strainer into the funnel with the cheesecloth in it
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Continue until you run out of oil or run out of bottles. I got 6) 375 ml bottles of oil from this batch. Here they are with the dribble corks and the caps
View attachment 423648
Put the dribble corks into the bottles
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Put the caps on
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Slide the decorative shrink wrap sleeves onto the bottles
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A few seconds with the heat gun and we have a finished product. You can also do this with a blow dryer, it just takes a bit longer.
View attachment 423652
All 6 done
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Close up
View attachment 423654

Alrighty then....now to dial in a few details I've learned over 4 batches of this stuff. I've only used 3 different techniques though so here ya go:

1) Get oil to proper temp for proper amount of time, let cool, and then ladle into bottles using just the tea strainer and funnel
Pros: Great caramelized flavor and a nice herbal undertone
Cons: Small amount of sediment in the bottom of the bottles. Not an issue from a standpoint of quality, it just detracted from the visual aspect

2) Get oil to temp for proper amount of time, immediately bottle using cheesecloth in the funnel and tea strainer
Pros: Very clean and visually appealing
Cons: Lacking the deep caramelized flavor from the garlic and not as noticeable an herbal note

3) Get oil to proper temp for proper amount of time, let cool, and bottle using tea strainer and cheesecloth in the funnel
Pros: Very clean, visually appealing, deep caramelized flavor and nice tones from the herbs
Cons: None!! Need I say more?

This stuff is incredible!! I can't believe that we used to spend $25 for a 375 ml bottle of this stuff from a little specialty shop we found in Ruidoso NM a few years ago. Now to note the one aspect Dave pointed out that may add one more step to ensure safety. That is what I did in #2 above: bottle it immediately. Both jimmy and Dave said however that it's overkill based on the fact that I exceeded every requirement for safety in my process. Now y'all wanna make some spicy pepper vinegar? I think I heard one person WAAAAYYY in the back say "yes" so here we go. The first couple batches of this stuff were done using fresh cayenne peppers from our friend's garden. I was putting 12-15 peppers in each 375 ml bottle and was getting a nice spice tingle. Then I ran out of the cayenne peppers and had to drop back 10 and punt. Decided 2 weeks ago to use some different peppers. In each 375 ml bottle I put 1 fresh Serrano, 1 fresh Arbol, and 3 large dried Arbols. This seemed like it'd create a nice tingle without being overly hot but I was concerned that it may not be enough pepper. Opened a bottle this morning just to taste it before starting the next batch to see if I needed to make any adjustments. Nope...it was perfect!! Just a really nice spicy tingle, complexity from the different pepper flavors, and a perfect balance. Decided to proceed with the batch today exactly as I did the last two. The way I do this is to use a 50/50 mix of white distilled vinegar and ACV. Start out by cutting the peppers at the stem end, removing the stem, and opening up the end of the pepper. This will allow the vinegar to get inside of the pepper so you'll get the full flavor versus just getting it from the outside. With the dried Arbols, turn them upside down over a paper plate or towel and gently massage the pepper to get the seeds out. You can even give it a flick or two with your fingernail to prompt the hard-headed seeds to come out. Put all peppers into the bottles then put your vinegar on the stove. I used 10 cups (80 oz) this time, which was 5 cups of each vinegar.

Here are the bottles with the peppers in them (Note: you must sanitize the bottles and wash the fresh peppers prior to starting)
View attachment 423655

Close up
View attachment 423656

Vinegar on the stove
View attachment 423657

Bring to a nice boil and immediately ladle into the bottles. This will slightly cook the peppers bringing out the flavors and also re-hydrate the dried Arbols. No need for the tea strainer or the cheese cloth this time, just the funnel. Fill all 6 bottles
View attachment 423658

Install dribble corks, tops, and shrink wrap caps same as the olive oil. Here ya have it. Six beautiful, matched gift sets of garlic & herb infused olive oil and pepper vinegar.
View attachment 423659
View attachment 423660
View attachment 423661

Kinda cool stuff :emoji_wink: The beauty of this is that you can create unique gifts that will blow people's minds when you tell them you did it all yourself. It adds to the unique factor that it's homemade and something you can take pride in sharing with friends and family. Remember earlier when I said we were paying $25 for a 375 ml bottle of just the oil? Well this whole set, all 12 bottles only cost a couple dollars more than that to make....total cost. Being less than a $30 investment to make these comes out to less than $5 per set and total hands-on working time was just over an hour. Not a bad gig. Oh well, I told y'all this was gonna be long and I wasn't kidding. I'll cut it short and bring this to a closure...after another comment or two. The peppers I used are just what I wanted to use. They are by no means set in stone. You can create however much heat and/or flavor you want with any combination of peppers you want. I know that there have been several people that we've all been in contact with who are doing the vinegar: Joe @xray Steve @Steve H and possibly John @SmokinVOLfan These folks have made some insane stuff that I'm sure they will chime in with to give you some other ideas. A couple other people that I've communicated with regarding this stuff are Anne @annewaldron and Mariko @Omnivore They too will probably chime in as both are VERY creative and love doing stuff homemade....like some REALLY good cookies that Anne makes. Not that I've had any...just sayin' :emoji_laughing: The general consensus between Jimmy, Dave, and myself was that this concept is getting extremely popular in the forum and it would be nice for folks to have an accurate, verified, and safe procedure to follow so I did it. Now I'm gonna go crawl back under my rock. Thanks for spending your afternoon with me here :emoji_astonished:

Really tired of typing,
Robert
What do you suppose will be the shelf life of the oil?
 

tx smoker

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Well...I'm gonna respond to my own thread :emoji_wink: When I posted this I never considered that it would garner this much feedback. Certainly I didn't expect any negativity, but had no idea I'd see this sort of an outpouring of positive responses. I figured a lot of folks may read it and a few would find it interesting enough to respond to. Thanks to all for the reinforcement of putting this out there!!

Also, never in my wildest dreams did I think this would be a featured thread. It's not a beautifully presented, world-class, 5-star meal. Matter of fact, it reads more like an excerpt from an encyclopedia, but it was meant to be strictly informative. Having it featured though is a HUGE plus for the forum though because a lot more people are going to see it this way than may have otherwise seen it.

As much as I appreciate all of the great things folks have said, in all honesty it's Dave and Jimmy that deserve all the credit. If not for them, I may not have been alive to do the post :emoji_laughing: They provided all of the information. All I did was take pictures and write it up. Those guys are the catalyst for this one, not me.

Now I'm gonna go do some individual responses.
Robert
 

tx smoker

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A really good write up.... U-DUN-GUD .....
Thank you Dave!! It not for you and Jimmy, I would have never had the necessary info to make this happen. Your seal of approval means the world to me sir.

Robert
 

tx smoker

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Thanks for the write up. I think I'm going to steal that olive oil recipe from you! Great job.
Appreciate the kind words, but I keep telling people that you can't steal what's freely given :emoji_wink: That's what this forum is all about. Dave and Jimmy were free with their advice so the least I can do is freely share that with everybody else.

Robert
 

tx smoker

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Been waiting on this post Robert! Its nice to have the visual affect. The bottles you sent me are outstanding and I can attest to how good they are!
Thank you John!! It was only last weekend that the agreement was made that this should be posted. I'd just ordered more bottles and corks and had to wait for them to come in. I also wanted to make one more run with it to refine the process as best I could before posting. Sorry it took so long :emoji_astonished:

Glad you like the ones you received. I know I've been loving this stuff!! It's unlike anything you can buy at a store, that's for sure. Best of luck in your endeavors my friend. After reading this though, I don't think I need to make the offer to ask for help should you need it. You're pretty well covered now.

Robert
 

tx smoker

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Nothing uneducated about it...hard to keep up with all the abbreviations for things! Apple Cider Vinegar
Yep...what he said. Thanks for jumping and responding John. This post took a LONG time to write up and I was way behind schedule by the time I finished it and just didn't have time to follow up.

Robert
 

tx smoker

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My gosh! What an awesome post! I’m blown away every time I check into the SMF by the amazing and diversified processes and techniques used and so willingly shared.
I’m retired and will never have time to try all the things I’ve seen here!

Thanks for sharing.

Johnny Ray
Thank you JR. I know what you mean about the forum. It has been extremely inspirational and I've learned SOOOO much here...like how to safely infuse olive oil with garlic :emoji_laughing: This place blew my mind 10 years ago and I have made it my second home with a huge extended family.

Robert
 

tx smoker

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What a great write up Robert!! I will be trying this too!! I am saving the bottles you sent for our Christmas gathering. Still planning what I will use them with. Thanks a ton!!
Don't save them Jeff, use them. That's what they were sent for :emoji_wink: Use them both up and re-use the bottles and corks to make more. It's really a very easy process.

Robert
 

tx smoker

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Robert, I'm tired of trying to find those bottles and dribble things... Can you share a part no. or something to help me out ????
Ok Dave, you asked so here goes. I got my first order from Amazon. They were 12 oz. bottles and came with cork stoppers with plastic caps glued to them as well as the shrink wrap sleeves. The caps looked good on paper but in reality didn't amount to a fart in a windstorm. When put into the bottles the cork would swell and when you tried to remove the cork, the plastic cap came unglued from the cork leaving the cork stuck in the bottle. This was not gonna work so I found the synthetic dribble corks and plastic caps pictured in this thread and ordered a bag to replace all of the junk ones.

Time for round 2. The bottles I ordered the first time were no longer available. Found some others on Amazon that were also 12 oz. but shaped more like a champagne bottle. this is not a problem since I'm doing them all in pairs. Ordered them, another dozen corks, and a pack of 50 shrink wrap caps. All were delivered in two days or less.

Time for round 3. Ordered more of everything above except the shrink wrap caps. Had 50 of those. Found out that the bottles were not going to deliver for three weeks. This was not gonna work so cancelled the order for the bottles but left the corks in transit. Amazon had nothing else that fit the bill for what I wanted. I was at a loss and on a whim checked the website for the place I get my beer making supplies from VIOLA!! They had the exact bottles I wanted and even with the shipping fee were less than what I'd gotten from Amazon. They were delivered the next day.

Round 4 was same as round 3.

Here is the link for the dribble corks and caps


Here is the link for the shrink wrap caps


Here is the link for my homebrew supply store


Lemme know if there is anything else I can help with
Robert
 

tx smoker

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What an excellent read and tutorial, Robert!!! I’m looking forward to trying the oil and making my own someday. There’s just so much I want to do.
Joe...thank you my friend for the kind words. your bottles are supposed to deliver tomorrow so be on the lookout. I know what you mean about so many projects. Blessedly I only work about 15 hours a week so I have a lot more time to play with things than normal people do. Now....where da pics of that vinegar you been doing????

Nobody ever said I was normal,
Robert
 

tx smoker

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Can we share links?
Joe, thanks so much for getting Dave started in the right direction. I saw those bottles but for what I wanted to do, they weren't the right ones. First off I wanted larger bottles. My concern was that only 5 oz, a couple salads and a loaf of garlic bread, the bottle is gone. The second thins is just personal taste. I didn't want screw caps. I was looking for something more akin to a wine bottle that had a cork. I'd never buy a bottle of wine or bourbon that had a screw top and didn't want to produce something like that I wouldn't buy :emoji_wink: I was pretty selective in what I was looking for and very fortunate to find those dribble corks and plastic caps. Finding a continued and reliable source for the bottles proved to be more difficult than 'd have ever imagined though, that's for sure.

Robert
 

tx smoker

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I dont even know what to say, great post? WOW. Great write up. Very easy to follow even I can to it I think. Amazing job. Very well done.
Thank you Adam!! I cannot begin to tell you how much this means coming from you sir. Very much appreciate the kind words...and glad you have hopefully found it helpful.

Robert
 

tx smoker

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Awesome post! I bookmarked it for future use.
Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the write-up. Very nice job
Great write up!
The better learn from their failures.
I aspire for better

Thanks so much to each of you!! The kind words are very much appreciated. This was a bit of a lengthy presentation but I feel was worth it, especially after all the great comments that have come from it.

Robert
 

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