Most recipes for garlic infused olive oil warn not to store a homemade infusion in the fridge for longer than a week. Use commercially peeled and sanitized garlic to avoid food poisoning. I’m as cautious as the next person when it comes to food safety (my mother started out as Home Economics teacher after all) so I dutifully bought the three-pound bag of peeled garlic from Costco because it was cheaper than the smaller amount available at my local grocery store. Still, three pounds is a lot of garlic and I can’t stand throwing most of it away, so I came up with this method for making a large amount of garlic oil that lasts for months.
When I get home from Costco, I divide the bag of garlic into three one pound portions, then freeze them in gallon zip lock bags. There’s no need to thaw the garlic before using it in this recipe. I buy the Costco organic extra virgin olive oil as well, which comes in a 1.5 liter plastic bottle. But it doesn’t matter if you use a different size bottle, as precise measurements don’t matter in this recipe. The idea is to use six to seven cups of oil and a pound of garlic.
Using garlic infused olive oil is the perfect way to add garlic flavor to food without the fructans that cause problems for fructose malabsorbers. It’s also a great addition for salad dressings and other food that needs a subtle boost in flavor without the harshness that garlic can sometimes bring.
Garlic Infused Olive Oil
Makes about 6 1/3 cups
1 pound (450 grams) peeled garlic, fresh or frozen
1.5 liters (about 6 1/3 cups or 1500 ml) extra virgin olive oil
metal fine mesh strainer
8 (8 ounces or 240 ml) glass jelly jars with rings and lids, sterilized and dry
Pour the olive oil into a stock pot or other pan with tall sides. Add the garlic. Don’t worry if there are ice crystals or condensation on the garlic, just dump it into the oil.
Turn the heat to medium and use a metal pancake turner to stir the garlic. Let the oil come to a gentle simmer. After the oil starts bubbling, turn the heat to low and continue stirring from time to time. Keep the oil bubbling, but don’t let it get hot enough to smoke. Some of the garlic will caramelize on the bottom of the pan, so scrape it loose to keep it from burning. Turn off the heat when the garlic turns a pale golden color, after about 15 to 20 minutes. Let the pan sit on the stove until the oil is room temperature.
Put a metal fine mesh strainer on top of another pan and pour the oil through it to strain out the garlic. Reserve the cooked garlic. Pour the strained oil into the glass jelly jars, leaving at least an inch of space at the top to allow for freezer expansion. Wipe the tops with a paper towel and cover them with the lids and rings. Freeze the jars of oil. The frozen olive oil will keep for months in the freezer. When you need garlic oil, take a jar out of the freezer, remove the lid and ring, and microwave the frozen jar for a couple of minutes. I heat the oil just enough to pour off what I need, then I store the rest in the fridge. If I know I’m not going the use the rest of the oil within the week, I put it back in the freezer so that I don’t waste anything.
Mash the cooked garlic and store it in another glass jar for friends or family who can eat garlic. It makes a delicious roasted garlic purée.