Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Homemade Garlic Olive Oil

While my husband and I were in Temecula Valley wine country in California earlier this year, we were in a winery that had a bottle of extreme garlic olive oil.  It looked amazing. Amazing. However, it cost about $28 or more...for 12 oz.  I couldn't bring myself to buy it.  We bought a few bottles of wine from that winery, and 2 of them were truly gorgeous clear glass bottles.  So, my mission began.  I was determined to make my own olive oil and fill these bottles.  My first one was successful, my second was not, and I began scouring the internet for what to do and what not to do. 

Dawn's Homemade Garlic Olive Oil
3-5 heads of garlic
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1-2 C white vinegar
25 oz. bottle of light olive oil
Completely dry bottle for dispensing the oil.  (Do not use a paper towel to dry it out, because it can introduce bacteria.  Let it air dry completely.)
First, put 3-5 heads of garlic in white vinegar in an air tight container, and place it in the fridge over night.

Remove the heads of garlic and peel the cloves being careful not to introduce any water to them.  Yes, they will wreak of vinegar, but resist the temptation to rinse them.  Water can cause bacteria to grow which is why we soaked them in vinegar to begin with.  It will not compromise the flavor of your oil. 
Smash the garlic cloves with something flat (large knife blade will work.)
Coarsely chop the garlic.
Take 1/2 teaspoon of peppercorns and grind them.
Add the ground peppercorns and whole peppercorns to the garlic and light (not extra virgin) olive oil over medium low heat on the stove. The light olive oil can withstand higher cooking temperatures than extra virgin olive oil without ruining the oil or the food that you are cooking.  Many times, people use extra virgin olive oil not realizing that high temperatures actually change the properties of the oil and destroy some of the health benefits that it was chosen for in the first place.  In the end, you'll be much more willing to reach for this less expensive option and use it liberally as you begin to enjoy the wonderful flavors and cooking benefits it will offer.
Allow the mixture to cool only slightly before using a funnel to pour it into the oil dispenser of your choosing. I use the "fat" end of a chopstick to push the garlic bits through the funnel.
**I highly recommend having another set of hands to help you with this particular step. One to hold the bottle, one to hold the funnel (slightly up to allow air to flow freely), and one to hold the pan. The 4th may be required to gently scoop the garlic.**
Carefully seal the bottle, and clean the outside without getting water inside.
When you first seal it, the oil will look foggy.  That will clarify over time.  Yes, it's better to store this in the refrigerator, but I haven't had a problem using mine in a month's time, and it hasn't "gone bad" in that time.  I keep it right by the stove where it's in arm's reach!
As it begins to run low, you can heat some more light olive oil and add it directly to the bottle.  I usually add a tablespoon or two of prepared (jarred) minced garlic when I add to my existing bottle to keep the flavors full.  I only add to it once or twice before discarding the garlic and starting again from scratch.
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