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Mojo De Ajo

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    Posted: 17 May 2010 at 04:47
Here's all you need!
 
4 Garlic Bulbs

2 Limes

2 Cups Olive oil

1 or 2 TBSP Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

 

This weekend, I was watching a cooking show on television and the guy was making Mojo de Ajo, a Mexican condiment that is universal in its applications and reminded me of so many applications to which it is perfectly suited-  roasted chicken, barbecued cabrito baste, a drizzle on grilled steaks, ingredient in salad dressing…so many wonderful ways to use it. I had to make some!

 

Easy as pie, everything is already in the hacienda. Peeled 4 bulbs of garlic, then put them in a casserole dish and added 2 cups olive oil. Then it was into the oven at 300 F for about 45 minutes until the garlic was soft and the oil has been infused with its magical flavor.

 
Then, using a potato masher, I mashed out the softened garlic cloves as well as i could, then added the juice of 2 fresh limes. Finally, I sprinkled one or two tablespoons of dried red pepper flakes on top. The heat of them dissipated with the next round of cooking….
 
After another 15 or so minutes of cooking in the oven at the same temprature, the mojo de ajo was ready and looking great. The hot oil and garlic and flakes had melded together, toning each other down and creating a superb blend of intense, sensual flavours.
 

I pulled the mojo out of the oven and stirred with a fork, then I let it cool down.; we really enjoyed the luscious scent that it gave off and filled the kitchen. It’s all good, healthy stuff.

 

Once cooled, simply put it into a jar or tight container; it will keep for a many weeks in the fridge, though it may make the oil cloudy- no worries. It can also keep in a dark cupboard. Remember that the garlic has given off sugars, so be aware that unrefrigerated, it may eventually begin to form a mold. If you want to extend the shelf life, add some salt to the jar and mix well prior to putting up.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2010 at 07:03
that sounds great, and it's easy to see how versatile it can be!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 May 2010 at 03:16
I'd sit down with that and a loaf of bread...until it was gone!
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 July 2010 at 11:49
john - i made this just a few minutes ago, using a teaspoon of sea salt as a preservative. WOW, i can't believe the flavours and the aroma entailed in such a simple creation!
 
i've got it cooling now in a quart-sized mason jar and then will keep it for use as a flavouring and/or baste for just about anything. dipped a little bread into the "crusties" on the side of the baking dish and was very impressed!
 
highly recommended!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 July 2010 at 17:45
Ron, you have just entered a whole new world of flavor! Isn't your kitchen smelling great? This stuff is perfect for anyplace you need a bit of olive oil, including scrambling some eggs. I used some on the poulet with 40 garlics the other night and it made it even better. Try it with some fresh tomatoes and make a bruschetta.....your family will love it!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 July 2010 at 19:17
Oh BOY, that sounds great!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 December 2010 at 06:17
Just thought I would add a note on safely storing garlic in oil.

Storing Garlic in Oil - Warning! - Not Safe.

It's important to keep food safety in mind when storing garlic in oil. Low-acid foods like garlic can be a source of Clostridium botulinum bacteria which are found in soil, water, and air. Oil's oxygen-free environment is perfect for growth of this anaerobic bacteria. Garlic in oil, therefore, must be stored correctly to prevent botulism food poisoning.

Commercial garlic-in-oil mixtures are acidified to prevent bacterial growth. These products can be stored safely at room temperature. Unfortunately, acidification of garlic in homemade oil mixtures can't be recommended because no research exists to support proper procedures. Different people recommend different methods and time to acidify and it is hard to know who is right. Instead, it's best to store these hazardous oils in the refrigerator, but for a limited time only. This conflicts with the desire for long term storage.

When raw garlic is stored in oil, Clostridium botulinum bacteria can grow. These mixtures must be refrigerated to slow bacterial growth. After 3 weeks of refrigeration, the increased number of bacteria will become a food safety hazard. Therefore, these mixtures should not be refrigerated longer than 3 weeks.

When garlic is immediately removed after flavoring oil, the bacteria will not have a "food source" for growth. The flavored oil can be stored safely at room temperature.

When vegetables or herbs are dried, water will not be available for bacterial growth. Therefore, DRIED vegetables or dried herbs (including garlic) in oil can be stored safely at room temperature. Note. Tomatoes are high in acid. Therefore, plain dried tomatoes in oil can be safely stored at room temperature.

Storage Recommendations: (According to Oregon State University Extension Service).

Raw or cooked garlic and/or herbs in oil:
These mixtures MUST be refrigerated. Do not store them longer than 3 weeks in the refrigerator. (Note. Raw garlic MAY be safely stored in vinegar at room temperature.)

Dried garlic and/or herbs in oil: If oil is seasoned with dried garlic and/or dried herbs, the mixture may be safely stored at room temperature. (Refrigeration may delay rancidity, however.)

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 December 2010 at 11:45
Thanks for posting that, Dave.  I knew that raw garlic in oil is a no no and was wondering about cooked and it sounds like one must be careful there as well. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 December 2010 at 15:35
Hey Dave, excellent post and thank you for sharing. This is good food safety that everyone should be aware of and follow. I can say that my mojo de ajo did not last 3 weeks at all! I did store it in the fridge, though.
 
Thank you Dave! Clap
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 December 2010 at 03:26
Originally posted by Rivet Rivet wrote:

Hey Dave, excellent post and thank you for sharing. This is good food safety that everyone should be aware of and follow. I can say that my mojo de ajo did not last 3 weeks at all! I did store it in the fridge, though.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 October 2013 at 12:40
Originally posted by Hoser Hoser wrote:

Just thought I would add a note on safely storing garlic in oil.

Storing Garlic in Oil - Warning! - Not Safe.

It's important to keep food safety in mind when storing garlic in oil. Low-acid foods like garlic can be a source of Clostridium botulinum bacteria which are found in soil, water, and air. Oil's oxygen-free environment is perfect for growth of this anaerobic bacteria. Garlic in oil, therefore, must be stored correctly to prevent botulism food poisoning.

Commercial garlic-in-oil mixtures are acidified to prevent bacterial growth. These products can be stored safely at room temperature. Unfortunately, acidification of garlic in homemade oil mixtures can't be recommended because no research exists to support proper procedures. Different people recommend different methods and time to acidify and it is hard to know who is right. Instead, it's best to store these hazardous oils in the refrigerator, but for a limited time only. This conflicts with the desire for long term storage.

When raw garlic is stored in oil, Clostridium botulinum bacteria can grow. These mixtures must be refrigerated to slow bacterial growth. After 3 weeks of refrigeration, the increased number of bacteria will become a food safety hazard. Therefore, these mixtures should not be refrigerated longer than 3 weeks.

When garlic is immediately removed after flavoring oil, the bacteria will not have a "food source" for growth. The flavored oil can be stored safely at room temperature.

When vegetables or herbs are dried, water will not be available for bacterial growth. Therefore, DRIED vegetables or dried herbs (including garlic) in oil can be stored safely at room temperature. Note. Tomatoes are high in acid. Therefore, plain dried tomatoes in oil can be safely stored at room temperature.

Storage Recommendations: (According to Oregon State University Extension Service).

Raw or cooked garlic and/or herbs in oil:
These mixtures MUST be refrigerated. Do not store them longer than 3 weeks in the refrigerator. (Note. Raw garlic MAY be safely stored in vinegar at room temperature.)

Dried garlic and/or herbs in oil: If oil is seasoned with dried garlic and/or dried herbs, the mixture may be safely stored at room temperature. (Refrigeration may delay rancidity, however.)

 
I got to thinking about this.... It says that tomatoes, which are naturally acidic, can be stored in oil with no food safety issues. Considering that, wouldn't the addition of the juice of 2 limes render the finished mojo de ajo at least as acidic, if not moreso?
 
I know that when I made mine, we probably ended up keeping it in the refrigerator for a well over a month before we used it all, and there were no problems at all with it; then again, I also added a little salt. It seems to me that adding that much lime juice would effectively make this a product that is safe for longer-term storage - especially if a little salt is included - but I am in no position to say for sure.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 October 2013 at 02:40
How acidic is acidic, Ron?

When pickling, 5% vinegar and water, in equal amounts, provides a safe environment. So that would mean a 2.5% acidity level. 

How do you measure that at home?

Another part of the equation: All the above refers to raw garlic in oil. But this mixture has been heated to 300F for an hour. Boutulism spores, if present, are destroyed at 240F. Open question: How hot has the oil become, and for how long? If it's reached 240F, and been held there for 40 minutes, than any boutulism has been killed.

All of which points out that food safety is not quite as cut and dried as USDA would have us believe. 

One final note: If you strain the oil, removing all the garlic solids, then there is, according to all the literature I've read, no danger at all. The garlic-flavored oil can then be stored safely in or out of the fridge. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 October 2013 at 09:30
That makes sense, Brook - I think that perhaps the botulism worries (even with cooked garlic) might stem from what could possibly be in the container, unless it is sterilised. I might also try the straining idea, which makes good sense and would eliminate the problem. No matter how you slice it, though - this really is some good stuff, and is a great thing to have around in the kitchen.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MarkR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 October 2013 at 11:50
The recipe does include the juice of two limes. Limes are more acidic than tomatoes.But I guess to be safe you have to test the PH.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 October 2013 at 12:31
Quote I guess to be safe you have to test the PH.
 
Agreed, Mark - but for myself, I'm not that dedicated....between the salt, the limes, the cooking and the refrigeration (and also the idea of straining it), I'll call it good! Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MarkR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 October 2013 at 13:10
Originally posted by TasunkaWitko TasunkaWitko wrote:

Quote I guess to be safe you have to test the PH.
 
Agreed, Mark - but for myself, I'm not that dedicated....between the salt, the limes, the cooking and the refrigeration (and also the idea of straining it), I'll call it good! Thumbs Up

If you refrigerate, there is no issue.   ??
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