Low FODMAP garlic-infused oil is a great way to add garlic flavour to many dishes. One, one thing most of us agree on is that life without garlic is simply flavourless. Yet, that's just what the Elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet requires: no garlic (and no onion) due to the high amounts of oligos-fructans in both (click here for more information concerning FODMAPS and why they can disturb the digestive tract). So, does that mean that you need to avoid garlic forever if you have IBS? The good news is no! Garlic is only temporarily avoided during the elimination phase. In the challenge phase, you evaluate your personal tolerance level to garlic. If you find it doesn't have any effect on your digestive system you can safely keep enjoying it.
Get Your Garlic Fix Back!
What happens if during the challenge phase you find that garlic is and will remain off limit because your digestive tracks cannot handle the oligo-fructans it contains. Don't despair, there are a few ways to bring the garlic flavour back into your diet without having to put up with annoying IBS symptoms. One of the best and easiest ways to do so is garlic-infused oil. Garlic-infused oil is made by steeping garlic cloves in oil (olive oil, sunflower oil, etc.) in order to transfer the garlic flavour into the oil. In fact, both Monash University and the FODMAP Friendly Program tested garlic-infused oil and other infused oils and found that they are all low FODMAP.
Why is garlic high FODMAP but the infused oil isn't?
Since FODMAPs are carbohydrates, they are water-soluble. This means that whenever garlic comes in contact with water or water-containing foods, the problematic fructans leach into the dish. Lucky for us, FODMAPs are not oil-soluble but only water-soluble. This means that the fructans in the garlic don't leach into the oil. Therefore, garlic-infused oil is low FODMAP as long as all garlic pieces are removed from the oil before water or other foods (most contain water) are added to it. And just like that, garlic is back in your life without the nasty symptoms it provokes.
Can I Buy FODMAP friendly Garlic-Infused oil?
Garlic-infused oils are found in many grocery stores. However, are they all low FODMAP? The answer is, you can't know for sure. Some manufacturers do not adhere to the infusion process described above and watery content might have come in contact with the garlic. As a result, the fructans might leech into the oil and as a result trigger IBS symptoms. The only way to really know if a garlic-infused oil is low FODMAP is through testing. Therefore, if you have concerns regarding the garlic-infused oil in your store be sure to get hold of a FODMAP certified oil. Here are some certified garlic-oil options you can find online:
- Colavita Roasted Garlic Olive Oil (certified low FODMAP)
- Fody Foods Garlic-Infused Olive Oil (certified low FODMAP)
- La Tourangelle, Garlic Infused Sunflower Oil
How To Make Low FODMAP Garlic-Infused Oil
If it's hard to get hold of a certified garlic-infused oil or if you are looking for a more economic solution, the best way is to make your own. It's quick, hassle-free and can be made in batch for easy everyday use. All you need is oil and garlic cloves.
Oil: You can use any kind of vegetable oil to make garlic-infused oil. Think about what kind of oil your recipes mostly call for. Use extra virgin olive oil when using the infused oil for dressings or Italian dishes. Choose a more neutral oil such as sunflower, grapeseed or canola oil when the distinct olive flavour is not wished for.
Garlic: The recipe calls for 6-8 peeled large garlic cloves. However, the amount of garlic you use depends on how strong you like the infused-oil to be. Start with 6 large cloves, half them if you like a stronger flavour and see how you like it. If it's too weak, up the number of cloves next time.
Storage container: It's important that the finished garlic-infused oil is stored in a very clean, dry and uncontaminated container. That's why it's best to choose a glass storage container such as a glass bottle or jar. Wash the container of your choice with soap and rinse with boiling water. Dry thoroughly with a clean towel and set aside.
Warm the oil: In order to facilitate the infusion of the oil with the garlic flavour, the oil of your choosing needs gentle warming. Do so in a small pot (make sure the pan is clean and entirely dry) on low-medium heat. Make sure to only warm the oil until it is warm to the touch. Make sure not to overheat the oil as its flavor and integrity will degrade otherwise.
Infuse the oil: Once the oil is warm to the touch remove the pot from the heat and put the garlic cloves in. Let sit to infuse and cool for about 2 hours and then strain the oil and garlic into the clean glass bottle or jar. It is very important to make sure that no garlic pieces end up in the strained oil. In order to do so, use a fine wire-mesh strainer and line it with cheesecloth when straining.
That's it....easy, simple, garlic-infused oil.
How To Store Garlic-Infused Oil
As per the FDA's recommendation, the finished garlic-infused oil must be refrigerated in an airtight glass container and used within 3 days. If you exceed these timelines there is a risk of botulism growth.
When the garlic-infused oil is stored in the fridge it will turn cloudy and solidify to a certain extent. This is the case mainly with olive oil. Yes, this looks strange but totally normal. When intending to use the infused oil scoop out the desired amount and let it come to room temperature before using it in dressings or simply place it in the pan and warm it up when using in cooked recipes.
Store in freezer: In order to be able to make larger batches of garlic-infused oil, the finished oil can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. It's best to use up the oil within the first month though as its flavour might deteriorate after that. Try it out yourself and see how it tastes after storing it for more than 1 month.
Naturally, freezing garlic-infused oil requires the use of freezer-safe storage containers. What I like to do is to use small glass jars such as these mini mason ball jars. In this way, I can just let the oil defrost in the fridge overnight and use it up within 3 days. Another way I like to freeze store garlic-infused oil is in single 1tbsp portions. In order to do so, I fill a freezer tray with a 1tbsp portion of the infused oil per freezer mold and pop it in the freezer. I love to use these silicon bottom freezer molds as it's super easy to just pop out the amount of garlic-infused oil needed for cooking and stick the rest back into the freezer.
How to use garlic oil in cooking?
I use garlic-infused oil in most of the recipes that originally called for garlic. It's never an exact replacement. However, with a little bit of tasting and adjusting you will be able to bring just the right amount of garlic flavour back into your dishes.
Whenever I approach a recipe with garlic I omit the garlic. Then I substitute the amount of oil (cooking fat) on a one-to-one basis with garlic-infused oil. Since not all garlic-oils are of the same intense flavour, the outcome might not be as desired. This is why I always encourage people to taste the dish throughout the varying cooking stages and adjust as needed. If I want a strong garlicky flavour I usually add a splash of garlic-infused oil just before serving. Sometimes I also combine different garlic substitutes in order to really bring out the garlic flavour.
Low FODMAP Garlic-Infused Oil
- 500 ml extra virgin olive oil - or vegetable oils such as sunflower oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil, etc.
- 6-8 large cloves garlic
- Wash a glass bottle, jar or container with soap and rinse with boiling water. Dry thoroughly and set aside. The container will be used to store the garlic-infused oil.
- Warm your oil of choice in a small pot over low heat. Make sure you only heat to oil until it is just warm to the touch. Remove the pot from the heat.
- Add the garlic cloves to the warm oil and allow to sit for about 2 hours. If you would like for the garlic flavour to be more intense, half the garlic cloves before putting them into the oil.
- After the garlic has been sitting in the oil for 2 hours, strain the oil and garlic into the clean glass bottle or jar. It is very important to you make sure that no garlic pieces end up in the strained oil. In order to do so use a fine wire-mesh strainer and line it with a cheesecloth when straining.
- Close the glass blotte/jar and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 3 months. Don't exceed these timelines for food safety reasons. (see below for further information)
- You can use any kind of oil to make garlic-infused oil. Think about what kind of oil your recipes mostly call for. Use extra virgin olive oil when using the infused oil for dressings or Italian dishes. Choose a more neutral oil such as sunflower, grapeseed or canola oil when the distinct olive flavour is not wished for.
- When warming the oil it is important not to overheat the oil as its flavor and integrity will degrade otherwise
- The finished garlic-infused oil must be refrigerated in an airtight container and used within 3 days, per the FDA’s recommendation. If you exceed these timelines there is a risk of botulism growth.
- In order to be able to make larger batches of garlic-infused oil, the finished oil can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. It's best to use up the oil within the first month though as its flavour might deteriorate after that. Try it out yourself and see how it tastes after storing it for more than 1 month.