oil/balsalmic need refrigeration?

indy452June 10, 2014

Do I need to refrigerate home made vinaigrette? I only add dried herbs, olive oil and balsamic with some salt and pepper but not sure if it should be refrigerated or left out on the counter?

I've done both in the past but just wanted to know what other people do...

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I refrigerate always. I most often add some fresh herbs or a garlic clove...sometimes citrus or chopped cherry toms...so just a habit to keep it cold and save from deterioration. (but i also have limited counter space and like it clear for the next cooking project)

I would think dried herbs could start to loose freshness pretty quickly/even mold once in a moist environment...fine for the day left out but i would fridge it.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 10:28AM
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Dried herbs can be contaminated with bacteria, as well as garlic (although it wasn't used in the vinaigrette), which is why many herbs/spices are processed with irradiation, although it doesn't have to indicate on the label "treated with radiation" or "treated with irradiation."

Many dried herbs are imported without being treated, and there has been some recent news about contamination. It's not a problem until it's in the right environment, and I see the potential low to grow into a toxin, but the possibility increases when kept at room temperature in an oil/vinegar mixture. I'd refrigerate it.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 12:07PM
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I figured the vinegar would keep the bacteria at bay but maybe not..


    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 2:23PM
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The oil doesn't stay in suspension, but rests on top and the pH is entirely different than the acid/sugar mixture, and that is a place for potential bacteria spores to grow under the right conditions.

It's like foil-wrapped baked potatoes. The bacteria (Clostridium botulinum, the bacterium whose toxin causes botulism) is found in the soil and is on the skin of the potato, and the perfect environment to foster bacteria growth into a toxin when it's left at room temperature.

"A foil-wrapped potato holds in moisture, sometimes preventing its surface from reaching a high enough temperature to kill spores. Paradoxically, the heat kills off competing bacteria, making it easier for C. botulinum to grow. Moreover, at room temperature, foil-wrapped potatoes provide the oxygen-free environment needed for toxins to form."

I think a similar thing is possible (albeit highly unlikely) with the layer of olive oil between the oil and the next layer. I'd just rather err on the side of food safety as a person who has endured a bout of food poisoning and has taken a series of food safety classes.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 6:01PM
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I always refrigerate it, but I pretty much always add fresh garlic to mine, and I generally add fresh herbs instead of dried because I always have them in my yard, although basil I only have about six months of the year. Oregano and thyme I always have, and I have tons of rosemary but never use it - I grow it as an ornamental.

I like my vinaigrette to be cold!


    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 6:04PM
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