Need to refrigerate vinaigrette?
I've made a red-wine vinaigrette dressing using olive oil (which makes up the majority of the dressing), red wine, garlic, and basil.
My problem is that whenever I take it out of the refrigerator, especially when it gets low, the olive-oil leaves it practically solid. I understand that this is normal for olive oil, but it is rather annoying having to get it out 30 minutes before I make a salad or a sandwich (as I don't normally have that kind of time).
My question is, since everything in there but the garlic doesn't need to be refrigerated, is it safe to leave it out of the fridge and let it stand at room temperature? Or is it like all other (store-bought) dressing where after opening (mixing) it requires refrigeration?
you should not be using raw garlic in a vinaigrette which you intend to keep. garlic carries botulinum spores, which propagate in anaerobic environments--i.e., when submerged in oil.
Yeah I should point out that it's not /raw/ garlic, it's pre-prepped, minced garlic from a jar. Is that still a problem though?
Garlic from a jar, I believe, is blanched to remove any chance of botulinum. It should, however, be kept refrigerated.
Yes, you should refrigerate it.
Once a commercially bottled dressing is exposed to the air it is contaminated. Your homemade dressing is no different, and is likely more contaminated to begin with. The bottom line is that your dressing is food -- for humans, bacteria, and mold. It might not be the most hospitable of environments, but something is bound to find a home there. This process is arrested by refrigeration. Additionally, the garlic and basil will be going through a decay process that would be delayed by refrigeration.
I'm not sure what kind of olive oil you used, but I've never had a vinaigrette turn solid in the refrigerator. If you're in a rush I'd suggest submerging, or running hot water over the bottle you store it in to quickly thaw it. You'll shorten the shelf life, but if you're using it frequently enough (used all in less than a month) that shouldn't matter.
I use extra-virgin olive oil (doubt the brand matters), and I go through about a bottle of this dressing a week so the shelf life isn't a problem. Thanks!
This is a largely incorrect answer, hobodave. If the vinaigrette is made solely from ingredients which do not need to be refrigerated, mixing them together isn't going to suddenly and magically require refrigeration. Modulo my point above regarding garlic and botulism, if the vinaigrette is solely made of non-refrigerated ingredients it does not need to be chilled. Further, olive oil does go solid at refigerator temperatures, so it is unsurprising that a vinaigrette will get thicker or solidify.
@daniel: It's not magic. White flour doesn't require refrigeration. Neither does water. Mix them together. Now it'll spoil (or become a sourdough starter).
Oil and vinegar are rather different than flour and water, which is why, you'll note, I was rather specific in the words I used.
Neither vinegar nor oil will grow bacteria, but together somehow they can? I don't buy it. "I've never had a vinaigrette turn solid in the refrigerator" -- you shouldn't be surprised in the least to find that olive oil gets sludgy when refrigerated. Maybe it isn't solid, but it sure doesn't flow easily. It's like molasses when refrigerated. -1.