Newsflash: Garlic infused oil is low FODMAP. Garlic lovers, you can celebrate now as this secret ingredient can help you reclaim that garlic flavour with out upsetting your belly.
BUT how? I know. It’s confusing right? Most of you probably know that garlic is high FODMAP. That means you can’t cook with garlic cloves, crushed/pureed garlic or garlic powder while in the first phase of the low FODMAP diet. So how on earth is garlic infused oil low FODMAP?
I’m here to unravel the mystery for you so you can eat with confidence. Plus garlic infused oil is just so darn delicious that it should be a staple in your low FODMAP pantry. Let’s take a quick look at the science.
What’s in garlic that makes it high FODMAP?
Garlic contains a type of prebiotic fibre call fructans, which provides food for our healthy gut bugs (1, 2). These fructans are also a type of FODMAP that fall under ‘O’ for oligosaccharides in the FODMAP acronym (1, 2).
When our gut bacteria feast on the fructans, they rapidly ferment them which creates gas. Fructans also draw in water as they move through our small intestine. When these two effects combine it can lead to unpleasant gut symptoms like bloating, distension, gas, abdominal pain and altered bowel movements (3).
Does that mean garlic is bad for you?
Absolutely not! Garlic isn’t bad for you it’s just that the fructans in it can trigger gut symptoms in some people. When you go through your FODMAP challenges you will find out if you can tolerate garlic and how much you can eat while keeping your symptoms under control.
So if garlic’s high FODMAP, then why is garlic infused oil low FODMAP?
Great question! Fun fact about FODMAPs is they are only water soluble not oil soluble (1).
If you put cloves of garlic in your soup, risotto or anything that has a water based liquid like stock, then the fructans will escape (leach) out of the garlic and into your meal, increasing the FODMAP content of the entire meal even if you don’t eat the actual garlic cloves .
HOWEVER, if you fry garlic in oil or infuse oil with garlic, you get all of the garlic flavour but none of the FODMAPs, as the fructans can’t escape into the fat in the oil (1). This means garlic infused oil contains all of that awesome garlic flavour but is low FODMAP (4).
Can I make my own garlic infused oil?
Yes. Here’s some quick tips on how to make garlic infused oil on the go:
- Peel your garlic cloves and leave them whole.
- Heat your olive oil or cooking oil over medium heat.
- Fry until fragrant (2 to 3 minutes).
- Once the cloves are golden brown, remove them from the pan BEFORE you add any other ingredients. Then continue cooking your meal.
- Use immediately.
If you have a family member who is really missing garlic, then you can finely chop the cooked garlic and add a little bit to their meal. Just don’t add it to your own meal until you have completed your fructan garlic challenge.
Can you batch cook garlic infused oil?
You can batch cook your own garlic infused oil at home, but you need to be careful how you store it to reduce the risk of botulism (5).
Here’s how you do it:
2 cups of cooking oil (you can use your oil of choice – eg olive oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil, rice bran)
8 cloves of garlic (peeled and cut in half)
- Sterilise a glass gar or container with boiling water, allow to air dry and set aside. You’ll use this to store the oil.
- Peel the garlic and halve the garlic cloves.
- Heat the oil over low heat, until it is warm but not too hot to touch. You don’t want to over heat the oil as this will degrade the oil and change the flavour.
- Turn off the heat and add the garlic cloves. Allow the oil to infuse for 2 hours.
- Strain the oil into the clean jar. Make sure you remove all of the garlic pieces!
- Use within 3 days (to avoid risk of botulism) or freeze in 1 to 2 tablespoon serves and use within 3 months (6).
Where do commercial garlic infused oils fit?
There are some lovely commercial garlic infused oils that have been certified as low FODMAP by Monash University or FODMAP Friendly. We find that a bottle of commercial garlic infused oil lasts us months in our test kitchen so they are worth the investment.
Here are a few options:
New Zealand: Cobram Estate Garlic Infused Oil (available at Countdown)
Australia: Cobram Estate Garlic Infused Oil
USA/Canada/UK: Fody Extra Virgin Olive Oil Garlic Infused (order online if you struggle to find it)
Look for the blue Monash FODMAP logo or green FODMAP Friendly logo on these products.
What about garlic infused oil brands that are not on this list?
Garlic infused oils can be made in many different ways which could alter the FODMAP content of the oil. We recommend choosing a clear garlic infused oil that doesn’t contain any visible pieces of garlic, that way you can’t accidentally eat a tiny piece of garlic.
Then try a 1 tablespoon serve. Don’t be afraid to explore different brands until you find one that works for you.
How do I use garlic infused oil when adapting recipes?
Adapting your favourite recipes can help make the low FODMAP diet fun and easy. Here are the guidelines we use when swapping in garlic infused oil.
Swap 1 – 2 cloves of garlic for 1 tablespoon garlic infused oil. We normally replace the general cooking oil in the dish with the infused oil. The heat from cooking will break down the flavour of the oil a little bit so taste the cooked dish and add an extra drizzle at the end if needed.
Do you want to radically improve your gut symptoms?
No thanks, my gut is perfect.
Raw dishes might be something like garlic aioli.
Replace the garlic with a couple of drops of garlic infused oil, taste and then continue adding more to taste. Garlic infused oil can be potent so it is best to start with a little and build your flavour from there.
If you need some foodie inspiration then check out our low FODMAP garlic bread.
Are there any other options for replacing garlic?
Yes! If you don’t want to use garlic infused oil then try using:
- Garlic chives
- Asafoetida powder
- Free Fod Low FODMAP Garlic Replacer
Garlic infused oil is low FODMAP and it is a delicious way to recapture that garlic flavour while on the low FODMAP diet. You can either make your own or grab a bottle of garlic infused oil at your supermarket. Let us know how you like to use garlic infused oil in the comments!
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