Debra Lynn Dadd

Salad dressing safety


I was going to start making my own salad dressing to be more healthy and use less artificial ingredients. However I read homemade dressings can lead to botulism? I am confused on what is safe to mix and for how long- I really donít know anything about botulism. Why is it that store bought dressings if homemade are not safe? Are dressing mixes such as good seasonings or hidden valley safe? How long do dressings (homemade, store bought, and seasoning mix ones) last safely?

POSTED BY LM :: FLORIDA USA :: 05/23/2008 4:02 PM


I say, great idea to make your own salad dressings! In fact, check out my salad dressing recipes at Sweet Savvy: Condiments: Salad Dressing.

Now, about botulism, it would be highly unlikely that any salad dressing that contained an acid--such as lemon or vinegar--would cause botulism, because the acid prevents the growth of bacteria. There have been cases of unrefrigerated garlic-infused oil causing botulism, but in this case, the oil did not contain an acid.

Another problem can be mayonnaise-based dressings if they are not refrigerated. This happens when something like potato salad with mayonnaise is taken on a picnic and left out in the sun, or a mayo-based dressing is carried to lunch and left unrefrigerated.

There is no problem with making your own homemade salad dressing if you store it in the refrigerator. Personally, I make my salad dressing fresh for each salad. It only takes a few minutes and that eliminates any storage problems.

I love making salad dressing because there are so many flavors to use to make salad vegetables interesting and tasty.

So go ahead and make salad dressing with confidence!

Debra :-)


I can't even imagine that a homemade salad dressing would cause botulism. In fact, I don't even think it is possible. Botulism is an anaerobic organism that grows in a no oxygen environment. That would mean vacuum sealed canned food. Mostly home canning, although commercial canning has been known to contain the botulism toxin. Never eat any canned food that is bulging. And never, ever taste food. Just one taste from your finger can kill you.

What normally occurs in mayonnaise/picnic/unrefrigerated foods is Staph. The warm, moist environment is very conducive to organism growth. In an otherwise healthy person it is not deadly like botulism. You may feel like you are going to die, however :-)

I love home made salad dressing. It tastes sooooo much better!

POSTED BY KAREN, RN :: AZ USA :: 06/02/2008 1:12 PM

If you put raw garlic or ginger in your homemade salad dressing you HAVE to refrigerate it!

Then let it set out for about 15 min. before using it so the olive oil can liquiefy again.

We have made homemade salad dressing, right into the large wooden salad bowl every night for over 30 years, my 19 son and 21 year old daughter make it in their apartments now. My daughter even made it in her dorm room at college for two years because she hated the dressing (and all the food) offered in the dorm cafeteria! Needless to say her dorm room always smelled like fresh garlic and balsamic vinegar and her friends thought she was nuts until they tasted her salads!

It takes about 1 minute to make dressing this way and the taste is like nothing you can ever get in a bottle! You can alter the ingredients nightly from vinegar to lemon, different types of vinegar (cherry, raspberry, balsamic), garlic, no garlic and so on.

It is well worth the effort.


COMMENT FROM DEBRA: I do this too. For those who are not familiar with the method, in a wooden salad bowl, put one peeled clove of garlic in the bottom of the bowl, then mash it with the tines of a fork. If you add a little salt, you will get a finer mash. Then add the vinegar and oil, and mustard is good too, and stir it around. That's it. Quick and easy. Then put your salad on top and toss. There's nothing to refrigerate and no jar to wash.

POSTED BY JUDY :: MICHIGAN USA :: 06/02/2008 1:22 PM

I also make my own dressings and you can get as fancy as you want and I keep mine a week to 10 days in the fridge....but as Debra says you don't have to make a lot as they are easy.

In a pinch, I have found that salt, pepper and a little olive oil and a Balsamic Vinegar (it is a little sweet)right on the salad makes a tasty dressing.

Basically, salad dressings are oil and vinegar with seasonings (mayo is but there is egg to thicken and the oil is poured in slowly as it is whipped so it all stays together.) Other dressings use tomato or other seasonings....but the base is still oil (use extra virgin olive or another good oil) and vinegar and seasonings (salt, pepper, sweet something, herbs, etc.)

POSTED BY JULIE :: IN USA :: 06/02/2008 1:53 PM


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