Herb infused oils are a fantastic way to add extra flavor to dishes such as pasta, stir fry, salad dressings, marinades and dips. They are also incredibly easy to make, there are hundreds of different variations, and they make wonderful gifts.
Make sure you use only dried herbs in your oils since the water content in fresh herbs can cause botulism.
Organic oils: Olive, Macadamia Nut, Sesame, or other culinary oil of your choice.
Organic herbs: Allspice, Anise, Basil, Cardamom, Cayenne, Celery seeds, Chili peppers, Chives, Chive blossoms, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander, Cumin, Dill, Garlic, Ginger root, Lemon Verbena, Marjoram, Mustard seeds, Onion, Orange peel, Oregano, Parsley, Peppercorns, Rosemary, Tarragon or Thyme.
Choose the best ingredients you can find or afford. Using good quality olive oil, fresh herbs, and organic ingredients will give you a cleaner and stronger flavor in your finished olive oil.
Wash all the ingredients going into your oil and let them dry as much as possible – preferably overnight. Bacteria can’t grow in the olive oil itself, but it can grow in the water left on the ingredients going into the oil.
Start by sanitizing a glass bottle or jar (see instructions below) and allow to air-dry completely. Just one drop of water can cause your oil to go rancid quickly.
There are two methods that can be used to infuse the oil: cool or hot.
For a cool preparation, fill sterilized bottles ¼ of the way with dried organic herbs or spices and then top with oil.
Let it sit in a cool, dark place for 1-2 weeks before using it. The oil will slowly infuse over this time. Do a taste test every so often so see how it’s coming along. Strain out the solids and re-bottle the oil once the flavor is to your liking.
For a hot preparation, heat the oil to 180 degrees, turn off the heat, and add spices or herbs while the oil is still hot. Once cool, the herbs can either be strained out or left in the oil for a stronger flavor. When finished, pour the infused oil into sterilized bottles or jars.
This method makes the oil infuse more quickly and reduces some of the risk of bacteria growth, but it can also affect the flavor and quality of the olive oil.
Dried herbs and spices can be added before sealing to make the bottle more attractive and to further enhance the flavor. Label with the ingredients and date. Store infused oils in the refrigerator once ready and be sure to use within 1-3 months.
Here are a few infused oil recipes to help inspire!
Sanitizing glass containers: Wash bottles or jars thoroughly in warm, soapy water. Place glass containers in a pot of hot water, bring to a boil, and gently boil for 10 minutes. Remove from boiling water and place inverted jars on a clean towel to dry.
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