Oil infusions sound exotic and complicated but they are surprisingly easy to make. An infusion is simply a way of capturing the oil soluble components of plant material in a suitable oil base. You can then use the concoction for culinary or topical applications.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the classic base for herbs like rosemary and basil, but you can also use Sunflower Oil (cold pressed of course) or Avocado Oil. Oregano, thyme, mint, marjoram and tarragon are other good herbs to try. There are a number of ways of infusing but this one is the least complicated and you get to taste the oil sooner. The recipe calls for dried herbs to avoid the potential risk of botulism forming from the water in fresh herbs. You will notice there are no exact measurements here so just use your noggin. It’s best to use small quantities that you will use up fairly quickly.
What you need:
- A completely sterile, dry jar
- A handful or two of good quality dried herbs
- Oil of your choice
- Pot with some water in it to be used as a double boiler
What you do:
- Pop herbs into the jar and cover with oil
- Put a lid on the jar
- Put jar into the pot of water and simmer very gently for an hour or longer, checking the water level frequently. Low heat and a longer time will yield a better quality infusion than high heat over a shorter time.
- Remove allow to cool slightly before straining the plant material out
- Decant into clean bottle
- Cool completely
- Label with the date and ingredients and refrigerate
- Use within a month
Try your infusion in salads, marinades, roasts and over vegetables.
See also Infused Medicinal Oils