A few years back, I received a jar of herb-infused oil as a gift and it left an impression on me. It was not an expensive gift but what I love was that how something as simple as fresh herbs can be turned into a lovely gift. If you have more fresh herbs than you need for cooking, consider using them for infused oil. Let’s find out more about herb infused oil and how to make your own. It will be an enjoyable process for sure.
What is Herb Infused Oil
Herb infused oil is simply infusing a carrier oil with herbs.
Used in cooking, it is a flavorsome addition to many types of dishes. Simply drizzle over pasta or vegetables. It is also a delicious and healthy addition to salad dressings and marinades.
You may find and buy the herb infused oils for culinary purposes at high-end grocery stores but they can be pricey. Furthermore, it is often processed and may have been sitting on the shelf for some time.
Why not make your own? If you are often left with more fresh herbs than you need, use them. Waste not.
For now, let’s find out
How to Make Herb Infused Oil
There are few things to take into consideration when making herb oil.
Choose your herbs
Fresh or dried herbs can be used to make infused oil.
Using good quality dried herbs produce stronger flavored oil. They also have a longer shelf life that can be kept up to one month.
Infused oil made with fresh herbs have a purer flavor and give the oil a lively color. It is important that the fresh herbs are washed and dried thoroughly before the infusing process. Traces of water or moisture will cause bacteria to grow, contributing to the spoilage. It is best (on the safe side) to consume the fresh herb infused oil within a week.
With some knowledge of the herbs health benefits, it helps which to choose.
- Basil – ability to increase blood circulation which helps to stimulate hair growth. Its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties make a great face cleansing agent.
For culinary use, basil infused oil is delicious on salad or drizzle over crusty bread. Also, use it as marinade, condiments or substitute for herbs when cooking.
- Peppermint – great for massaging into occasional sore muscles. Also, for easing headaches and prevent dental problems.
Peppermint infused olive oil can be whisked into a vinaigrette or drizzled on steamed vegetables.
- Rosemary – like basil, it boosts blood circulation and stimulates hair growth. Its anti-inflammatory properties help treat headaches, relieve pain and occasional sore muscles.
Rosemary infused oil adds amazing flavour to dishes. Drizzle over pasta, use as a dipping sauce, in marinades and salad dressings.
- Thyme – promote skin health. It works as a home remedy for acne, heal sore and wounds. With its antioxidant properties, it is the perfect eczema treatment.
For culinary purposes, drizzle thyme-infused oil over roasted vegetables, grilled meats or seafood.
Other herbs to try are cilantro, oregano, parsley, dill and tarragon.
How about infusing oil with spices
Whole or ground spices can be used. If using ground, it is better to buy spices whole and grind at home for the most pungent flavour. A coffee grinder can do the job well.
Click here to check out an affordable and practical spice grinder to make your task easier.
Choose your oil
There isn’t a need to use expensive oil because the purpose of infusing the oil with herbs is to add flavor to it. Using a stronger or more pungent oil will affect, overpower the delicate flavor of the final product.
Olive oil is the natural choice because it is readily available in our kitchen. Apart from being a good cooking aid, it is loaded with health benefits. It contains a large number of antioxidants and has strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Depending on what we use the infused oil for, there are many choices to choose from.
- Almond oil – good for dry, mature and sensitive skin.
- Coconut oil – has strong disinfectant and antimicrobial properties.
- Grapeseed oil – easily absorbed and gentle on skin.
- Palm oil – useful in shampoos, soaps and lotions as it benefits hair and skin.
- Sesame oil – has the warming and medicinal properties, often used as a moisturiser.
Choose your bottle
Find a bottle with a tight cover. Canning jars are good, so are bottles with a rubber stopper. As a gift, choose an elegant one.
Wash and dry the bottles thoroughly.
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Choose your method
There are 4 methods of preparation. Regardless of which, the important things to remember are
- When using fresh herbs, make sure that they are washed and dried thoroughly to prevent spoilage.
- Bruise herbs or grind spices to expose oils and flavors.
- Cover herbs completely with oil. Exposed herbs, if using fresh, will become mouldy. If using dried herbs, it is a waste not submerging it completely. Use a chopstick or something similar to push herbs under the oil.
- The heat will infuse oil but should not be too hot to the point of cooking or burning them.
These are the methods:
Heat the chosen herbs or spices and oil in a saucepan for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is lightly bubbling. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before straining. Bottle, label and store in a cool dark place.
Place herbs or spices and oil in an oven-safe bowl on a baking sheet and heat the mixture at the lowest temperature for about 2 hours. Remove mixture from the oven and leave to cool completely before straining. Bottle, label and store in a cool dark place.
Double boiler method
Place herbs or spices and oil in a double boiler and bring to a slow simmer. Slowly warm the mixture at the lowest temperature for a minimum of 1 hour or as long as 4 hours. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before straining. Bottle, label and store in a cool dark place.
The above methods are called warm infusions.
Let’s look at the
Cold infusion method
Fill the jar with herbs or spices and oil of your choice. Attach the lid firmly. Store it in a consistently warm place but not hot for 4 – 6 weeks. Check regularly for rancidity and mould. Strain, label and store in a cool dark place.
all in all
When choosing ingredients for infused oil, figure out how you intend to use it. I hope the information above will help you come up with the best selection.
Remember, when using fresh herbs, make sure they are washed and dried thoroughly. You do not want mould to spoil your herb infused oil prepared with love. This is to be consumed within a week.
If using dried herbs or spices, these can be kept for up to one month.
I suggest making small batches so that they can be used quickly before going rancid. If the infused oil has turned cloudy or the smell is off, discard immediately.
Also, label your mixture with the ingredients used, quantity and method so that you are able to save the recipe (if you like it, for future use) or adjust to perfection the next time. More important is the date to keep track of the shelf life.
Go ahead and try combining various herbs and spices to find your favorite flavored oil.
Last but not least, herb infused oil in an elegant bottle makes a lovely gift. For someone who loves to cook, he or she will be impressed and appreciate it.
Make some for mom! She will love them much.
You may want to check out some unique and useful kitchen gifts for mom who loves to cook ↓
That’s all about herb infused oil for now. It is now time for you to enjoy your project – Happy Infusing!
I love to know your homemade infused oil project. Share your experience with us in the comments section below.
No time to make your own – no worries, check this out
Mantova Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Pack of 4
The flavors are
A drizzle of this oil will certainly enhance the flavor of your home cook meals.
It makes a great gift too!
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