You can use infused oil to make ointments, salves or even use it directly as a potent herbal medicine. You’ll need a base oil to absorb the properties of the herbs/plants you’ll be infusing. You can use any base oil such as olive oil, safflower oil or almond oil. Olive oil is recommended to make infused oil for use in herbal medicine.
Fresh herbs instead of dried should be used to make infused oil for use in herbal medicine. It’s best if you can use fresh herbs you just picked prior to infusing. The type of herb/plant you use to make infused oil depends on what you want to use it for.
Here is what you’ll need:
Herbs/spices (fresh herbs, if you use spices -either fresh or ground)
A clean, dry jar or bottle with airtight lid for infusing
Cheesecloth for straining
Wash the herbs and dry thoroughly. There should be no water on it at all. Coarsely chop your fresh herbs/spices. Fill the clean dry jar/bottle with your chopped herbs/spices.
Pour your oil over the chopped herbs/spices filling the jar/bottle to the top with oil. Put the lid on the jar/bottle and label with the date and type of herbs/spices used.
Put the jar/bottle of oil and herbs/spices in a cool, dark place where it will be out of the way as the oil needs to infuse for two weeks. After two weeks is up, taste. If not strong enough, add more fresh herbs/spices and let stand another week. If you choose ground spices, strain the oil through a cheesecloth before bottling it. You can leave the fresh herbs/spices in for decoration. If you do not strain the herbs/spices out, the flavor will become stronger as it stands, so keep that in mind. Store the infused oil at room temperature unless you used a monounsatured oil such as olive oil or peanut oil, then refrigerate. These are highly perishable and can turn rancid quickly.
If you want a quicker way to infuse your oil, then you can do a hot infusion. This method infuses the oil quickly, so you can use it soon after you’ve made it. By only heating half the oil initially, you won’t waste the whole lot if you accidentally burn it.
Put about half the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat it, stirring constantly, over medium heat, until the spices start to sizzle and the oil bubbles a bit. If you have a candy thermometer, heat the oil to 140° F.
Cook for about 5 minutes. The oil should be very aromatic at this point. Remove the pan from heat, transfer the oil and flavorings to a bowl, and allow to cool.
Taste the oil to make sure that it hasn’t burned, and that it tastes strongly of the spices and herbs. If it doesn’t, add more flavorings, and heat again.
Add the remaining plain oil to the flavored oil, strain through a cheesecloth if necessary.
Use your oil for salads, cooking or as a table condiment. You can also add garlic, but remove the garlic cloves after a couple of days so as to not overpower the flavor of the herbs. If you choose to leave the garlic cloves in the oil, be sure to refrigerate the oil to avoid the threat of botulism. You can also use your oil directly on wounds, scrapes, cuts or you can use the oil to make an herbal salve or poultice. Use the oils within two to six months unless you used olive oil, then use in one month.
– Herb Oil For Bread Recipe
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons finely chopped oregano or marjoram
In a glass or plastic bowl, combine the oil, basil, garlic, and oregano; cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours.
Serve with a fresh, crusty bread for dipping.
– Basil Oil Recipe
8 tablespoons basil leaves
2 1/2 cups virgin olive oil
Follow above infusion oil directions. Store for three weeks before using.
– Caramelized Garlic Olive Oil Recipe
6 heads fresh garlic
1 1/4 cup olive oil, divided use
1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional and if using for use on food)
Lay each garlic head on its side and cut off 1/4 inch from the bottom, or root end, exposing the garlic cloves. Remove as much of the paper covering as possible, leaving the head intact. Place the heads, exposed end down, in a single layer in an oven-proof dish and drizzle with 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Roast in a 375 degree F oven for 20 minutes, uncovered. Cover with aluminum foil and cook 10 to 15 minutes longer.
To remove the garlic, separate the cloves and squeeze out the garlic. Wrapped in foil, the garlic will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. It makes a wonderful spread for bread.
Combine the caramelized garlic with the remaining 1 cup olive oil and optional hot sauce (if using for food). Allow the oil to sit for at least 1 hour and it will have more flavor if it sits overnight.
– Cilantro Oil Recipe
2 cups Packed cilantro leaves
1 cup Light tasting olive oil
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the cilantro, making sure to push all the leaves under the boiling water. Blanch the cilantro for 5 seconds. Drain and immediately plunge into a bowl of ice water. Drain well and squeeze out all liquid.
In a blender, puree the cilantro with the olive oil. Strain the puree through 6 layers of cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter and put in a sterilized glass bottle, tightly capped. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
– Five Flavor Oil Recipe
1 1/3 cup Canola Oil or Corn Or Peanut Oil
1/2 cup Japanese Sesame Oil
3 large Scallions — Cut Into Thick Green And White Rings
10 Coins Ginger — Quarter-sized, Smashed
1 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
2 teaspoons Szechwan peppercorns
Combine all ingredients in a 1 – 1 1/2 quart heavy saucepan. Rest a deep-fry thermometer on the rim of the pot. Bring the mixture to a bubbly 225 F over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Let simmer for 15 minutes; don’t let the temperature rise. Put the pot aside and let stand until cool.
Strain the oil without pressing down on the solids. Store in an impeccably clean glass jar or plastic squeeze bottle at cool room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Note: A bit of cloudiness may develop in the bottom on the jar over time. Pay it no mind.
– Herb and Spice Oil Recipe
4 cups mild olive, safflower, or grapeseed oil
1 cup packed rosemary, basil, sage, thyme, marjoram, oregano or tarragon (or a combination)
1 small handful chopped garlic, dried chili peppers, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, coriander seeds, or peppercorns (or a combination)
Place the oil and the herbs and spice in the insert of the slow cooker. Cook on low, uncovered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, and then turn the cooker off.
Allow the oil to cool for about 20 minutes, and then pour it through a strainer lined with cheesecloth or a clean paper towel or paper coffee filter into a metal bowl. When the oil is completely cool, transfer it to a clean glass jar, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 month; after that the flavor may fade.
The oil may cloud under refrigeration, but it will become clear again at room temperature.
I will add more infused oil recipes off & on, so come back regularly to see the additions!
I found an EXCELLENT place to buy organic herbs and spices here at Mountain Rose Herb.