Ever read a recipe that calls for a “garlic-infused oil” or some such thing? Thought to yourself, “That would be way too expensive to buy! I’ll just use regular“? Have you ever tried something in a restaurant or cooked by a friend that had a little special something hiding in the other flavors? It may have been an infused oil! And guess what? They are so easy to make your own!
I had this idea originally because I had found some very pretty small glass jars at a garage sale. They were the perfect size for something you only use a little bit of at a time, or as gifts. This made them the perfect medium for experimenting with infusions!
An infusion simply means that an aromatic is soaked in oil long enough that some of the aromas and/or flavors of the additions are imparted into the oil. The beauty of this method is that you can use pretty much anything you enjoy the flavor of and want to taste in your oils!
You can choose to blend herbs with the oil, or simply put some into the bottle and let it sit. This makes a lovely presentation, and since these were meant as gifts, that is what I chose to do. I also had made my own vinegars, so a nice set of one oil and one vinegar will make for a great gift in the coming months!
- Oil to fill your container
- About 2 tbsp flavoring per 1/2 cup oil
Step 1: Whether using garlic, fresh herbs, citrus, ground spices, or citrus fruits, make sure your produce is as fresh as possible and washed and dried.
Step 2: Heat your oil and your flavorings for about 5 minutes, to just bubbling. This helps release the flavors and smells into the oil. Let cool completely
Step 3: Filter your oil, or don’t, and pour into your jars. If you do include more herbs for looks, be aware that it will likely cause the finished product to look cloudy. This is ok.
You can try pretty much any flavoring you can imagine, and can get creative with combinations too! Try citrus and rosemary, cilantro and lime, lemon and black pepper, or basil and garlic. For the very brave, try infusing hot pepper for a spicy oil to fry your chicken in.
These infusions can now be gifts to a foodie in your life, who will likely be very impressed with your kitchen DIY abilities. Or you can use them to cook with of course, or as dipping oils served with crusty breads. Swirl into homemade hummus, or drizzle some on top of quick vegan tomato soup.
Have fun with it, & good luck!