Making Herb Infused Oil
It’s super easy to put up a big batch of delicious herb infused olive oil. You can use it to cook with or just drizzle it over roasted vegetables, grilled meat. It’s fabulous with fresh bread, like my Homemade Rustic Loaf and it can be a wonderful addition to vinaigrette.
What You’ll Need:
- Fresh herbs – homegrown is ideal but not a requirement. If you’re harvesting at home, do it first thing in the day if possible. The oils will be most concentrated, so the flavor will be best. Reminder: If you’re in Louisville, KY, you can buy fresh herbs from my Market Garden!
- Olive oil or another oil of your choosing. I love the flavor of olive oil and herbs but you could use vegetable oil, like canola, for a more neutral flavor
- A sauce pan
- silicone ice cube trays
FIRST – If the herbs have visible dirt on them, gently wash them and allow them to dry. Rosemary, thyme and sage are all great choices for oil infusions, but you can use nearly any herb you enjoy. This is a highly customizable idea. I use at least 1/2 cup of fresh herbs per cup of oil. Feel free to experiment to find the perfect combination for you. If you enjoy garlic, you can add a clove or two to the oil as well.
SECOND- Put the oil into a pan and warm over very low heat. I generally do at least two cups of oil per batch. The oil should become warm but should not boil or sizzle.
THIRD – Gently smack the herbs or lightly press them. This bruises the tissue and helps extract the oils. Just a very gentle mangling is all that’s needed here.
FOURTH- Add the herbs to the warmed oil, ensuring most of the herbs are submerged. Allow to simmer for at least an hour. The heat must be very low, the herbs should not cook. The longer the herbs are the in the oil, the stronger the flavor. After one hour, check the flavor. If you want a stronger infusion, either continue to simmer or turn off the heat and let the herbs soak for several more hours until desired flavor is reached.
Finishing and storing infused oil
FIFTH – Once you’re happy with the flavor, let the oil cool and pour through a fine strainer. Discard herbs. Your oil is ready to use. It can be stored in a jar or bottle out of direct light. I prefer to pour my oil into these silicone ice cube trays and freeze it. The frozen oil keeps almost forever (I’ve never had a batch last long enough to go bad!) and it thaws into liquid form quickly.
Note: It is not safe to leave fresh herbs in the oil indefinitely, so be sure to strain and remove them completely before storing. If you prefer to keep herbs in the oil, I suggest freezing the oil and herbs in cube trays. That will prevent spoilage or botulism, both of which can happen if herbs are stored in oil without temperature control.
Got more herbs than you can use up? See What To Do With Extra Herbs for more ideas.