Herb Infused Olive Oil
I first learned how to infuse olive oil about 3 years ago, when Jeff and I were trying to figure out what to do with the remnants of our summer herb collection. The air was getting colder, and our summer soldiers were not going to last for very much longer. Incidentally, if you would like to know, rosemary does very well inside, provided it gets enough water and light. We always kept the curtains drawn at the Schilling place; because I’m always paranoid someone will want to break in if they see what great stuff we have. (That joke is so dry you’ll have to soak it up with some herb infused oil.) Moving on.
Wanting to keep the waste casualties as low as possible, and hoping to have some part of the Oil and Vinegar store without spending a ton of money, it just made sense to try to infuse some oil. This also makes a great Christmas present.
We use pure olive oil instead of Extra Virgin for infusing. Otherwise, you’re just complicating and ruining an already amazing flavor.
1. DO NOT INFUSE WITH GARLIC! There is a high chance that the garlic will spoil and cause botulism. We have never tried to infuse with garlic, as we are quite fond of our health.
2. Use the infused oil within 2 weeks, unless you are going to cook with the oil. This will insure that if there is anything growing, it will be killed when heated to 180 degrees. WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE IF YOU GET SICK.
3. Make small batches so you are able to use the oil in the allotted amount of time.
4. Do not leave the sprigs in the oil for decoration, unless you won’t be consuming it. Otherwise they will become moldy.
Now that you’ve been properly warned, see recipe below:
You will need a medium sized pot and a food thermometer
3 cups Pure Olive Oil (purchased at Costco for $18. It will last you a year. We use it for cooking as well as infusing.)
Two or Three Sprigs of Your favorite pungent herbs (We recommend rosemary or thyme because they are so strong.)
Add the three cups oil to the pot.
Bruise your herbs to release the flavors. To do this, crush them in your hand, breaking them, but don’t chop them. You will know if you successfully bruised the herbs if your hands smell strongly of them. You could also use the side of a knife to squish them, just don’t cut yourself.
Add them to the pot. Heat on medium until your food thermometer reads 180 degrees, careful not to burn the oil. Also, be careful not to burn yourself (you are working with hot oil after all).
You can use a spoon to smash the sprigs even more in the oil.
Once the oil has reached the optimal temperature, remove from the heat, and let it cool. I would say 45 minutes to an hour. My storage of choice is a mason jar. I think they look pretty, and the oil looks pretty in them. We’ve also picked up oil dispensers from the dollar store and Ross in the past, which we will be using today. Use a funnel to transfer the oil to the jar or dispenser when it is cool enough. We recommend using a small strainer if you have one to make sure you don’t get any little floaties. Just place a mini strainer on top of your funnel. You’ll notice in the interest of time, I didn’t do this. I also have a few little floaties in my oil.
You now have herb infused olive oil. Use for dipping breads, cooking, salad dressings, etc. Coincidentally, next week we will have a few homemade vinaigrette recipes for you! So stay tuned. Until then, have a great week, SPFers! Stay healthy and happy!