Fancy Flavors: Infusing Olive Oil

October 26, 2012
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My cooking usually starts with smashing and mincing garlic for most savory dishes and ends with a handful of fresh herbs for garnish. And my fridge has peeled garlic and every herb that exits: parsley for kofta, coriander for fish and mint that seemed like a great idea for one dish, but not so much for the rest of the week’s meals. From a financial point of view it didn't bother me; herbs are cheap. But for someone who hates to waste food, it hurt to throw out bunches of herbs and shriveled garlic. So I grabbed the olive oil and experimented. Infused olive oil shines in marinades and salad dressings, roasted vegetables and is perfect as a simple dip with warm bread. Making it yourself is super easy - and they're great DIY wedding favors or house warming gifts.

What you'll need:
  • 2-3 fresh Rosemary springs
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red chili
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Mason jar & lid (or some kind of sealing jar)
Oil can be infused cold or warm. With this DIY, I used the cold method and just bruised/sliced the ingredients and placed each in its own bottle, covered each ingredient with olive oil, sealed the bottle, then let them sit in a cool, dark place for 1-2 weeks before using it. The oil will slowly infuse over time. You can also heat the oil and ingredients in a saucepan on medium-low heat (cook to 180°), let the oil cool, and then strain out the ingredients before bottling the infused oil. This makes the oil infuse more quickly and reduces some of the risk of bacteria growth. Infused olive oil will generally keep for up to one month and should be kept refrigerated. If the oil start to show any signs of spoilage, just get rid of it immediately - better safe than sorry. There are so many great ingredients you can try like citrus zest, crushed peppercorns or sun dried tomatoes. The Kitchn has a cool idea to freeze and preserve herbs in olive oil ice cubes. Important note: When infusing oil, please be aware of the dangers of botulism. This link provides more info: Heating Kills Botulism for Infused Oils  

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