Herb-infused olive oil

casaveneracion.com Herb-infused olive oil

You’ve seen them on supermarket shelves and they cost plenty. Herb-infused olive oil is great for cooking and for salads but, aside from the cost, when you buy the commercial kind, you’re stuck with flavors that the manufacturers consider popular and, ergo, easy to sell. But did you know that it’s cheaper to make herb-infused olive oil at home? Not only do you cut on cost, you can also get as creative as you wish, combining herbs and spices that suit your taste more. I tell you, the only part of the preparation that took a long time was drying the bottles thoroughly after washing them inside and out. After that, it was a breeze.

But, first things first. What kind of bottle should you use? You can use just about any bottle with a tight cover. However, note that metallic bottle covers can get rusty over time. And pouring oil from a bottle with a wide round mouth might be messy. I chose these clear glass bottles.

casaveneracion.com Herb-infused olive oil

They have spouts for easy and spill-free pouring, and rubberized cork stoppers to keep the flavor and aroma in. I consciously stayed away from metal caps because they might leave a metallic taste in the oil. The bottles sell for P79.50 each (that’s less than US$2). Extra cost, I grant you that, but since they are washable and reusable, I can use them over and over again.

casaveneracion.com Herb-infused olive oil

Second consideration: use fresh or dried herbs? I used fresh (I grow herbs in my garden) but there’s no reason why you can’t use dried. Note though that you may have to refrigerate the oil if you use fresh herbs because the water content of the herbs might make the mixture prone to bacteria growth at room temperature.

If using fresh herbs, wash then dry them between stacks of kitchen towels. Or you can place them in the oven (temperature at the lowest setting) for a couple of minutes just to get rid of surface water. Cut leafy herbs to allow them to expel their flavors faster or leave them whole if you want to make the oil bottles decorative (I left them whole because I am entertaining the idea of giving away herb-infused olive oil to friends-who-cook for Christmas).

casaveneracion.com Herb-infused olive oil

Third consideration: what combination of herbs to use. Ah, that’s where you can get creative. Basil, thyme, tarragon, sage, rosemary, oregano, cilantro, bay leaves… combine two or more. Then, add some spices and aromatics — peppercorns, garlic cloves, lemon or lime peel… If there is a combination that you find particularly good with chicken, for instance, use that for one bottle of oil. Have another bottle with a combination of herbs and spices that’s good with red meat, another one to go with seafood, for salads… Note that you cannot use the oil immediately. You have to leave them alone for at least a week to allow the flavors and aromas to be absorbed by the olive oil.

Not a fan of olive oil? You can have herb-infused cooking oil. Slip some ginger, garlic and shallot in your vegetable cooking oil, allow the flavors to develop for a week or two and imagine what sauteing and stir frying would be like.

Ah, I tell you, playing with things like this in the kitchen beats the stress every time.

Comments

  1. Deanna says

    I was very interested in preparing my own garlic and herb infused oils, but in my research, I have found ample warnings regarding home made garlic-infused oil (e.g., the Center for Disease Control). Fresh garlic have spores that cause botulism. The warnings are very clear: refrigerate home made garlin-infused oil immediately and use within a week. (This is apparently not the case with store bought versions that include special acids and preservatives). Your advice of leaving the oil for a week to absorb the flavors, and the use of fresh garlic as a case that “might fall under the put-in-the-fridge recommendation” is directly contrary to what I’m reading. While I am so glad you don’t seem to have experienced any problems, I believe that extreme precaution, when we’re talking about our family and loved ones, is never unhealthy.

  2. Maria says

    Dear Connie,

    What I think Deanna meant was that timing is key and best to consume the oil as quickly as possible and not to wait out a full week before tasting it. Botulism develops quickly in a matter of hours. Fresh garlic (and many root type vegetables) can carry botulism spores. Even refrigeration won’t stop botulism from developing.

    However another way of infusing oil is to boil it for 10 minutes with the herbs. Not only does this process kill off the germs but it also lets the oil flavors develop faster…

    In my case, I like to take fresh green onions, oil, ginger and salt – mashed them together and enjoy them with roasted pork or chicken.

    • Megan says

      Hi Connie,

      I’ve benn trying to find the bottles you mentioned you bought at shopwise above. Is that an online store? I am having trouble finding them.
      Thanks so much for your help.

  3. Jenny says

    Hi,

    I am trying to find out all the right info for making a rosemary and garlic oil and a chilli or herb oil. I was hoping to have two nice bottles sitting on my kitchen work top…. but reading all the above I am thinking buying the garlic oil, as I currently do, from a supermarket is simply easier! I don’t want to keep mine in the fridge! Sooo with the chilli one, do I literally just put some dried chilli’s in the oil and leave it. And must the bottle have a stopper, i.e. don’t buy the ones with the usual metal pourer tops?

    Thanks for your help!

  4. says

    Hi,

    I’ve been making infused oils for years. When I took a class at Williams-Sonoma, they taught us to clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat the oil with the herbs/peels until the thermometer regisers 200 degrees F (93 C). Cook at 200-225 F (93-107 C) for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into hot sterilized bottles. They said it could be stored at room temperature for up to 2 months with this process.

    • Schelby says

      Do you know if its safe to use the heat process for herbal oils being used for medicinal purposes? I’m new to herbalism and I cant seem to find how long the oil lasts after straining the herbs out.

  5. Patte says

    I’ve been reading about the garlic infused oil in the last 2 days. I just “want to make it for friends”, not knowing anything about the botulism issue. I had no idea. Now I do. So now after reading your posts and everyone’s comments, especially about using dried herbs, what about using dehydrated minced garlic? Would that be okay since it’s dried? I grow many herbs: rosemary, oregano, cilantro, garlic, and many kinds of basil. I dry most of my herbs for use during the winter months. I haven’t dried garlic yet, but if dried garlic would work for making infused oils safer, I will start.

      • Patte says

        Maybe use more dried herbs than you would use fresh? And cook it like suggested by Chery (post dated 11/20/11)? What about the dried garlic idea? Do you think that would be better than fresh, eliminating the botulism issue? I guess I’m just trying not to kill my friends. haha

  6. says

    So, I’ve been working with infusing oils, some for foods, some for other products. I’d just like to recommend and herb for you to try. Actually, its a spice mixture. It’s called vandouvan. There are online recipes to make it, or you can order it from a spice company. I infuse olive oil with it and OH MA GAWD. Just saying. You should try it!!!

  7. shawie says

    Hi Ms. Connie! This is a great idea! I only use olive oil when i make ‘special’ dishes for my husband like my gambas and spaghetti meat sauce…. but honestly, i don’t enjoy cooking with it because it gives off this weird smell. =) I’m going to try your idea for herb-infused cooking oil soon…. By the way, may I ask where you bought those pretty bottles? ;)

    P.S. Just thought you should know, I just saw the picture of your Adobong Sitaw 2 in another site…PinoyRecipe.net. :(

  8. Jet Guevara says

    hi ms. connie! i love the idea of home-made olive oil. where did you those bottles, cause for 79.50 its really a great find! :-)

  9. says

    Since, I might won’t make it to the list of the lucky friends who’ll receive these lovely gift, I might as well make mine. (teasing, teasing).

    May I know where you bought these bottles?

  10. says

    Bought the bottles at Shopwise. I was going to get a more expensive kind when my husband saw them. Great find, ‘noh?

    Shawie, Re stolen pic and recipe, I posted a comment there. Eh, ganun, may magnanakaw kahit saan.

  11. Christine says

    Hi Connie, T’is my first time to send a comment at out of topic pa. Hope ok lang. I always look forward to reading new entries from your blog as much as going through previous ones. Kaya lang I don’t know kung ako lang pero each time I search by category yung most recent page pa rin ang lumalabas. What to do?

  12. says

    Christine, it has something to do with your browser settings. A few readers had the same problems; some of them were able to figure it out. Depends on what browser you’re using.

  13. RobKSA says

    I will surely try this of course with dried herbs first as that what’s available in my pantry. After that, I can hunt for fresh herbs which is not very common here in Saudi Arabia. Thanks!

  14. gyangie says

    hi connie, great idea you got here. I would just like to know if i can use herb infused cooking oil for sauteing pasta dishes… one more thing can you give me good combinations of herbs to use…thanks and god bless!

  15. says

    RobKSA, yes, dried herbs will work too. Might have a longer shelf life too because there is no more water in the dried herbs.

    gyangie, re “if i can use herb infused cooking oil for sauteing pasta dishes.”

    OH, YES. :)

  16. says

    Hi Ms Connie! I thought of this idea too, but I don’t know a good combination of herbs and aromatics. Thanks for giving out such good ideas! :)

  17. Diana says

    Hey Connie, nice to meet you and your blog. I found you due to me searching for info on infusing oil. I had this idea to give olive oil infused with herbs for christmas this year for a while and took it one step at a time. I have found bottles from a wholesale site but not as cute as your suggestion ( which im totally checking out!)…Found some good quality bulk olive oil at a great price…and now the hard part…waiting for the bottles to come in the mail..and wanted to start thinking about what herbs to use..I can def be creative however i also want them to be liked by all…so im stumped with the combination to use…hoping you can shed some light on this…i wanted to go dry so they lasted longer but i also was some decorative touch to it….i am a rookie to this cooking and growing just this year but have learned sooo much…grateful to have found your site…

  18. says

    Diana, I suggest you base the combination on dishes that you already enjoy. If you like pesto, for instance, you can combine basil, garlic and peppers.

  19. Julie says

    Thank you for this informative article. I grew up creating flavored infused vinegars and know they have an extreme shelf life. Do you know what the approximate shelf life of an garlic olive oil with dry herbs may be ? I am ready to try them but would like to know when they would be at their peak. Thank you, Julie Walker.

  20. Sheryll says

    Hi Connie!
    thanks for the idea. But what is a great combination of herb to use if i’ll just simply use it for frying meat? Or what if for chicken?

  21. says

    Julie, you mean fresh garlic and dried herbs? Fresh garlic would have water so that might fall under the put-it-in-the-fridge recommendation. Haven’t tried using dried herbs so I can’t say when’s the best time to use the oil. On a guess, after two days, when the herbs have had a chance to rehydrate in the oil.

  22. Ernest says

    Can you tell me what are the best combination for grilled meat? I would like to give as presents this coming Christmas.

  23. Ernest says

    Ohh, sorry Ms Connie, I replied just now. What I mean is a good combination of dried herbs for sauteing meat. Is it recommended to heat the oil first and then let it cool down before putting it in the bottle?

  24. says

    Okay, let me answer that in two parts.

    “good combination of dried herbs for sauteing meat”

    I’d still give you the same answer as before. For instance, I like cilantro but most people don’t. So…

    “Is it recommended to heat the oil first and then let it cool…”

    I don’t really see any reason for the additional work.

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