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Infused Oils – Tempt your Tastebuds with 5 EASY Recipes

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Infused Oils, whether it is fresh herbs, chili, or citrus is a simple way to add hints of flavor to your cooking.

Sage oil on eggs is transformative, as are a few drops of oil in your stir fry. Try rosemary oil lightly drizzled over roast potatoes. A drop of orange-infused citrus oil blended with plain yogurt elevates any breakfast.


Type of Oil to use

 

Remember that the oil that you use for infusing should be exclusively for drizzling.

You shouldn’t cook with it. Don’t use the high smoke point oils like vegetable, grapeseed, or canola.

Use olive oil that is buttery and sweet. It isn’t recommended to use olive oils that are grassy herbaceous or bitter. These are good to use on their own but don’t combine well with infusions.

Choose blended olive oil. These oils are normally less expensive and neutral in flavors.

Remember store oils in a cool dark place  … but always serve and used at room temperatures.

 

 

Flavorings

Dried ingredients

Generally, dried ingredients have a concentrated flavor resulting in more intensely flavored oil.

Drying out will result in getting rid of any moisture and helps to prevent mold from developing.

Spread your ingredients on a flat tray and place it in an oven on low heat ( 100 C). Turn large pieces a few times. Leave them in the oven for a couple of hours.

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Fresh Ingredients

It is just fine to infuse your oil with fresh ingredients. It is, however, best to use it within a few weeks. When the infused oil is ready for bottling it should be strained first. This will help preserve your oil for longer.

SPECIAL NOTE:- Garlic can be particularly prone to developing dangerous botulism bacteria. Make sure that you strain the garlic oil before bottling and use it within ten days. Cooking the garlic before adding to the oil also helps to reduce the chances of bacteria developing.

 

Making the Infused Oil

There are two ways that you can make infused oils. These are cold infusion and secondly by warm infusion.

Cold infusion

This works best if you are using milder ingredients i.e. coriander, thyme, tarragon.

Pulverize or bruise the herbs and then let them steep in your oil until the flavors have blended. If you use dried herbs then cover them with the oil seal the jar and leave to steep for four weeks.

If you are using fresh herbs then cover completely with the oil. Make sure to push down the herbs ( you will need to do this for the first few days.)Don’t allow the herbs to float up and leave uncovered as this will reduce the shelf life. It is a good idea if using fresh herbs to place a little cheesecloth over the jar mouth ( no lid) for a few days. It will allow the moisture from the fresh herbs to escape and also prevent the oil from going rancid. After this screw on the lid and leave in a sunny place.

Leave dry herbs in the oil until use, but use fresh herb infused oils within 4 weeks.

Strain the oil to remove the herbs before bottling.

Store in a cool dark place.

 

 

Warm Infused Oils

This method takes a little more time but reduces the chances of oil turning rancid or moldy.

 

An advantage is that there is no need to wait for the oil to infuse and can be used immediately after preparation.

Note this method is for making larger quantities and the infused oil will last longer than the quick warm infusion methods in recipes below:-

Place the herbs in a sanitized jar.

Pour the oil over the herbs.

Place the open jars in a double boiler or pot of water about 1/3rd up the pot. The water should cover the sides of the jar but not seep over the top into the oil.

Place the pot onto a stove on low heat. The water should be gently simmering. Preferably under 170 c.

The jars should sit in the warm water for between 12-24 hours.

Allow the oil to cool to room temperature strain and bottle. Store in a cool place.

 

Basil Oil – a quick warm infusion recipe.

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Ingredients

150 ml of Olive oil

1 cup fresh basil leaves

( You can use dried basil but 1/4 cup will be sufficient)

Instructions

Wash and dry the basil leaves.

Chop them finely.

In a pan heat the leaves and oil together mixing thoroughly. Cook on medium heat for 3 minutes.

Strain the oil into the sanitized bottle.

Cool.

Tip:- If you would like to incorporate a bright green color to the oil then blanch a few basil leaves in hot water. Squeeze out any extra water. Blend these with the oil before heating.

 

 

Bacon Oil – a Quick but delicious oil to drizzle over vegetables and salads.

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Ingredients

150 ml Olive Oil

3 Bacon strips

Instructions

Fry the bacon strips without oil in a pan until cooked.

Chop up into fine pieces.

Add the olive oil and warm over medium heat for 3 minutes.

Allow cooling with the bacon pieces steeping in the oil for three hours.

Strain the oil and bottle.

Bacon Infused Oil

Prep Time3 hrs
Cook Time3 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 150 ml Olive Oil
  • 3 Bacon strips

Instructions

  • Instructions
  • Fry the bacon strips without oil in a pan until cooked.
  • Chop up into fine pieces.
  • Add the olive oil and warm over medium heat for 3 minutes.
  • Allow cooling with the bacon pieces steeping in the oil for three hours.
  • Strain the oil and bottle.

 

Quick Garlic Oil – garlic goes with everything!

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Ingredients

150ml olive oil

1 garlic head.

Instructions

Smash or crush the garlic after peeling.

In a pan heat on medium heat the olive oil mix the oil and garlic allowing the garlic to sizzle slightly.

Turn down to low and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and allow the flavors to infuse for 45 minutes.

Store in a cool place and use within a week to avoid bacteria growth.

Garlic Infused Oil

Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • Ingredients
  • 150 ml olive oil
  • 1 garlic head.

Instructions

  • Instructions
  • Smash or crush the garlic after peeling.
  • In a pan heat on medium heat the olive oil mix the oil and garlic allowing the garlic to sizzle slightly.
  • Turn down to low and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and allow the flavors to infuse for 45 minutes.
  • Store in a cool place and use within a week to avoid bacteria growth.

 

Chili Oil – so many uses both in sweet and savory dishes.

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Ingredients

4 Fresh Chillies or 8 dried chilies ( Seeds removed)

1 cup of Olive oil

Instructions

Chop the chilies until fine.

Place in a pot with the olive oil.

Heat until it begins to bubble. Cook for 10 -15 seconds.

Swirl around in the pot until the mixture is just warm

Strain into a sterilized bottle sealed tightly.

Store in the refrigerator.

Use within one week for the best flavor.

Tips: Experiment with smoked chili and different flavored chilies such as poblanos, jalapenos, or serranos.

Chili Infused Oil

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 min
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • Ingredients
  • 4 Fresh Chillies or 8 dried chilies Seeds removed
  • 1 cup of Olive oil

Instructions

  • Instructions
  • Chop the chilies until fine.
  • Place in a pot with the olive oil.
  • Heat until it begins to bubble. Cook for 10 -15 seconds.
  • Swirl around in the pot until the mixture is just warm
  • Strain into a sterilized bottle sealed tightly.
  • Store in the refrigerator.

Notes

Use within one week for the best flavor.
Tips: Experiment with smoked chili and different flavored chilies such as poblanos, jalapenos, or serranos.

 

Lemon  Infused Olive Oil – Great as a salad dressing or over grilled vegetables.

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Ingredients

1 x Large Lemon

1 cup of olive oil

Instructions

Scrub the lemon using soap and rinse well

Zest the lemon into big strips. Make sure to avoid the white pith it gives a bitter taste.

In a small pan mix the olive oil and lemon zest. Just keep the oil warm NOT simmering. Keep warm for ten minutes.

Remove from the heat and allow the zest to steep as the oil cools.

Strain the oil to remove the strips of zest.

Transfer to a sanitized jar.

Store in a cool dark place.

If you prefer follow the same method but substitute orange zest for lemon to make Orange Olive oil.

Lemon Infused Oil

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time3 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 1 x Large Lemon
  • 1 cup of olive oil

Instructions

  • Instructions
  • Scrub the lemon using soap and rinse well
  • Zest the lemon into big strips. Make sure to avoid the white pith it gives a bitter taste.
  • In a small pan mix the olive oil and lemon zest. Just keep the oil warm NOT simmering. Keep warm for ten minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and allow the zest to steep as the oil cools.
  • Strain the oil to remove the strips of zest.
  • Transfer to a sanitized jar.
  • Store in a cool dark place.

Notes

If you prefer follow the same method but substitute orange zest for lemon to make Orange Olive oil.

 

Gifts of Culinary Infused Oils:- If you decide to make an infused oil as a gift for someone it always looks more interesting if a sprig of herb or chili is floating for effect. This is fine but please remember to tell your friend that the shelf life is less than if the oil did not contain the solid herbs and spices.

Infused Oils Gift

 

 

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Posted in: Nutrition

About the Author:

Hi, I am a writer based outside Cape Town in South Africa. I come from a Barbecue obsessed family. With the great weather we have in Cape Town ( most of the year) we enjoy Cooking Outside in our Backyard as often as possible. South African's love to "Braai" anything! The trick to continuing to enjoy Barbecuing is loving the old favorites but experimenting with new foods and methods often.

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