Infusing your own olive oil at home may seem like a tricky task, but in actual fact, it’s so simple that anyone can do it. Delicious, nutritious and a great way to add a personal touch to any meal – even something as simple as bread and butter – this type of treat is exactly the kind of customised creation that separates the brilliant from the boring.
Here is a basic, step-by-step guide for you to use when you’re ready to revolutionise your cooking:
Find a glass or plastic bottle(s) with a tight cover or lid. If you can, get one with a cork stopper, which will make it easier for you to use. Make sure you wash the bottle(s) and leave them to dry completely.
Decide on the herbs you want to use, and how many. Rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano and basil, are commonly used around the world, so try one of those for your first attempt. We recommend that you use dry herbs, but if you are using fresh herbs, you need to make sure that you dry them properly to get them most flavour out of your infusion.
To dry your herbs wash them and leave them in the sun for several hours or spread them out on a cookie sheet and heat them in the oven for several minutes on low heat.
Now it’s time to combine the herbs and olive oil, which can be done in two ways.
One: put them into your bottle(s) and, with a funnel, pour your olive oil over your herbs, filling the bottle close to the top.
Two: place the oil and herbs in a pot on the stove, heat them and stir the mixture well. When you can smell the flavours combining, let it simmer for a little bit – not too long – and then turn the heat off. Strain the herbs from your infusion and with a funnel, pour it into a bottle.
Seal the bottle and store it in a cool, dry place (your pantry) for at least 1 week. The oil will quickly absorb the herbs’ flavour and it will only intensify over time. With fresh herbs you will only be able to use the infusion for about a week – after the week of rest – but, with dried herbs your infusion can last several months.