Make Your Own – Infused Oils

So many recipes call for oil and using infused oil can add another layer of flavor. Oil can be infused with herbs, aromatics like garlic or onion, citrus, and even nuts. It’s easy to make your own infused oils! Here’s how to do it.

First, remember that you must always use fresh herbs when making infused oils. The flavor of fresh herbs is more pure than dried and using fresh herbs will give your oil a vibrant color.

Make-Your-Own-Infused-Oils

You’ll need:

  • A blender or food processor
  • Cooking pot or oven-safe bowl
  • Cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer
  • Funnel
  • Glass bottles with tight fitting caps
  • Olive oil (or any other neutrally flavored oil)
  • Fresh herbs, aromatics, citrus, and/or nuts

 

 

Herb Infused Oils:

herbs

Blend soft herbs like basil and cilantro with the oil in the blender or food processor before heating. If you want a more vibrant color blanch the herbs then shock with ice water before blending. Adding the herbs without blanching gives you more flavorful oil. When using woody herbs like thyme or rosemary, simply add the sprigs to the oil and follow the instructions for heating.

When you have combined your herbs and oil heat them in a small saucepan over medium heat until the oil is lightly bubbling. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the oil to cool completely.

Strain the oil through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer. If making oil using soft herbs, be sure not to press on the solids. Care during the straining process will prevent cloudy oil. You can place the woody herbs in the bottle but it will cause slightly cloudier oil.

While basil, cilantro, rosemary, and thyme are commonly used herbs you may want to also try these herbs:

Chives

Dill

Marjoram

Mint

Oregano

Parsley

Sage

Tarragon

 

Aromatic Infused Oils:

aromatics

For both dipping and cooking oils infused with aromatics like garlic and onion can’t be beat.

Wash whatever aromatic you’re going to use even though you’ve peeled them. You want to be sure to remove any trace of impurities.

Cut large items like onions in half or in rings. Garlic cloves and shallots can be left whole.

Roast aromatics before heating them with the oil. Pop them in the over on a baking sheet at 350°F for 20 to 30 minutes or until just golden. This releases the fragrance and flavor.
Add the aromatic to the oil in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the oil begins to lightly bubble. Remove the pan from the heat and allow mixture to cool completely.

Although you can leave aromatics in the bottle without causing cloudiness the aromatic will continue to infuse the oil making the flavor stronger over time.

Garlic and onion are popular aromatics used in infused oil but also try:

Ginger

Green onions (scallions)

Lemongrass

Shallots
Citrus Infused Oils:

citrus

Citrus zest can add a bright flavor with a little tang to your infused oil.

Wash fruit carefully to remove any trace of pesticides. Use a vegetable peeler to make long strips of peel for easier removal. Be sure not to get any of the bitter, white pith.

Add peel to oil in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until the oil begins to lightly bubble. Remove the pan from the heat and allow oil to cool completely.

Removing the zest while the oil is cooling will leave you with clearer and more delicately flavored oil. Leaving the zest in while the oil cools will produce a stronger flavor but cloudier oil. Strain the zest from the oil before bottling.

Lemons, limes, and oranges are typical citrus choices for infusing oil but you can also infuse oils with these citrus flavors:

Blood orange

Clementine

Grapefruit

Meyer lemon

Tangerine

Kumquat

 

Nut Infused Oils:

nuts

Use raw, unsalted nuts to make nut infused oils. Buy nuts that have been skinned or blanched. The oil will not taste quite the same as nut oils because they are made by pressing the oil from crushed nuts. Your nut infused oil will have a rich, roasted, savory flavor.

Add the nuts to the oil in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the oil is lightly bubbling. Remove from heat and allow oil to cool completely.

You don’t even have to strain the nuts out because they will not cloud the oil.

Peanut infused oil, while not the same as commercially produced peanut oil can add a lot of flavor but you may want to try these, too:

Almond

Cashew

Hazelnut

Pecan

Pine nut

Pistachio
Be Creative:

be-creative

Try combining flavors when you infuse oils. Many herbs, aromatics, citrus fruits, and nuts combine well together. Just follow the instructions for preparing each ingredient then combine with the oil and heat, cool, and strain.

Make these for cooking or great dipping oils for crusty bread:

Basil and garlic

Basil and mint

Marinade or cook chicken in these tasty oils:

Cardamom and orange

Rosemary and orange

Try these spicy combinations for Mexican dishes:

Cilantro, red pepper flakes, lime, and onion

Cilantro, scallions, jalapeno, and garlic

Keep your infused oils in the refrigerator and discard after a month.

 

 

Save

Save

Growing lemons from seeds

Since I love lemons and use them so much when cooking and baking I’ve decided I need a lemon tree. I can buy a dwarf tree at a greenhouse not far from town but that’s too easy. So I’m going to try growing lemons from seeds.

Because of our harsh winters I’ll have to grow my lemon tree inside during the winter but I should still get a healthy crop of lemons and seeds for additional trees.

Lemon-tree-good

I need to have:

  • A couple of organic lemons. Non-organic lemons usually have non-germinating seeds. I’m going to buy more than one lemon to ensure a higher likelihood of seeds germinating.
  • Potting soil with organic fertilizer, peat, perlite, and vermiculite.
  • A sprouting pot about 6 inches deep and 6 inches around.
  • A seedling pot with 12 inches of depth and 24 inches circumference.
  • A very sunny spot in my house and a grow light for winter months.

How I’ll grow my lemons:

  • I’ll moisten the potting soil so it’s damp but not soaking wet.
  • I’ll fill the sprouting pot with the soil until it’s about an inch below the top of the pot.
  • I’ll remove a seed from one of my lemons and get all the pulp off. I can easily suck any pulp off the seed.
  • Since the seed must be moist when it’s planted I’ll get it into the soil immediately, planting it about 1//2 inch deep. I’ll put it right in the center of the pot.
  • I’ll use a spray bottle to gently water the soil directly above my seed.
  • Then I’ll cover the pot with clear plastic wrap and secure it with a rubber band.
  • Next I’ll poke a few holes in the plastic wrap with a pencil.
  • Once the holes are poked through the pot will go in the sunny spot I’ve chosen.

Next:

  • In order to ensure the soil doesn’t dry out I’ll spray it from time to time. I want to be sure not to add so much water it goes all the way through and leaks out the bottom of the pot. The soil should just be moist, not soaking.
  • The seedling should appear about two weeks after planting and it’s then I’ll remove the plastic wrap.
  • During the summer I shouldn’t need the grow light but I’ll keep an eye on the plant just in case. The young plant will need about 8 hours of full sunlight every day.
  • I’ll keep the soil moist and feed the plant a few moderate doses of the organic fertilizer.
  • If any leaves turn brown or die I’ll remove them and I’ll watch that my young plant isn’t attacked by bugs! If I see any I’ll use an all-natural pesticide.
  • As my plant grows I’ll move it to the next larger pot and follow the watering instructions as I did when I planted it. Although older plants don’t require as much water as the young ones I’ll ensure it has adequate water.

In time I expect to have a lemon tree that produces enough to fill all my lemon needs.

Are you going to try to grow your own lemon tree? Let me know how it goes!