How to make herbal infusions for cooking and salad dressings
There are 2 types of Herbal Infusions:
- Oil Infusions for food use – Cooking and Salad Dressings
- Oil Infusions to make Beauty Treatments – salves, lip balms, lotions, creams, massage oils
Herbal Infusions for food use:
There are various Oils you can use for Infusions. The most common ones are Olive Oil, Safflower Oil, Vegetable Oil, Sunflower Oil and Rapeseed Oil. All of the oils infuse equally well but taste differently. So depending on your preference and if you want a healthy option, Olive Oil would be the best option for most people.
Olive Oil: Not my favourite on its own. Olive Oil has a distinct aftertaste but infused with herbs and spices they mask it a bit. It has various health benefits and can be integrated into diet plans.
Rapeseed Oil: Rapeseed Oil also has a distinct aftertaste
Sunflower Oil: Has a slightly nutty taste and is a bit cheaper than Olive, Safflower and Rapeseed Oils but a bit more expensive than vegetable oil.
Vegetable Oil is the most neutral in taste of the oils mentioned. It doesn’t have many health benefits and is also the cheapest.
Choosing herbs and spices
Once you have your Oil you have to choose the herbs and spices to infuse your oil with. Below are a few herbs and spices to start with:
- Chilli or Cayenne Pepper
- Garlic (Peeled Cloves, sliced or chopped)
- Ginger Root or Powder
- Basil, Rosemary, Thyme
- Cracked Pepper or Pepper Corns
You can get quite creative with the ingredients. You can mix chilli and garlic or garlic and pepper, Basil and garlic. It
Infusing the Oil
There are 2 options to do this.
The Long Version is to put all your dry ingredients into a glass jar or bottle. Then fill the jar with the oil and close it tightly. Leave the jar to stand in a warm but not hot place for 3 weeks to a month. You can open the jar to taste your concoktion, add more ingredients and leave it to stand a little longer.
The Short Version uses a slow cooker on the keep warm function. Again, you add all your dry ingredients and then add the oil. Leave it for 4 to 8 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste it after 2 to 4 hours to see if it’s to your taste and add more ingredients, if needed.
Let the infusion cool and bottle it for later use.
Most of the oils have a shelve live of 12 months. This is how long your oil infusions will keep.
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