Infused oil is oil that has the addition of herbs, spices or fragrant leaves. It can either be used for cooking or for massage depending upon the ingredients used for the infused oil. In most cases, infused oil is used in cooking, and is especially good in final products where one can taste the oil, such as salad dressings.
There are several methods for making infused oil, but the first step is to sterilize the container one will be using. Consider a wine bottle, or one can sometimes purchase decorative oil bottles. It is very important to take this first step to avoid the oil harboring bacteria.
The easiest method is to simply add an herb to the sterilized bottle and allow the oil to infuse for several weeks. The oil will have a light taste of the herb or spice used. Other methods will yield a stronger tasting infused oil.
Most other methods call for gently heating the oil. One can do this on a stovetop, in a microwave oven, or in a crock-pot. As well, slightly crushing herbs like tarragon, basil, or rosemary will have the herbs give off more flavor. This step is unnecessary for cinnamon sticks or allspice.
Once the oil is slightly warmed, one stuffs the bottle with chosen ingredients and pours the oil over the top. The oil should then be kept in a cool, dry place for at least two weeks. One can perform a taste test of the infused oil after a week to see if it is getting sufficiently strong. If there is no taste of the herbs used, add more.
One can use a variety of oils to make infused oil. It is best to understand the oil’s storage capabilities. For example, peanut oil and olive oil must be refrigerated before and after they become infused oil or they will become rancid.
In general, choose oil that does not have a strong flavor. Light olive oil, peanut oil, and safflower oil, are all better choices than walnut oil, for example. One can also purchase infused oil in multiple varieties at gourmet food stores. With these, observe instructions for storage as well.