To make an oil with fresh herbs, do this:
-> Chop your herb into small pieces using clean scissors or pruners. Place herby bits slightly packed in a mason jar (what size mason jar you use will depend upon how much herb you have). Pour oil into the jar and, using a non-metallic object (like a bamboo skewer or the wooden handle of a spoon), stir the oil to ensure all the herb is coated with the oil. Add more oil to the top of the jar, place on lid and screw cap, and let sit in the pantry for 6 weeks. You can line the lid with a piece of parchment paper or cling wrap, if you like. Strain out the plant material using a fine sieve (you can place an unbleached coffee filter into the sieve first) OR use a nut milk bag. Pour the oil into sterilized amber jars and label.
Often, infused oils are used for external application, for example, as a massage oil or a body or face oil. These infused oils are also often turned into salves, where melted beeswax and candelilla wax are used to turn the oil into a solid product. Find out How To make a salve Here.
You can also make infused oils for internal use, too. A great example is infusing fresh Italian herbs like Basil, Rosemary, Thyme and Savory into olive oil and then using this oil to add that special touch in your recipes (like in pizza, kale chips or salad dressings).
NB. The parts of the plant that are used in infused in oils are the flowers, stems and leaves. Often, organic olive oil is used (cold pressed, virgin or extra virgin). However, there are many other oils that can be used depending upon what the oil will be used for. A few other commonly used oils include grapeseed oil, sunflower oil and jojoba oil.
NB. Since oils can go rancid, it is common to add preservatives to increase the shelf life of the oil. This is especially true if the oil will be used for cosmetic purposes. Common natural preservatives that are added include Vitamin E oil and essential oils (EOs) with antibacterial, antiseptic and perhaps anti-fungal properties, such as Rosemary, Sage, Tea Tree and Eucalyptus EOs (there are many other EOs you can choose from).
To make an infused oil with dried herbs, do this:
-> Place herbs in a crock pot and cover with olive oil. Stir to coat herbs with the oil using a non-metallic object. Add in 1-2 inches more olive oil to cover. Put on Low to gently warm the herbs for 1-2 hours. You want to linger around, because you DO NOT want the oil to cook (it will smell like cooked oil and won't be pleasant to use). Turn off heat and let cool. Strain out the herbs using a nut milk bag or fine mesh sieve lined with a coffee filter. You can now pour into sterilized amber jars or use this oil to make a salve. As with infused oils using fresh herbs, you can add in natural preservatives to increase the shelf life of your oil.
NB. Do note that other oils can be used besides olive oil. If you're wondering how much herb to use, you can use as little or as much as you want. How much oil do you need, a little or a lot? What really matters is that you cover the herbs with enough oil. Final note: instead of a crock pot, you can gently warm the herby oil using a double boiler or glass or ceramic pot.
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