Herbs are some of the most useful plants you can grow. You can use them in so many ways decorate or clean the home, take a relaxing soak in the tub or wash your face with our lavender scrub recipe and, of course, cook with them. Here’s how to make your own custom flavored oil from herbs you harvest right from the garden.
- Jar or bottle with a tight fitting lid
- Herbs, such as rosemary, sage, bay, oregano or thyme
- Oil, such as canola or olive
- Sauce pan
It’s safer to infuse your oils with the concentrated flavors of dried herbs. The drying process kills bacteria such as Clostridium botulinum, a soilborne organism that causes botulism poisoning. Besides that, too much moisture from the foliage can cause the oil to go rancid. You also need to freeze or refrigerate your infused oil so it doesn’t spoil. If you notice any bubbles, discoloration or strings of a whitish material start to form in your oil, toss it out immediately. It’s gone bad.
Dry the herbs
To dry your herbs harvest a handful of stems, gather them into small bundles and secure them with twine or a rubber band. Hang the bundles upside down for 7 to 10 days in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. You’ll need 1 ounce of herbs to 10 ounces of oil but the intensity of flavor can vary depending on the herb and your growing conditions so you might need to experiment a bit.
Infuse the oil
In a large sauce pan, heat canola or other mild oil until warm — no higher than 150 degrees F. Remove the twine or rubber band from the herb bundle and wrap it in cheesecloth. Emerse the bag of herbs in the oil to steep an hour or longer. When the oil has been flavored to your taste, discard the bundle and strain out any herbs that may have escaped as you pour it into a clean, dry container.
Store flavored oil
Store the flavored oil in the refrigerator right away. Use it within 2 to 4 days to avoid any bacteria problems. Or you can freeze small portion sized quantities and keep it longer.