Herb-infused olive oils can be used as a base for salad dressings or pasta sauces, or served alongside chunks of bread for a quick but hearty snack. They are also wonderful gifts for friends during the holidays—they look impressive (especially in a long, thin glass bottle)—but are very cheap to make. Here are some basic steps.
Ingredients and materials
Use high-quality olive oil and fresh herbs, which have a better flavor than the bottled ones you’ll find in supermarkets. However, make sure the herb leaves are completely dry before you put them in the bottle, since bacteria can thrive in any water droplets in the olive oil mixture.
As for bottles, look for one with a seal or rubber stopper—ideally air-tight. Sterilize the bottle and then allow it to dry very well (you can leave it under the sun for several hours).
Making the infusion
Crush and bruise the herbs to bring out the oils in the herbs. If you are using spices, toast them before crushing them. A mortar and pestle will come in handy. Pour these into the olive oil and leave for about 2 weeks. If you are concerned about bacteria growth, heat the olive oil and ingredients in a saucepan (keep it on low heat) and then strain out the ingredients.
Store herb infused olive oil in the ngredients. It’s better to make a small amount and consume it quickly (like within 1 to 2 weeks) especially if you are concerned about bacterial contamination. Any oils that contain fresh garlic also have a higher risk for botulism.
Photo from thekitchn.com