By now we probably all have our garden seeds planted here in Alberta and our flower pots and planters looking fabulous on our decks. Hopefully you planted some herbs being it’s so wonderful having fresh herbs to use in the kitchen, and in herbal preparations like I do. So I am bringing you an idea today for those fresh herbs, beyond adding the mint to your mojito (which is also a fantastic idea) or basil to your pesto. Why not try making a herbal infused oil, or vinegar, for your culinary delights?!
We have all seen the flavoured olive oils by now as it become trendy 5 years ago. They make a tasty addition to your salad or change up to your flavouring. But did you know it’s actually quite simple to make? And you can customize it to your preference. We all know I love handmade items and DIY projects, as there’s such a satisfaction when you make something with your hands. Take this extra social isolation time and try this fun herbal kitchen project.
I will stick with extra virgin olive oil for the base oil as this is a common oil for salads. Just remember the smoke point of olive oil is lower and should not be fried with as it will release free radicals into the food.
To create a rosemary infused olive oil for a lovely salad drizzle, you will need just four items:
Clean glass mason jar
Extra virgin olive oil
Rosemary sprigs (Dried)
It’s best to use dried herbs as the water content in fresh herbs can cause bacterial growth causing your oil to spoil sooner. Using dried herbs is the safest method and just as effective. First cut your herbs, lay flat to dry, hang by tying a small string around the stem, or use a dehydrator on very low heat, according to your manual. Once dry, crumble the herbs to create more surface area, place into glass jar till 1/3-1/2 full. Add the olive oil to the top, ensuring the herbs are fully covered. Tighten lid, label & date jar. Roll back and forth to ensure good mixing then place in a dark place for 4-6 weeks to infuse. You can also speed this up by placing on low heat into your slow cooker for 8-12 hours to do a gentle heat infusion.
Once infused, carefully strain the herb particles from the oil and store in your favourite dressing jar. It is now ready to use for your next summer salad, or to impress others at your patio BBQ.
Other herbs that would make a delicious salad oil are basil, oregano, dill or sage. You can even add garlic to it! Possibilities are endless.
To take this an extra step further, you can also infuse your vinegar to pair with your oil. Common vinegars used as balsamic or apple cider. Follow the same instructions mentioned above, but use a piece of wax paper in between your jar and the metal lid as the vinegar may cause some corrosion. Into wildcrafting? Try picking some spruce tips right now and infuse fresh into your vinegar for a healthy addition to salad dressings, sauces, smoothies, or to add subtle spruce flavour to vinegar reductions.
Let me know if you try it and how much you loved it! I thoroughly enjoyed my rosemary olive oil and will add it to many different meals this summer I’m sure.