Step 2: Culinary oil: preparing herbs

Culinary infused oils are a great way to add flavour to your cooking. An assortment of herbs and spices can be used depending on your tastes and cooking style. You can use either fresh or dried herbs.  Fresh herbs will give a stronger flavour but the oil won't keep as long and needs to be stored in the refrigerator (see note below**).  I tend to make small quantities of infused oil at at time so that it will be used up quickly.

Here a few suggestions, don't be afraid to mix and match:













The best type of oil to use is extra virgin olive oil, you can also use grape seed , peanut or sunflower oil.  Walnut oil is also good if it will be used cold such as for salad dressings since it is not good for heating.

How to make:
  • Wash your herbs and dry completely**
  • Bruise or rub herbs, for spices toast them to bring out the flavour
  • Place in a clean dry glass jar.
  • Add oil until it completely covers the herbs/spices.
  • Place a lid on  the jar and close
  • Place the jar on a sunny windowsill or other sunny spot.  Swirl or shake the jar every day or so.

**It is important that no moisture is introduced into the oil as it can become rancid or prone to mold or bacteria growth. (Garlic is particularly prone to this so it should be stored in the fridge or made with the heating method in a skillet described in step 4.)
Would the fresh flowers mold during the windowsill infusion process?
<p>You need to make sure that all of the flowers are submerged in oil and check on them regularly. In a humid environment you make need to drain it remove the flowers and and fresh ones after a week.</p>
<p>i make an infused oil with dried lavender, calendula , chamomile and comfrey. To 4 cups almond oil i add 2 cups calendula and 1 cup each of the others. instead of infusing dried herbs can i just add essential oils of these plants and if so, how much essential oil is equivalent to i cup dried plant?</p>
<p>I don't know, I have never tried. Essential oils are really concentrated so you would probably only need a small amount.</p>
<p>I want to infuse lavender oil with cannabis. Could you tell me if the week in window or the double boiler is the best method. Thanks for you help. Oregon330</p>
<p>The cooking method is quicker and is better for culinary oil.</p>
<p>My lavender oils are for topical application. Would the oil prep also apply. Thanks</p>
<p>If it is non culinary than week on the window would be better.</p>
Hiya<br>I want to make a Christmas scent but I'm not sure which scents to use to get the max effect. I have sunflower oil too. I want to make candles and add this to them.<br>Thank you
<p>You could try cinnamon and clove or pine.</p>
Great thanks. I was thinking cinnamon and clove together. Is it just a case of trying and keep adding on taste? Or do you have an amount tips? Thanks
<p>Yeah, it is pretty well adding by taste/scent but if it gets too strong you could just dilute it with more oil.</p>
i started infusing kakawate leaves (madre de cacao) ..for pets...just want to ask if im doing the right procedure..i harvested kakawati leaves and leave it to dry inside my room for 5days until it turns crispy dry..then i submerged it in container with virgin coconut oil ...ill be leaving it to infuse for 4 weeks and add honey ,vitamin e as preservative..and some essential oil....am i doing the right procedur? thank u very much
<p>Yes, this sounds good.</p>
I didn't see lilac listed as one of your flowers or dandelion. I am infusing both of those starting today. Will adding the flowers without drying them I trounce mold into the oil? U said to dry the herbs but not the flowers. Thanks.
Love the idea of making your own infused oil. I made 5 small jars for my mother in law for her birthday. I guess she will enjoy them, if not for the taste, then she must like the look of it. <br> <br>From left to right: Green Peppercorns, Chilipepper, Rosemary, Cinnamon, Garlic.
<p>where did you get those containers? they look so pretty!</p>
Wow, those look gorgeous!
<p>Yes! Oh wow! I just want to keep them as kitchen decoration!</p>
<p>I have been dying to find whether it is possible to infuse the smell of fried chicken in oils strong enough for use with a scent diffuser. I saw that there are oils with bacon scent or pizza scent. Is it possible to make one smell like fried chicken? Thanks </p>
<p>This comment is the best thing I've seen all day. If you got this to work, I have to know!!!!</p>
<p>LOL! Me too! I absolutely HAVE to know! </p>
<p>LOL, I am vegetarian so that is definitely not something that I've tried, though I imagine you can try something like this with chicken instead: </p><p>http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Bacon-Flavored-Olive-Oil</p>
Running the jars through the dishwasher is NOT sufficient to sterilize them. You could be giving some dangerous advice. The only way to do this at home is submersion in boiling water.
<p>Can you do this with tobacco? I want to try and make a &quot;manly&quot; cologne and I love the smell of dried Virginia pipe tobacco, seems like it would work the same? What is the best carrier oil that will have the least amount of it's own scent transferring over?</p>
<p>i'm pretty sure that would create a poisonous concoction! steeping tobacco for long periods extracts the nicotine to a point that can be quite deadly and can be absorbed through the skin. maybe i'm wrong on this, but i'm almost positive making a cologne out of tobacco would not be a good idea. it would smell amazing, but wouldn't be worth the danger in my book!</p>
<p>I'd imagine it would work with tobacco, I would recommend using sweet almond or grape seed oil. What an interesting idea, I would love to hear how it turns out!</p>
<p>I do candle making as a hobby, can I use any of the oils you listed (in small quantities) to add some more natural fragrance? Will it affect the way the candle burns? I would rather not use fragrance oil as I have not been able to find any good quality ones in my area. I would rather do it my self and have it be more natural. </p><p>- Samantha </p>
<p>When added to candles it should probably be used in small quantities. Also try to use an oil with a higher smoke point (temperature at which it burns), some example of oils with higher smoke points are: grapeseed, olive oil, walnut, or sesame. </p>
<p>I have flower and herb gardens I would like to use. Is it possible to use mineral oils to make scented body oils? Should I use the sunny window technique? I have extremely sensitive skin and mineral oils are about the only ones that don't bother me. Thanks for your input. Also if i wanted to make a candle or popurri is there a different technique? thanks </p>
<p>Mineral oil should be fine with the sunny window technique and the same technique can be used for popurri or candle.</p>
<p>I haven't done anything like this before, and I have to wait a couple years before I can, but my biggest question is do you have to remove the herbs? I'm guessing the answer is no but I really wanna make sure.</p>
<p>Yes, once the herbs have 'steeped' in the oil for a couple of weeks, the herbs should be strained out of the oil.</p>
<p>Okay, kind of figured. Thanks!</p>
Can i get the scent strong enough to use it for aromatherapy candles ?
<p>They won't be as strong as essential oils since they mostly made from a distillation process. </p>
This is great! im going to use cinnamon infused almond oil to add to my lip balm so it promotes circulation and soft pouty lips! so excited!
Sounds awesome!
hi ChrysN, i'm so glad to have your instructable on infused oil..i made one, a mix of fresh oregano and basil leaves... its been 5days now..i want this as massage oil and ive been thinking if its ok to put a little of fragrance oil, what fragrance would you recommend...(i bought diff. fragrance oils but read a warning it should not be used for the skin...) what should i mix to have a better smell..<br><br>pls help.,....thanks!
You should be able to use an essential oil on your skin rather than a fragrance oil. You can try sage or bay oil, those would probably go nicely with the oregano and basil. If you want your infused oil to have a stronger scent you can drain off the leaves and re infuse with more herbs.
thanks for the response chrys...please take some more time to answer some more of my questions ;)<br><br> is it possible to mix dry herbs since i originally processed fresh herbs (i saw dried sage and bay leaves in the supermarket) ?<br><br>or should i drain the leaves (oregano and basil) before mixing the dried ones?<br><br>i also found methyl salicylate in a drugstore (with labels like: 65ml methyl salicilate, 35ml mineral oil) and it smells good (minty smell), is it safe to add this? ( its even indicated in the bottle that its oil of wintergreen -antirheumatic)<br><br>i am also bothered whats the best thing to do, if to store it in a dry cool dark place or to place it where it can really be spotted by the sun...what i do is put it in direct sunlight for 20-30 minutes in the morning, is this ok? by the way, my bottle is clear so i wrapped it with a dark colored plastic bag.<br><br>i tried putting the oregano-basil infused oil in my skin and it feels really good, but im just bothered with the smell... i hope you could help me with this questions before i share it with mom and dad ;) <br><br>Thank you in advance....
1) You should drain the old leaves before adding the dried ones.<br> <br> 2) methyl salicylate smells nice and is used in sore muscle creams but it is also toxic so only use small amounts (see the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methyl_salicylate">wiki</a> article).<br> <br> 3)Only leave in a sunny spot while the herbs are steeping, once you drain off the herbs you should store in a dry cool place.<br> <br> 3)If you don't like the smell try adding something with a smell that you like.<br>
is there a duration when leaving it under sunlight? i have read one of the comments that direct sunlight for long hours might have an effect on strength of the aroma...<br>ok then, il try to put some drops of methyl on it. :)<br>and try to look for fragrance oils that's good for the skin... :)<br><br>one last (i hope so) is it also save to mix ethyl alcohol? just wonderin ;)
I think it is the warmth of the sun rather than the light which helps absorb the herbs in to the oil, so if you don't have a spot that doesn't get long hours of sunlight but is warm, it is okay. Ethyl alcohol is okay to use on skin, it is used in hand sanitizers as well as <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-perfume/">perfumes</a>.
thanks again...i might try putting ethyl alcohol..i hope it wouldnt affect on the effectiveness and strength of the massage oil... i wiki the methyl salicylate and now having doubts of mixing it :)<br>ill take your advise on putting dried bay and sage, il let you know how the smell would turn out in a couple of days ;)<br><br>thanks again ;)
GREAT JOB! Especially mentioning the whole &quot;DRY the herbs/etc&quot; part. There have been a few 'Ibles without that mention, and it bugs me. THANK YOU!<br><br>I also love that you've included the massage oil/botanical oils. Now I can smell good and cook with delicious oils! Have you tried lavender? I have not but am curious to see what it smells like in an oil base...
Thanks for your comment. I have tried lavender, it is really nice definitely one of my favorites.
How would you use these oils? Heating them up, with reed infusors or just laying them out in a bowl or open bottle?

About This Instructable




Bio: I like sewing and crafts,and trying new things. I'm vegetarian and always looking for new recipes. My cat's name is Mirko and ... More »
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