Why Use Herbal Infusions?
When an herbal oil infusion is called for in a recipe, the concept is quite simple. The carrier oil has been steeping with the herbs and has now taken on the properties of those herbs. The herbs can then be strained out and the oil used in various recipes.
HOW TO MAKE HERBAL OILS
Using the Simmer Method
This method is great when you are short on time.
- Combine the oil and herbs in the bowl of a double boiler. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Carefully strain the herbs from the oil using a coffee filter or several layers of cheesecloth. Be quick with this step, especially if using a fat like coconut oil that solidifies at room temperature. Press the herbs gently to extract all of the oil.
- Use the herb-infused oil in your favorite recipe.
Using the Solar Method
If you are not in a rush or have the foresight to create the herb-infused oil ahead of time, you can do it gently with just the warmth of the sun.
- Add the herbs to an appropriate sized, clear glass jar. Cover herbs in the same volume of oil as you wish to use in your recipes. Be sure that all of the herbs are completely submerged in the oil.
- Place the jar in a sunny window and leave in direct sunlight for 4-6 weeks. Every once in a while give the herbs a shake to redistribute them throughout the oil.
- After the steeping time is up, strain off the herbs from the oil using a coffee filter or several layers of cheesecloth. Press the herbs gently to extract all of the oil. Use in your favorite recipe.
Note that in the solar method it is important that the oil remain a liquid throughout the process. If you do not live in a warm climate it is therefore a good idea to use either a very small percentage of coconut oil in the oil mixture or to use exclusively oils that are a liquid at room temperature.