Infusing Olive Oils

Infusing Olive Oil
Leonardo Olive Oil June 27, 2015 DIY, Featured 953 Views

I’ve had great success with infused olive oil dressings and dips at dinner parties. It makes for some truly memorable, lip-smacking dishes, and is also an enormous amount of fun to cook with.

Whether you’re feeling creative, hungry or generous (and want to give your friends or family the best meal they’ve ever had), making Infused Olive Oil is one of thoroughly satisfying processes that can enliven even the dullest of dull days.

The only problem is: there are so many ways you can infuse olive oil and so many tips and tricks and hacks floating around the web on how to do it, that I had a hard time figuring out where to start! Now that I’ve figured it out, I’m addicted to infusing olive oils, and always keep a bottle of Leonardo Olive Oil handy. Here is everything you need to know to Do It Yourself!

 Infusing Olive Oil requirements
Infusing Olive Oil requirements

Infusing Spices

When it comes to infusing spices, there’s a wide variety of choices to choose from: cumin to coriander to pepper- it’s every home cook’s dream come true!

You can flavour the olive oil with either whole or ground spices. There are mainly 2 methods by which you can start the infusion. Depending on how much time you have and what equipment is available, you can choose either of the two:

In-oven preparation: Place the oil and spices in an oven-safe bowl on a baking sheet in a 300° F oven for approximately 40 minutes. Remove the mixture from the oven and allow it to cool completely before straining.

Stovetop flavoured oil preparation: Heat the oil in a saucepan with the spices for approximately 5 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling lightly. Then remove it from the heat and allow it to cool off entirely before straining.

Once the oil is infused, using either of the methods, strain it using a fine-mesh sieve, then funnel the liquid into your storage bottles and voila! Prepare your sense for the explosion of flavour you’re about to pour over your favourite salad or appetizer.

Spices to try for infused olive oil
Spices to try for infused olive oil

Infusing Herbs

I must emphasise the importance of thoroughly washing and drying your herbs before getting started. Though the herbs themselves do not get infected, any water droplets left on them can lead to bacteria formation if left unattended.

Also make sure you use only fresh herbs: not only do they have much purer flavour than their dried counterparts, they give your oil a more vibrant colour as well- a treat for the palette and the eyes!

Soft herbs like basil and cilantro should be blanched, shocked, drained, and blended with the oil in a food processor before being heated.

Woody herbs like rosemary and thyme can simply be heated directly in the oil to infuse their flavour.

Which is my favourite? Definitely Rosemary!

Whether you use soft or woody herbs though, the infusion method is the same:

Warm the herbs and oil in a small saucepan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the oil is lightly bubbling. Remove it from the heat and let the oil cool completely before storing- and when I say completely, I mean it!

Herbs to try for infused olive oil
Herbs to try for infused olive oil

Infusing Aromatics

Oil infused with garlic, onion, or other aromatic vegetables is delicious for both dipping and cooking. Larger items like onions can be cut into rings or halved, while smaller ones, such as garlic cloves, can be left whole. It helps to release their flavours and fragrances by roasting aromatics before heating them in oil.

It’s important to thoroughly wash and dry your aromatics, even after you’ve peeled them, to remove all traces of dirt and impurities.

The process for infusing aromatics is a couple of more steps than the others:

Cook the aromatics at 350°F for 20 to 30 minutes, or until they’re slightly golden- whichever comes first. Then, in a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the aromatics in the oil for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling lightly. Remove from heat, and let the oil cool completely before funnelling it into vessels. The aromatics will continue infusing the oil, and their flavours will grow stronger over time.

I absolutely love experimenting with aromatic infused oil over a couple of weeks– the taste changes over time and make for some really interesting combinations!

Aromatics to try for infused olive oil
Aromatics to try for infused olive oil

While the process of infusing Olive Oils with various ingredients is extremely easy, there are some things that can throw us off track. Here are some quick things to keep in mind the next time you try it:

Best tips and tricks for infused olive oil
Best tips and tricks for infused olive oil