Infused oil: Extracting the essential oil from herbs and spices to make infused oil is an ancient method of adding some more flavour to cooking. Infusion of oil is a simple process of transferring flavour and scent into the carrier oil that is chosen for infusion. The process of making infused oil is easy and can be used by every housewife to get some twist in their daily cooking method and taste.
Uses of Infused oil
Infused oil can be used instead of whole herbs and spices which add more and quick flavour to vegetables and meat products. They also serves as great dressing for salads, marinades and sauces. Infused oils have also become important part of aromatherapy, massaging oils and as an integral part of beauty products like soaps and lotions.
What to use to make Infused oil?
Anything could be used to make an infused oil such as there are number of spices like cinnamon, cloves, garlic, peppercorns and herbs such as basil, mint, oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary, lemongrass etc. Along with this you can also use citrus like lemon, sun-dried tomatoes and variety of nuts such as walnuts and pine nuts can be used. Don’t try to use too many in one dish as it can spoil the taste. And try to use fresh herbs and spices if possible as it will give better aroma and taste. If you are using nuts to make nut-infused oil, try to use raw and unsalted variety. And remember that this nut-infused oil would taste different from that market oil which is prepared by pressing and crushing of nuts to get oil.
How to make infused oil?
There are two ways to make infused oil.
Infused oil can be prepared by grinding desired herb or spices and then heating it in oil. You have to cook them for few minutes and allow to cool. Strain the oil and use for your dish to add extra flavour. You can also use whole spices, but it is recommended to use ground spices or herbs to get more and strong flavour.
Another way to make infused oil is by just adding the herbs and spices to the jar and then pouring oil over it. Allow the spice or herb to settle in oil and keep it under sunlight. Exposure to sunlight will allow to extract ingredients and chemicals into oil slowly. It is slow process than the first one but very effective too.
How to store infused oil?
You can store this infused oil in refrigerator so that it can last for few weeks.
Allow the infused oil to remain at room temperature for 15 minutes before using it for cooking process.
Most important precaution is that never use this oil for deep frying as it will burn easily.
Note: Try to mix and match different spices, herbs, aromatics, citrus and nuts to get unique and your favourite combination.
So next time when you are confused about what to gift your friend, a bottle of infused oil could be a impressive gift.