Infusing Olive Oils

What’s a good gift for someone who seems to have just about everything? Well, if he or she loves cooking, infused olive oils are a great option. Not only is handcrafting a gift for someone you care about incredibly thoughtful, infused olive oils are especially useful for culinary academy students or grads. Any type of recipe that utilizes olive oil can be taken to the next level with some extra zest. Here are some tips for infusing olive oil with your favorite flavors:goog

How to infuse olive oil

Infusing olive oil is really quite simple. Choose an olive oil that isn’t too expensive – after all, you’ll be altering the flavor of it significantly. Choose the lightest kind available if you want it to take on most of the flavors of the infusing ingredients.

Next, you’ll want to choose what flavors you want the olive oil to take on. You can select nuts, spices, herbs and even fruits or vegetables. Rosemary, lemon zest. red pepper flakes and basil are all popular ingredients. You can use one flavor or mix up some of your favorites. According to Epicurious, it takes about two tablespoons of flavor for each cup of oil. There are two ways to prepare your olive oil:

On the stove: Put the oil and infusing flavors in a saucepan, and let the mix heat for about five minutes. Allow it to cool and strain the ingredients out before putting the oil in a decorative bottle. Depending on the size of the particles, a regular strainer or a cheesecloth will work best. Bottle it in an airtight container, like one with a cork.

In the oven: Put your oil and flavors in a bowl or on a baking sheet and bake it for about 40 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the mix cool, and strain the ingredients out before bottling it.

Many people keep herbs and other ingredients in the olive oil bottles if they’re gifting it because it looks pretty. However, keeping these things in the oil will cause it to get cloudy. While this won’t affect the taste, it will end up being less aesthetically appealing.

Infused olive oil can be great for party favors and gift ideas.Have the best experience

Your infused oils will be good for about a month if kept properly in the refrigerator. So if you’re giving them as a gift, don’t make them too far ahead of time, and let the recipient know how long their oil will last. It’s also important to remember that while regular olive oil is ideal for frying, infused olive oil isn’t, especially if the herbs or spices are left in there. These ingredients will burn quickly.

Be safe

While canning and bottling is typically safe, there are rare instances that botulism bacteria can grow, especially if the ingredients you’re infusing with retain water. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to avoid botulism and any other type of bacteria growth:

  • If you’re infusing your oil with anything that holds moisture, like fresh herbs, vegetables or fruit peels, or garlic, be sure to refrigerate them once they’re in the olive oil.
  • Preserving the ingredients in vinegar before putting them in the olive oil is a good way to prevent bacteria growth – it may alter the taste of the olive oil, though.
  • Your best bet is to select dried ingredients. If you’re using herbs or dried peppers, simply put them in a food dehydrator or leave them out in the sun before putting them in the olive oil.
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