Infused olive oil is produced by cold pressing extra virgin olive oil and infusing it with fresh herbs, vegetables, and spices.
Infused olive oil enhances the taste of dishes, especially when used in place of spices and herbs.
The flavor & intensity of infused olive oil varies depending on the type of herbs used, duration of infusion, and method.
What is Infused Olive Oil?
Infused olive oil is oil that has been infused with the flavors of herbs, vegetables, spices, and other botanical extracts after pressing.
The longer an ingredient is infused in olive oil, the stronger the flavor of the oil.
The health benefit of infused olive oils is unique to the particular ingredients used in the infusion.
Infused olive oils have a subtle and delicate flavor that works great for many culinary purposes.
What is Infused Olive Oil Used For?
- Infused olive oils make an ideal gift with a personal touch.
- You can use infused olive oil for salad dressings and dipping for bread and vegetable sticks.
- You can also use infused olive oil for stir-frying and sautéing, preparing pasta and seafood, pan-searing, and lots more.
- Infused olive oil is also great for use in marinades for beef, poultry, and seafood.
What Type of Herbs & Vegetables Can Be Used for Infused Olive Oil?
Olive oil can be infused with a wide variety of herbs, vegetables, and spices with the most common and flavorful being:-
- Chili pepper
You can also add spices like saffron, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, paprika, coriander, cumin, caraway, etc.
Basic DIY Infused Olive Oil Recipe
This method is known as the hot infusion method and I prefer this method, which uses dried aromatics.
- Pour the dried herbs and extra virgin olive oil into a saucepan. 2 tablespoons of dried herbs for every cup of olive oil is ideal.
- Heat the olive oil to around 180 °F over low heat.
- Remove and set aside to cool down a bit.
- Once cool, pour the herbs and oil into an airtight jar.
Refrigerate and use within a month. If it starts smelling funny before the month is up, discard it at once.
If it doesn’t smell funny after a month, throw it out anyway and make a fresh batch.
You can customize the recipe with the herbs and vegetables that you prefer.
You can also use another type of oil if you like but extra virgin olive oil is the best type of oil for this recipe.
There’s a recipe card at the end of this article for you to print and have on hand when you’re ready to DIY infused olive oil.
Tips for the Best Infused Olive Oil
- Use very good quality extra virgin olive oil like the ones recommended at Guide to the Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil Brands.
- Use one herb per bottle. Lightly crush in a mortar and pestle before adding to the mix. This will release even more flavor into the oil. You can mix herbs if you prefer but you might not like the taste.
- You can enhance the infused oil flavor by toasting the herbs.
- Make sure the herbs and vegetables are completely dried. If you add anything with moisture to the infusion, it will lead to the growth of botulism bacteria, which can lead to paralysis of muscles if consumed. Read more on the risk of botulism in this article from the University of Maine.
- If you have fresh herbs, dry them out in a food dehydrator like this one here or leave them out on a tray for a few days.
- Use a container with a tight seal like canning jars or a glass bottle with a stopper. Wash and dry thoroughly before you pour in the olive oil and herbs.
Where to Buy Infused Olive Oil
If you’re not keen on making your own infused olive oil, you can purchase ready-made ones. I’ve made some recommendations below:-
Infused Olive Oil Shelf Life
The shelf life of infused olive oil isn’t very long. Using the hot infusion method recommended in this article, it will last about 3 weeks – 1 month.
Best to make in small batches and use up quickly to get the most out of it.
Does Infused olive Oil Need to be Refrigerated?
It depends on the production method. For cold infusion method, it needs to be refrigerated. Infused olive oil made with the hot infusion method doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
For commercial infused olive oil brands, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
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