What is Infused Oil?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Infused oil is oil that has the addition of herbs, spices or fragrant leaves. It can either be used for cooking or for massage depending upon the ingredients used for the infused oil. In most cases, infused oil is used in cooking, and is especially good in final products where one can taste the oil, such as salad dressings.

Safflower oil, from the safflower plant, has a mild flavor, making it a good base for infusing herbs.
Safflower oil, from the safflower plant, has a mild flavor, making it a good base for infusing herbs.

There are several methods for making infused oil, but the first step is to sterilize the container one will be using. Consider a wine bottle, or one can sometimes purchase decorative oil bottles. It is very important to take this first step to avoid the oil harboring bacteria.

Massage therapists often use infused oils as part of a massage.
Massage therapists often use infused oils as part of a massage.

The easiest method is to simply add an herb to the sterilized bottle and allow the oil to infuse for several weeks. The oil will have a light taste of the herb or spice used. Other methods will yield a stronger tasting infused oil.

Basil is often infused in oils, especially those used for cooking.
Basil is often infused in oils, especially those used for cooking.

Most other methods call for gently heating the oil. One can do this on a stovetop, in a microwave oven, or in a crock-pot. As well, slightly crushing herbs like tarragon, basil, or rosemary will have the herbs give off more flavor. This step is unnecessary for cinnamon sticks or allspice.

Safflower oil.
Safflower oil.

Once the oil is slightly warmed, one stuffs the bottle with chosen ingredients and pours the oil over the top. The oil should then be kept in a cool, dry place for at least two weeks. One can perform a taste test of the infused oil after a week to see if it is getting sufficiently strong. If there is no taste of the herbs used, add more.

One can use a variety of oils to make infused oil. It is best to understand the oil’s storage capabilities. For example, peanut oil and olive oil must be refrigerated before and after they become infused oil or they will become rancid.

In general, choose oil that does not have a strong flavor. Light olive oil, peanut oil, and safflower oil, are all better choices than walnut oil, for example. One can also purchase infused oil in multiple varieties at gourmet food stores. With these, observe instructions for storage as well.

When making infused oil, choose peanut or another oil with a mild flavor.
When making infused oil, choose peanut or another oil with a mild flavor.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Farmer

How much oil to herb do i need to make a spray for my horses?

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