Herb-infused cooking oils can add a welcome fragrance or taste note to your home-cooked meals. Not only that, but many of them can also be used as a moisturizer or to treat small cuts and scrapes.
Here are five herb-infused recipes for your cooking oil. For these, you’ll want to use plant oils with a long shelf life and low smoke point. Try using almond, coconut, or sunflower, but olive oil is great too if that’s all you have in the pantry.
You can either use the “folk method,” which is letting the herbs naturally infuse into the oil by sitting in the sun for a couple of weeks, the “heat method,” which involves a simple saucepan, or the “double-boiling method,” which is quickest.
Garlic-infused olive oil (heat method)
Take a small saucepan and heat four smashed or finely cut garlic cloves in a quarter cup of olive oil. Make sure to stir the garlic every few minutes to keep it from burning. Simmer until the garlic is light brown (around half an hour), and then take it off the heat. Let it sit and cool for another half hour, and then strain into a mason jar. Preferably, you’d want to use cheesecloth, but a sieve will do. This mixture will keep in the fridge for at least a month.
Lemon-balm-infused olive oil (folk method)
For this antioxidant-infused recipe, put dried lemon balm leaves in a mason jar and fill it up a third of the way with lemon balm leaves and then fill it up the same amount, covering the leaves, with olive oil. Seal it, and let it sit in a sunny spot on the windowsill for around four weeks before straining. This will keep in your fridge for about a month.
Lavender-Infused Oil (folk method)
This goes great in savory or sweet dishes, and it can soothe itchy skin. Pick lavender buds that are about to bloom and let them dry out in a mason jar. Fill the jar up a third of the way, match that with your choice of olive or almond oil, and let it sit in the sun for about four weeks. Strain with a cheesecloth and then use it to cook or even as a massage oil. This will keep for a month too.
Plantain-leaf-infused oil (folk method)
These don’t have much flavor on their own, but they do have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. And in oil, they go great with a summer salad. Dry out organic plantain leaves in a sterile area and repeat the steps from previous oils: one-third leaves and one-third oil in a mason jar. This also should keep for a month.
Rosemary-infused olive oil (folk method)
“There’s rosemary. That’s for remembrance,” Ophelia, Hamlet. Indeed, rosemary has cognitive-improving qualities and antioxidant properties. It also is a wonderful addition to most savory dishes. So, fill a mason jar a third of the way with dried rosemary leaves, match that with olive oil, and let it sit for four weeks on a sunny windowsill. Once you’ve strained it in cheesecloth, make sure to put a few new sprigs of rosemary in there for aesthetics.