Making Your Own Infused Oils
By Constance Smith
This year I had the biggest garden I have ever had, and I grew more herbs than I have ever grown. Besides the usual culinary purposes for herbs, I like to use them in other ways as well. Some I grew for teas; some I grow for medicinal purposes; and some can be used all three ways.
This year one of the new herbs I grew was chamomile. While most people would think of chamomile as a flower or as tea, it can be used for many things – to include infused oil. Infused oils are oils that have been infused with herbs and are used for a number of things, like lotions, salves, massage oils, medicinal balms and more.
When making your own herbal infused oils, you would start – of course – with oil. You can use olive oil, grapeseed oil or coconut oil. If you are using coconut oil, use fractionated coconut oil. That is the oil that remains liquid – not the kind you cook with.
The herbs you use should be completely dry. If there is moisture in the herbs, you will run the risk of the herbs molding or becoming rancid.
To make the infused oil, combine a cup of oil with a half-ounce of dry herbs. Combine them in an air-tight glass container; a canning jar works perfectly for this. Place the jar in a sunny location, somewhere you will see it every day. Each day, give the jar a gentle shake. Allow the oil and herb combination to do its thing for two to four weeks.
After the oil has become infused, strain out all of the herbs using a very fine strainer or cheese cloth. Store the oil in a fresh air-tight glass container for up to six months in a cabinet.
Quick Infusion Method
If you are in a hurry, there is a quicker way to make your infused oils. Again, you need the oil and dry herbs, but this time, you will use heat rather than time to do the job.
Combine the oil and herbs in an oven-safe dish. The herbs should be covered with oil and not exposed to the air.
Heat your oven to 300 degrees. Place the dish in the oven, and bake it at a low temperature for two or three hours. Strain the oil as you do in the first method while the oil is still warm. Allow it to cool and store it as before.
A Simple Salve
To make a simple salve for your hands – great for winter weather – you’ll need just a few simple things. Salves will last up to a year. One of my favorite combinations for winter, is a mint-infused oil with citrus essential oil. Have fun experimenting with different combinations!
3 oz. herb-infused oil
1/2 oz. beeswax
10-20 drops essential oil
Empty tins with lids
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a double boiler and melt over low heat.
2. Pour the mixture into tins and allow it to cool before you place the caps on.