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ERIN SULLEY: Oils well that tastes well

I enjoy making small bottles of infused oils. It provides a nice selection when cooking. – Paul Pickett photo
I enjoy making small bottles of infused oils. It provides a nice selection when cooking. – Paul Pickett photo - Contributed

Homemade infused oils – have you made it? I absolutely love making my own infused oil for dipping bread. A lot of restaurants serve it as a pre-dinner treat. If you love a good crusty bread dipped in oil like I do – well, that’s a meal in itself with a small cheese and meat plate.

Making your own infused oil is the best. You can literally make any flavour you want.


“Olive you very much.” - Unknown
I like to start with a good quality olive oil, or if you prefer, use avocado oil. There are so many options for flavours. I like adding dried herb and spice.

Some people use fresh ingredients but I tend to stick with herbs that I dry from my garden or my neighbor Stephanie’s garden. You can make anything from a thyme blend, chili pepper blend, oregano blend, garlic blend and rosemary blend. Dried herb or spice is good place to start before you get more adventurous with recipes that call for fresh ingredients.
It doesn’t take too long for the oil to pick up the flavor of the spice or herb. Similar to a good marinade, the longer you leave it, the tastier it gets as the flavour intensifies.
You have a couple of options for making infused oils. You can simply add the herbs or spice directly to the bottle of oil. This is fine if you’re OK with letting the ingredients blend over a few weeks. If you’re looking for something you can use sooner, heat the oil slowly on a low temp, add your dry herb or spice and let the oil cool before storing in bottles.

 

 

 

You don’t need to chop the dried spice up too much. The coarse texture looks great through the bottle.
You don’t need to chop the dried spice up too much. The coarse texture looks great through the bottle.
“You gotta have good olive oil. You should have cooking olive oil and you should have a finishing olive oil like an extra virgin olive oil.” – Emeril Lagasse

I prefer leaving the herb and spice inside the bottle because it is more attractive. I like how the ingredients are distributed over my food for added colour. However, some people strain the ingredients before they bottle the oil. It really comes down to personal preference.

When storing your infused oil, head to your local dollar store and get some bottles without the pour spout.

Bottles that have a twist cap or stoppers. I know, you’re about to say, why not use the ones with the pour spout? Let’s all learn from my mistake shall we. The first time I made it, I used my typically olive oil bottle, not giving thought to my added ingredients. Problem is, they don’t flow out properly due to the small pour size. They got clogged up in the spout.

It’s the worst. I went from pleased as punch with myself for making homemade infused oil to a totally irritated and angry foodie. It wasn’t pretty.

Infused oils aren’t just great for dipping bread. It’s also a delicious way to add flavor to roasted veggies and rice. You heard me right. For rice, all you have to do is heat your pot, pour a tablespoon or two in the pot and add the rice. Let it sizzle in the pot with the oil for a few minutes before pouring in the water and voila – flavor-filled rice.

What did I make here? An Italian oregano, jalapeno and a garlic and roasted red pepper mixture. So delicious!
What did I make here? An Italian oregano, jalapeno and a garlic and roasted red pepper mixture. So delicious!

Infused oils are a great DIY gift. Anyone can bring a bottle of wine to supper, but how many can say they brought their own homemade infused oil? Put a little tag on it with the name and add “homemade by” and your gift becomes a topic of conversation. 

“Once you get involved with olive oil I think it starts circulating in your veins.” – Gregory Antoniadis

You should also give thought to how much you want to make. If you know you’re going to love the flavour, use a big bottle. However, if you want to try little samples, pour it into small mason jars and use a spoon for serving.
Infused oils are absolutely fit to eat. I hope you have more success on your first infused oil adventure than I did.

Let’s just say I have since learned from my mistake and am loving my homemade infused oil. I hope you do too. Enjoy!

Erin Sulley is a self-confessed foodie who lives in Mount Pearl. Email erinmsulley@gmail.comTwitter: @ErinSulley Instagram: @erinsulley


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