Gallery: DIY GIFT IDEA: Flavored Cooking Oils In Beautiful Bottles

 

What you’ll need:

  • A big bottle/vat of extra virgin olive oil
  • A large measuring cup with a spout
  • Pretty bottles
  • Dried herbs and spices as desired
  • A funnel
  • Measuring spoons

What you’ll need:

  • A big bottle/vat of extra virgin olive oil
  • A large measuring cup with a spout
  • Pretty bottles
  • Dried herbs and spices as desired
  • A funnel
  • Measuring spoons

How do I do this?

First and foremost, make sure the bottles, funnel, and spoons are clean.

For a cold-infusion method, add a couple of tablespoons of dried herbs/spices (according to the flavors desired) into the bottle using the funnel so they don’t scatter everywhere. Pour in oil to fill the bottle, cap it, and place it in a dark cupboard to infuse for 3-4 weeks to let the flavors develop. Then strain the contents into that spouted measuring cup, and funnel it back into the bottle.

For warm-infusion, heat your oil in a saucepan on med-high heat and add the same amount (or up to ¼ cup) of dried flavorings.  Turn the heat down and let it simmer for a couple of minutes, then set aside to cool. Strain through a fine metal strainer or cheesecloth, funnel into your bottles, and store in your cupboard.

When using dried herbs and spices, these flavored oils will be good to use for up to a year. These oils should be used as dipping/drizzling oils rather than to cook with — they can taste a bit scorched if heated too much.

Image by Jo Shontz

Do I have to use dried herbs? What if I want to use fresh ones?

Using fresh ingredients that still have moisture in them can lead to bacteria growth, and no-one wants to poison their friends. If you’re dead-set on using fresh herbs, then your method of oil-flavoring will be a bit different, and you’ll prepare this just a day or two before gifting it.

Heat the oil in a saucepan on medium heat, add the flavoring agents, and then remove from the heat to let it all steep. Once cooled, strain the oil and use your funnel to transfer it to your bottles, then refrigerate them. Tell the recipients to keep them in the fridge, and use them within 10 days. For fresh oils like this, it’s best to make smaller gift bottles so they’ll be used up quickly and nothing goes to waste.

If you do decide to use fresh herbs and spices, you can place sprigs of them into the bottles as decoration: since they’ll be used in a timely fashion, they’re not likely to go rancid or moldy, and the effect of branches of rosemary or tarragon along with whole peppercorns can really be quite beautiful.

Image by Jenny Downing

What herbs and spices do I use?

Think of the type of food that the recipient likes to cook the most, and use the herbs and spices from that region. Oils can be made simple by just using one flavoring agent, or with an intricate mix with several additives for something more complex.

Here are some ideas:

  • Spicy pepper oil: assorted dried pepper flakes (jalapeno, habanero, etc.)
  • Lemon and garlic
  • Tarragon and chive
  • Italian spices: oregano, rosemary, thyme, and basil
  • Herbes de Provence
  • Garlic and fennel
  • Basil, red pepper flakes, assorted peppercorns
  • Cumin, coriander, assorted pepper flakes

Be creative, be safe, have fun with this, and enjoy sharing the deliciousness of the holiday season with awesome people and fabulous food.

Lead Image: Assortment aromatic olive oil with herbs and spices via Shutterstock

LEAVE A COMMENT

or your inhabitat account below

Let's make sure you're a real person:


1 Comment

  1. jsv November 20, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Flavored olive oils and dressings make great gifts but watch out; there are safe and unsafe ways to make infused olive oil. The unsafe way is to put anything in the oil that contains any trace of water or moisture. That would include garlic, lemon peel, fresh peppers, fresh herbs and spices. The oil will not support bacterial growth but the water containing herbs will. Botulism bacteria can grow in this type of environment, even in a sealed bottle.

    http://www.oliveoilsource.com/page/infusing-olive-oil

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >