Use the bounty from your garden to make herb infused oils
I’m sharing one of my favorite basic herb skills today. One that you will be glad you learned. Knowing how to make an herb infused oil is useful for a variety of health, skin care and culinary reasons. Once you’ve mastered this simple technique, you’ll use it over and over.
You can use it to make a tasty garlic or rosemary infused oil, which will make a wonderful addition to your salads this summer. NOTE: Culinary herb infused oils, made from fresh herbs, will only have a shelf life of up to a week (I’m being cautious). Because it is so easy to do, make what you need for short term use if you plan to use it in cooking.
You can also use herb infused oil as a base for many herbal preparations. The possibilities are endless and I’ve suggested a few ideas further down in this post. I’m using fresh rosemary for this tutorial, but dried herbs work just as well. These herb infused oils will have a shelf life of at least one year when stored in a cool, dark cupboard.
What kind of oils should you use? Oh my! The choices are endless.
Olive oil lasts longer, is readily available, and is less expensive that other oils. According to this post at Olive Oil Times, it boosts your immune system and is effective against cancer, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Olive oil is really good for your skin too. People have used olive oil for centuries for personal care. It is a great skin moisturizer, in part because it contains linoleic acid, a compound that prevents water from evaporating. Extra Virgin Olive Oil on Amazon
Grape seed oil, made from crushed grape seed (of course) will be lighter on your skin. It’s easily absorbed and gentle on the skin. Known in the cosmetics industry as a carrier oil, grape seed oil us used in a wide variety of commercially available creams and lotions. You can use this to your benefit when making your own quality infused oils. Grape Seed Oil on Amazon
Sesame Oil is known for its warming and medicinal properties. It has natural sunscreen properties and is often used as a moisturizer to repair damaged skin cells. It is safe to apply sesame oil to inflamed or wounded skin and is used for treating skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help prevent bacterial infections. Sesame Oil on Amazon
It is not necessary to add other ingredients or mix it with other types of essential oils. As the oil is extracted from sesame seeds, it is already an antibacterial substance.
Almond oil is good for dry, mature and sensitive skin. Skin irritation, such as itching and swelling, can also be reduced with topical applications of almond oil. There are many skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema that cause inflammation of the skin, as well as redness and an itchy rash. Apply almond oil to temporarily relieve the inflammation and the irritation associated with these conditions. For some, however, almond oil can be a skin irritant, so before applying it to the skin, a small patch test should be done to determine if you have an allergy, or sensitivity, to almond oil. Sweet Almond Oil on Amazon
Palm oil is the second most common vegetable oil produced worldwide. It has benefits to your hair and skin as well. It contains Vitamin E, which is a strong antioxidant that helps the skin to fight the agents that damage your skin and cause fine lines and wrinkles.
It is useful in shampoos, soaps, and lotions for its ability to remove oil and dirt from hair and skin. It also contains an agent that helps restore the natural oils that most soaps and shampoos strip away. Palm Kernel Oil on Amazon
Coconut oil is the newest “go to” oil in the cosmetic business. It has properties of all the above oils combined. It has strong disinfectant and antimicrobial properties. As a result, when applied on the skin, coconut oil protects you from microbial infections that can get into open wounds or even enter the body through the pores. Do some research for yourself and see where you can incorporate coconut oil into your diet and skin care regiment. Organic Coconut Oil on Amazon
Other oils you might consider trying – castor oil, avocado oil, red palm oil, shea butter, walnut oil, even organic vegetable shortening has its own set of good for your skin properties. Check your local grocery store and see what kind of oil they carry. Most of these other oils and butters can be found at the local whole foods store or online at Amazon.
Make Your Own Herb Infused Oil Using the Double Boiler Stove Top Method
Choose an oil and herb to use. This batch is made with 1 cup extra virgin olive oil and four stalks of rosemary from my garden.
Lightly chop the herbs, removing any woody stems. Make sure your herbs are clean and dry. If you are using fresh herbs, collect them in the morning after the dew has dried and let them wilt for an hour or two before using. That will ensure that you won’t introduce water into your oil and it will last longer.
Place dried herbs and oil together in a double boiler . If you don’t have one, you can make a substitute from two different sized saucepans, with water in the bottom pan.
Slowly warm the herbs and oil, at the lowest temperature you can manage, for 30-60 minutes. Make sure the oil does not get too hot. You are not cooking the herbs, but heating the oil. The longer you are able to warm at a low temp, the stronger your infusion will be.
Let the oil and herbs cool and strain them through a strainer or cheesecloth. The herbs go in the compost.
Keep your herb infused oil a glass jar and don’t forget to label it with the kind of oil and herbs used. Storage time 1 year.
I like to keep a notebook with my favorite herb and oil blends. I keep specific notes about the amount of herbs used, how long I heated it for and even what the temperature and humidity were on the day I created it.
How to use your herb infused oil
An herb infused oil is perfect for your body, Use it to remove makeup, make a creamy lotion, a lotion bar, or add it to your own sunscreen.
Depending on the type of oil and herb you’ve chosen, it may be just the creation you need for cooking. Consider adding basil, mint, lemon, pepper or garlic to your oil. There really is no limit to the things you can add that will be fabulous in the kitchen.
Know the medicinal uses of the herbs you add to your infused oil. After the infusion. you can mix it with beeswax to make a salve. Some of the best herbs to enhance skin and hair are:
Infused oil uses
Sore Muscle – St Johns wort, ginger and a touch of cayenne to increase circulation
Dreamtime – Mugwort, lavender. and chamomile
Wound healing and chapped skin– calendula, yarrow. and plantain
Do a search “herb infused oil recipes” and see what other fantastic ideas you can find online.
I promise, if you take the time to learn this useful skill, you will use it for years to come. An infused oil is useful for many healthy home remedies and complements your herb garden nicely. Leave a comment below and tell me about your favorite herb and what oil you like to use.