Creating an infused olive oil, or any other oil, is easy. Creating a herb vinaigrette for a dressing is similar to creating an infused olive oil (But without the vinegar), and the same principle applies.
The health benefits of olive oil make it a good choice for infusing. Because olive oil is so widely used both at home and in the culinary industry, we’ll show you how it in a wide variety of applications. However, it is important to select a neutral flavored oil such as canola, safflower or sunflower unless the flavoring goes well with olive oil (such as basil).
Cooking oils are quite hardy and have quite a long shelf-life, but because we’re changing the pH and adding particles when infusing oil, the shelf-life can be reduced quite drastically depending on the flavor infusion used.
For items such as nuts, the oil has a tendency to go rancid quickly and thus has to be keep refrigerated and used within a week or two. There is also the risk of botulism if the oil is not prepared properly. All moisture must be evaporated. The more flavoring items used in the oil, the longer it will take to process. Keep this in mind when using delicate flavor items as the long process time of other ingredients could destroy the flavor of the delicate item and turn bitter. Follow this procedure to eliminate any risks associated with botulism. Failure to do so could foster botulism bacteria and toxins inside the oil.
Basic Procedure For Infusing Oils
Use a heat tempered glass measure (500mL/18 fl. oz.) or a tin can (796mL/27 fl. oz) that has been thoroughly washed with the label removed.
- Heat the oil and flavoring ingredients in an oven set at 150C (300F) until the oil reaches a temperature of 120C (250F).
- Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes.
- Strain the oil through a coffee filter that has been presoaked in plain canola oil (Or olive oil if you’ve used that).
- Store the flavored oil in a covered clean glass jar or container in the refrigerator. Use within 1 month.
Heating times: 1 unit (250mL) – 1hr20min. 2 units (500mL) – 1hr40min. 3 units – 2hr. 4 units – 2hr20min. 5 units – 2hr40min. 6 units – 3hr.
Recommended Flavor Amounts per 250mL (8fl. oz) Oil
|Chili Peppers (Seedless)||15g||½ oz|
|Citrus Zest||40g||1-1/4 oz|
|Ginger root||25g||1 oz|
|Dried mushrooms||15g||½ oz|
|Peppercorns||10 each||10 each|
Once the infused oil has been prepared, you can serve it over many dishes including potatoes, soups, salads, entrees, starches, etc. A favorite of mine is using truffle oil drizzled over home made cream of mushroom soup. Keep in mind that if you are trying to infuse olive oil to watch the temperature to ensure it doesn’t heat up too much. Not only will it smoke and potentially ruin your oil, but the natural flavors of the olive oil can be lost if it is cooked at too high a temp. Cooking an oil at a high temp for sauteing or pan-frying changes the structure in the oil causing it to become entirely different. This is way it is never really advised to use high-quality olive oil for high temperature cooking. Instead, use a lower quality olive oil or use canola. Olive oil’s true health benefits can only be appreciated when it is used at low temperatures.