Folk Method for Making Herbal Oil

  1. Start with a clean, dry jar. Fill a glass jar halfway with dried herbs.*
  2. Add olive oil, filling to the rim. Stir out the air bubbles with a chop-stick.
  3. Put on the lid.
  4. Place the jar in a sunny window for 3-10 days (the longer the stronger!).
  5. You want the oil to heat slightly. In the winter, I put my oils on top of the radiator.
  6. Strain herbs from oil using a strainer, cheese-cloth, or square of muslin. Discard herbs.

In the kitchen, you can use herbal oils for both their flavor and health benefits. Use the oil you have infused for cooking, dipping, or as a salad dressing. For the kitchen, you'll want to use herbs such as rosemary, thyme, turmeric, or oregano.

You can also infuse oils for using externally on the body. An infusion of comfrey or arnica is great for making muscle rubs, ginger and cayenne are warming (I love to rub a warming oil on my cold toes in the winter time) and lavender or plantain will cool a bump or bite. I often add an infused oil of rose or calendula to my face creams because of their long standing reputation as skin balms.

Finally, infused oils make wonderful ingredients in other recipes such as salves, lip balms, or massage oils.

*Why dried herbs? Remember the saying “water and oil don't mix?” Fresh plants have a lot of water in them. The water can cause mold to grow in your oil. If you want to use herbs from your garden, rinse them, then lay or hang them to dry for a few days before making your oil.

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