Infused oils bring herbal goodness into a carrier oil base. The oil can later be used as a base for a salve or it can be used alone as a massage or moisturizing oil. Infused oils can also be used in cooking (see warnings) and in ritual as a dressing or anointing oil.
All you need to make an infused oil is the carrier oil of your choice, some dried herbs and time.
I suggest dried herbs over fresh herbs because fresh herbs have more moisture and moisture trapped inside oil, sealed off from the air, can cause the growth of some pretty nasty bacteria. If you are using fresh herbs, get them as dry as possible, let them wilt a bit, and use the quicker heat-based method listed below. Your choice of herbs will, of course, depend upon the qualities you wish to infuse into your oil. You can use more than one herb if you like, but I prefer to infuse my herbs separately and then combine the infused oils.
Your choice of oil will depend upon the sort of qualities you need out of it. If you are using heat to infuse your herbs or if you are going to use heat to turn it into a salve, you’re better off using a more stable oil like coconut or grapeseed oil and avoid more delicate oils like flax or hempseed oil which need to be refrigerated and have a relatively short shelf-life. If you’re hoping the oil will take on the fragrance of the herbs, you will want to avoid oils that have a strong fragrance of their own, like olive oil. Each oil has its own additional qualities to bring to the mixture as well. Some are more emollient, some are astringent, etc.
On to the recipe
You will need
Enough oil to cover them completely with space to spare
- Fill a jar or other suitable container with dried herbs.
- Pour the oil over the herbs and cover. The herbs might rise up and float on the surface, give them a shake and let them settle.
- Now you have two choices. The “cold” method: You can place your herbs in a warm, dark place and allow the infusion to take place over about six to eight weeks, shaking the jar every day or two. (Many folks recommend placing the jar in the sunshine. Only do this if the walls of the container are solid or dark as light is not your friend here.) OR the hot method: Place your jar of oil in a slow cooker and add enough water to the bottom of the slow cooker to reach about halfway up the outside of the jar. Turn the slow cooker on low, or if it has a warming setting use that. If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can place the jar in a pot with water in your oven and turn on the over to 170 degrees Farenheight. This way, your infused oil will be done much sooner. Make sure to shake it a few times during the process.
- After your oil has infused to your liking, strain it through a very fine mesh strainer, cheesecloth or a tea towel.
- If you wish to add essential oils for their fragrance or other qualities, you may add them now.
- Store your infused oil in a cool place for the best shelf life.
You can now use your infused oil as is or use it in cooking recipes, salves, soaps, or other concoctions. Enjoy.