Infuse Oil in Small Batches to Ensure Better Flavor, Food Safety -BYLN- by Karen Collins American Institute for Cancer Research
Q. I've been seeing flavored olive oil infused with herbs at gourmet shops, but it's very expensive. Can I make my own?
A. Yes, you can. The procedure for making it safely depends on how long you want to keep your flavored oil. Either way, you need to start with a clean bottle or jar with a tightfitting lid to store it.
If you are going to use up your flavored oil within a week you can use any fresh herb or mixture of herbs that you like. The moisture in fresh herbs, garlic and citrus support the growth of deadly Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which can cause botulism so you should date your oil and use or throw it away within seven days of making. These bacteria can grow rapidly in an oxygen-free environment like oil.
If using fresh herbs, wash thoroughly before combining with oil, and store the mixture in the refrigerator. Try adding other ingredients, too, such as garlic and lemon or orange peel, to these oils you'll use up quickly.
If you want to make homemade herb-infused olive oil that you can store up to three months unrefrigerated in your cabinet, it's important that you use only dried herbs. You can use commercial dried herbs you buy in jars, or fresh herbs that you have washed and then dried to remove all their natural moisture. These must be thoroughly dried in a food dehydrator or by leaving them in the sun; then you can add them to the olive oil.
All you need to do is mix this pre-flavored oil with lemon juice or the vinegar of your choice, and you'll have a delicious, practically zero-sodium salad dressing.
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