Many people are using olive oil not only to improve their health but to improve the flavor of food too. Olive oil infuses well with subtle flavorings and aroma, making it more pleasant to the appetite. Infused olive oil is best for pop corn vegetable salads, pizza crusts and toast bread. With just the right amount and blend of herbs and flavorings, your dish will surely become a better meal. To give you step by step instructions on how to infuse aroma to your olive oil, read on.
- Prepare the herbs and spices that you want to use. You must choose these ingredients according to your own preference. For example, if you are planning to bake a pizza, certain kind of herbs must be used. There is a wide variety of flavors that you can infuse with your olive oil. You can use rosemary, citrus peels, garlic cloves, thyme, tarragon, and many others. Choose the most appropriate type of herb according to the flavor you want to bring out. If you have no idea what taste you like, you may try the basic rosemary flavoring. For this, you need four sprigs of rosemary, a citrus peel, a piece of ginger and thyme. You can also use other herbs like tarragon.
- Prepare the oil. Put the fresh and unused olive oil in the pan. For better results, you can use virgin olive oil (quite expensive) if you can afford to buy one. If the price of virgin olive oil is too steep for you, use the regular unused olive oil.
- Mix the ingredients with the oil. Combine the ingredients and the oil by mixing them gently. Make sure that the juices of the ingredients are blended well. Leave the herbs, flavorings and spices submerged in the oil for about five hours.
- Heat the oil together with the ingredients in low heat. After five hours, turn the gas range on and heat the mixture in low to medium heat. Stir occasionally. Avoid overcooking. Do not cover the pan because it will create a condensing effect that might ruin the flavors. When the mixture starts to sizzle, turn off the heat.
- Cool the oil down for about 10 minutes. Let the heat leave the oil. While it is cooling down, the flavorings of the ingredients will now be infused into the oil. Set aside for one hour.
- Discard the ingredients. Using a strainer or cheesecloth, remove the herbs from the oil. Drain the mixture wall and discard the herbs. Put the oil in a glass, stainless steel or ceramic container. Avoid placing it in a plastic container because the flavor and color of the oil will get retained in the container. Do not use metal containers either because they produce unwanted metallic reactions that will affect the oil’s quality and may even endanger your health.
With herbs as enhancers, infused oil can retain its flavor and aroma for about 1 to 2 months. However, if the flavorings in the oil have water content, it may last for only a week. Make sure to use the infused oil within these given periods. You must used infused olive oil only if the flavors and aroma are appropriate for the dish you are serving.