If you are looking for ways to improve your cooking experience, infused olive oil may be the key. Here is a beginner's guide on infused olive oil.
Do you want a healthy way to improve the quality and taste of your cooking? Since 2500 BCE, olive oil has been used in religious ceremonies in the Mediterranean and soon developed into a delicious ingredient in a variety of recipes. Infused olive oil may be the answer you've been looking for.
From a dip to a drizzle to an essential recipe ingredient, adding infused olive oil to your recipes creates more depth of flavor through the addition of herbs, citrus, garlic, and more.
Read on to learn all about infused olive oil, how the process works, and how it can benefit your cooking experience today!
How to Make Infused Olive Oil at Home
You'll find that making infused olive oil is a simple but rather time-consuming process. It's all about carefully choosing and preparing the best ingredients so that you get a flavorful end result.
1. Choosing Flavorings
Since infused oil ingredients are all about the flavor, you'll want to flavorings for oil that are dried because they can more easily add to the intensity of the flavor. However, you don't have to use dried ingredients, and fresh herbs can be used as well. You'll need to use up your infused olive oil faster so that the ingredients stay fresh.
If you have fresh ingredients that you'd like to dry out, spread them out on a baking tray and place them in an oven at about 200 degrees Fahrenheit for up to two hours. Oven temperatures can vary, so make sure you check your fresh herbs at least every hour so you can make sure they don't burn!
Lemons are also a popular option to add to olive oil. Scrub them thoroughly in hot water and with a vegetable peeler, use long strokes to remove the top layer, or the zest, in long to medium strips. Remember that you only want the yellow layer and not the white pith–this will give you the best taste without bitterness.
2. Infusing the Ingredients
Once you choose and prepare the ingredients, its time to infuse them with the olive oil. You'll want to heat up about two cups of olive oil in a saucepan, but not enough that it will start cooking. You can also measure the amount of liquid your bottle is able to hold and add that amount to your saucepan.
If the oil starts bubbling, you'll know that it's too hot. The low to medium setting on your oven is usually enough.
Add your fresh and dried ingredients as the olive oil is heating up. You'll want the olive oil and ingredients to simmer together on low heat for about twenty minutes. However, some people recommend infusing the ingredients for up to an hour on very low heat (100 degrees Fahrenheit).
Regardless of the method you choose, you'll know the infused oil is ready once the oil starts taking on some of the color and smell of the ingredients you're using.
3. Storing Infused Oil
Once the time is up, remove your saucepan from the heat and let it cool before pouring the infused olive oil into a clean glass bottle. A funnel will make this far easier and it will also keep the herbs, lemon peels, or other ingredients from falling into the bottle with the olive oil. If you don't have a funnel, use a cheesecloth to strain the oil into your bottle.
If you've used dried ingredients, the oil can be stored and kept fresh in a cool, dry, and dark place for several months. Remember to label your bottle with the ingredients and the date you made it so you can keep track, especially if you've made several different batches.
How to Use Infused Olive Oil
Once you have a batch of freshly made infused olive oil, you may be wondering what you can use it as besides salad dressing. Here are a few ideas to get your creativity, imagination, and salivation working.
If you're a fan of the bread dip they offer at Italian restaurants, your infused olive oil is up to the task. Whether you infused it with lemon, herbs, or garlic, it'll add a delicious flavor to any bread.
Oil for Drizzling
Remember that drizzling oil on your recipes is a healthy way to add a punch of flavor to any recipe. Pizza and any type of flatbread can especially benefit from a little drizzle–plus they'll look beautiful, too. It can also be added to scrambled eggs for an extra kick.
Any kind of roasted vegetable can benefit from the added ingredient of infused olive oil. Since vegetables are often roasted in herbs, herbal infused olive oil is often recommended for the most appetizing flavor profile.
Remember that infused olive oil isn't just for savory dishes. Try adding a little basil or lemon-infused olive oil to a fruit salad and see how it adds depth and extra tastiness to something you've already tried dozens of times.
Improving Your Cooking Repertoire
By knowing how infused olive oil is made and adding it to your own recipes, you'll find that it's an easy way to add depth of flavor without breaking the bank. Even better, olive oil's anti-inflammatory properties, monosaturated fats, and other health benefits make it a great addition to any meal.
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