Whether you’re looking to spice up a salad or add some pizazz to roasted veggies, infused oils can really give your cooking a kick!
I’m a little bit obsessed with infused oils and vinegars lately. When my family and I were in Orlando over Easter weekend, we headed down to Winter Park, where there is an entire store dedicated to infused olive oil and infused balsamic vinegar. What?? I can not tell you how many sorts I tasted, but holy moly, they were delicious! My favorites were the chili- or mushroom-infused oils and the vinegars with an herbed kick. My pops treated me to some mushroom oil, but in general gourmet ingredients like this are a little bit outside of my price range.
It turns out, though, that you can make your own oil and vinegar infusions on the cheap! Check it.
How to Make Infused Oil
There are two ways to infuse oils: the hot method and the cold method. The hot method is faster, but the cold method seems like less work. I like less work, so let’s go with that one!
Here are some good flavoring ingredients to infuse your oil:
- fresh herbs
- citrus zest
- dried mushrooms
- dried chilis
- fresh garlic cloves
Some good oils to use:
- olive oil
- walnut oil
- organic canola oil
- grapeseed oil
Place your flavoring ingredient into a small, clean glass container. Add enough oil to cover, and let it steep in the refrigerator for a few days, shaking it once a day. Your oil might congeal a little from the cold, and that’s ok. Let it warm up to room temperature before using, and you’re good to go.
You can strain the oil or leave your ingredients in there – your choice! You want to use your infused oil within a week.
How to Infuse Vinegar
When I was marathon training, I got super into vinegar. Maybe my body was craving salt? Whatever the reason, I was dousing most of my food in vinegar. I wish I’d thought to make some yummy flavored ones!
Some vinegars to try infusing:
- balsamic vinegar
- white vinegar
- apple cider vinegar
- white wine vinegar
Yummy infusion ingredients:
- fresh herbs
- citrus zest
Fill up a clean glass container with your herbs or zest, then add enough vinegar to cover. Let it steep in a sunny windowsill for a few days to a week, shaking the bottle once a day. Smell and taste it every day or so to see if it’s strong enough. If so, move it to a cool dark spot, like the pantry. You will want to strain out citrus zest or figs, but you can leave the herbs in there for the pretty factor. Your infused vinegar should keep for a few weeks.
I also found this awesome recipe for chocolate-infused balsamic vinegar. They had chocolate vinegar at that store in Winter Park, and it was super delicious. I’m definitely going to be making this!
Have you guys made any fun infused oils or vinegars? I’d love to hear about them!
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by juicylucymamma