Rosemary Infused Olive Oil

Rosemary is our ingredient of the season. A few weeks ago we infused vodka with rosemary and made bloody marys; today we’re infusing olive oil.  Find other rosemary concoctions here. 

Oil infusion may be my new favorite hobby.  I’m a first timer, but I’m here to rave about it.  Make this rosemary infused olive oil and thank yourself while cooking all your future meals.  I felt like a little chemist with the measuring, pouring, heating and transferring (sorry to all the chemists I’ve just insulted).  Oil infusion may not be the most exciting or glamorous activity for a Friday night, but it’s so stinkin’ easy and it’s plain stinkin’ too.  It makes your entire home smell super fresh.  The green herbs combined with warm olive oil ease your senses into an aromatic daydream.  Personally I was skipping along green hillsides in Italy.  I’m excited to try other herbs and even fruits like lemons and oranges.  A little basket of different oils and yummy breads would make a great gift for a chef or a snacker or an anyone.

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Ingredients and Materials:

  • 6 Fresh Rosemary Sprigs
  • 2.5 cups Olive Oil
  • Bottle with a cork or tight-fitting cap
  • Small sauce pot
  • Funnel

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The main ingredient in this recipe is time.  It’s not labor intensive by any means, but it is a necessary component for successful infusion.

The how:

  • Wash the bottle that you’ll be using to store the infused oil.  I picked up a standard olive oil bottle at a craft store for $5.
  • Gather six sprigs of rosemary and wash them under cool water.  Carefully rub your fingers over the stem and leaves to ensure any dirt or chemicals are washed away.  Don’t soak your stems in water to clean them; they’ll absorb the water and won’t dry fully.
  • Lay your washed sprigs of rosemary on a clean dishtowel or stack of paper towels.  Allow them to dry for a few hours.  I did this step the night before and when I woke up my living room smelled clean even though it looked a mess.  You could also speed up the drying process by putting the sprigs in the oven on warm for a couple minutes.  If you go this route, be careful not to brown the rosemary, you want it to taste fresh not burnt.
  • Once the rosemary is completely dry, put the sprigs into your chosen container.  Don’t rush the drying process; water and oil don’t mix and that’s especially true in this recipe.  If there’s any water on the rosemary leaves or in the bottle, there’s a possibility that mold will form and ruin your batch.  Take the time to properly dry your materials. Say no to mold!
  • Next pour enough olive oil to fill your chosen container into a clean sauce pot.  Somehow I guessed my container’s volume correctly at 2.5 cups, but you could always fill your container with water and then pour it into a measuring cup. (Feel free to spend as much or as little on the olive oil as your budget allows.  I used a common low cost brand and it tasted great!)
  • Heat the oil over medium heat for five minutes.  You simply want to warm up the oil.  Remove the olive oil from the stove and let sit for a few minutes.  You don’t want it to be so hot that moisture forms inside the cool bottle.
  • After a few minutes, use a ladle to funnel the warm oil into your chosen container.  As you can see, I poured my oil from the sauce pot into a glass teapot.  I moved into a new apartment a couple months ago after not having an apartment for two years (I was teaching overseas and living with family members) so there are a lot of kitchen gadgets that haven’t found their way into my home yet.  The teapot was the only vessel I could think of that had a narrow spout and it ended up working perfectly for pouring.
  • Once the warm oil is in the container, cork it or cap it and put it in the back corner of your fridge for two weeks.  If the oil looks a little cloudy or hardens, that’s normal.  After a couple weeks, take the oil out of the fridge. (I used mine after only ten days and I could taste and smell the rosemary)  Once the infused oil returns to room temperature the cloudiness will disappear and it will return to liquid form. As you use the oil, the rosemary sprigs will stand above the oil, gently shake the bottle around to knock them down into the oil or it’s possible that mold could form.  After about a week, I strained the rosemary sprigs out the oil and two months later, I’m still enjoying the last few tablespoons.

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I like to enjoy rosemary infused olive oil on bread or while cooking.  It’s especially yummy in salad dressing, sauces and marinades.  It’s so flavorful that I roast veggies using only the rosemary oil, salt and pepper and they turn out great!  I can’t wait to try out another herb, fruit or spice.  Is there any ingredient you’d like me to experiment with?  Peppercorns and garlic could be just the dressing my summer sandwiches are missing.

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