By: Brandon Ketcherside

Making your own infused oils and vinegars is easier than you’d think. You can flavor them with fresh herbs, spices or fruit – or a combination. They come together in minutes for a fraction of the store-bought version. (Bonus: these make easy, elegant presents too!)

 

Master Recipe

WORK TIME: 20 Minutes / TOTAL TIME: 20 Minutes + Steeping Time / YIELD: 1C

  1. WASH and dry thoroughly 1 ½ cup packed, lightly crushed basil, mint, tarragon, dill, or cilantro. Put the herbs in a wide-mouthed glass jar.
  2. POUR in 1 cup of canola oil or apple-cider or wine vinegar. Close jar. Put in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks. Swirl every day to keep leaves moistened.
  3. DECANT the oil or vinegar into a sealable bottle through a funnel lined with several layers of cheesecloth or a coffee filter to catch the leaves.
  4. PRESS leaves gently to get all of the liquid. Cap the bottle, and store oil in the refrigerator up to a month or vinegar in a dark cupboard indefinitely.

 

Time Savers

Don’t have two weeks as it calls for in the master recipe?

Take these shortcuts:

  • Oil – Puree the fresh ingredients with the oil in a food processor until finely minced. Let it sit for 30 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth or a coffee filter and use immediately or refrigerate.
  • Vinegar – Warm (but don’t boil) the vinegar before pouring it over the fresh ingredients. Cover and steep away from light for three days. Strain through cheesecloth or a coffee filter and store in a dark cupboard.

Flavor Changers

Substitute any of the following for the fresh herbs in the master recipe:

  • Rosemary-Orange (oil or vinegar): ¼ cup fresh rosemary and the zest from 4 lemons, cut into strips
  • Jalapeño (oil or vinegar): 5 whole peppers, stems removed
  • Pineapple-Mint (vinegar): 1 ½ cup peeled, cut up pineapple and ½ cup packed, lightly crushed mint
  • Peppered Strawberry (vinegar): 2 tsp whole black peppercorns and 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • Ginger-apple (vinegar): 3 slices of fresh ginger and 1 cup chopped apple.