Herbal Oils and Vinegars

Herb Flavored Oil

2 cups extra virgin olive oil, warmed on the stove

4 sprigs fresh oregano

4 sprigs fresh basil

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns

2 Tbsp. crushed dried red pepper

Wash the herbs and dry thoroughly. Place the herbs, peppercorns, and red pepper and oil in a heavy saucepan and heat to a simmer, reduce heat slightly and cook just below simmering for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and strain through several layers of cheesecloth into sterilized glass jars. Store in the refrigerator at all times and use within one week. *Approved preparation methods

Italiano Oil

Drizzle over warm foccacia bread.

1/4 cup chopped fresh sweet basil

1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano

a sprig of rosemary

1 1/2 cups olive or canola oil

Follow instructions for approved methods.

Garlic Basil Vinegar

1 head of garlic

2 cups fresh basil leaves

4 cups red wine vinegar

Separate the garlic head into individual cloves. Crush the cloves slightly with the flat side of a knife and peel them. Wash the basil leaves and pat dry. Place the basil and garlic in a 2-quart or larger sealable glass jar. Pour the vinegar over the garlic and basil, cover, and store in a cool dark place for 2 weeks. Strain through a cheese cloth or coffee filter into clean glass jars or bottles. You can add a whole garlic clove or two to each bottle before closing.

Lemon Thyme Vinegar

With a vegetable peeler, pare a thin spiral strip of peel 6 to 8 inches long from a lemon. With a chopstick or wooden skewer, push lemon peel and 6 rinsed sprigs (each 3 in. long) fresh thyme into a clean 12- to 16-ounce bottle. Fill bottle with white wine vinegar (vinegar should cover herbs completely) and seal. Store in a cool, dark place at least 1 week or up to 4 months.


You may want to check with your local Extension Service Representative and ask what the current recommendations are for safely making and storing flavored oils. Health organizations are recommending that homemade flavored oils always be refrigerated and should be used with in 2 to 3 days if using the cold infusion method or within 1 week for the warm infusion and 1 month for the oven method.

Cold Infusion Method: Combine herbs and oil. Pureed herbs disperse their flavor more quickly but are not as aesthetically pleasing. Use with in 2 to 3 days. Store in the refrigerator at all times.

Warm Infusion Method: In a saucepan, combine herbs and oil. Heat to a simmer, reduce heat slightly and cook just below simmering for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and strain through several layers of cheesecloth into a sterilized glass jar.

Label with the date and refrigeration instructions. Store in the refrigerator at all times. Use with in 1 week. Makes approximately 1 cup (250 mL).

Oven Method: Place oil and chopped vegetable or herb in a 2 cup (500 mL) glass measuring cup. Set glass measuring cup on a pie plate and place in a 300°F (150°C) oven for 1 hour. At the end of heating, the vegetable pieces should be a medium brown colour and crisp. If not, continue baking until they turn brown. Remove cup to a rack to cool for 30 minutes. Line a small strainer with a coffee filter or several layers of cheesecloth. Strain oil into a clean glass jar, cover and store in refrigerator at all times. Use within a month. Makes 1 cup (250 mL).