Looking for DIY gift ideas to give to your family and friends this Christmas? Infused olive oil is delicious, super easy to make and full of antioxidants, perfect for a festive season gift. Here are some tips that will ensure you get the most from your infused olive oil.
1. Use good quality ingredients. Using good quality olive oil (look for the SA Olive CTC sticker), fresh herbs, and organic ingredients will give you a cleaner and stronger flavor in your finished olive oil.
2. Choose an olive oil based on the flavour. Olive oils can be intense, medium and delicate, and their own natural flavour should compliment the ingredients that it’s infused with. Chilli infused olive oil would be well complimented with an intense peppery olive oil.
3. Wash ingredients and allow to dry overnight. Fresh Herbs should be washed before use and preferably left to dry overnight as bacteria can grow in the water left on the herbs which will go into the oil.
4. Bruise the herbs and toast the spices. Before adding either your herbs or spices into the oil, you need to release some of their flavour. Bruising herbs gently releases some of their oils. If using spices, its best to lightly toast them.
5. Use a glass bottle with a seal. It is necessary to keep the oil out of contact with air as this will make the oil turn rancid faster. As with the herbs, it is imperative that there is no water in the bottle, ensure that it is completely dry.
6. Allow the oil to infuse for 1 – 2 weeks. Once you have a dry bottle and dry herbs or spices, cover the ingredients with the olive oil and allow to infuse for 2 weeks, the infused flavour should be good after that.
7. Keep away from heat and light. As with any olive oil, light and heat affect the flavour and the chemical properties. While infusing, keep away from light and store in a cool place. After the 2 weeks is up and you are satisfied with the infused flavour, strain the olive oil and rebottle it.
8. Refrigerate infused olive oil. Infused olive oil will generally keep for up to one month, especially if kept refrigerated. If the ingredients in the olive oil start to show any signs of spoilage, discard the rest of the oil immediately.