Today I want to talk about herbal oil infusion. A lot of the recipes I create do involve an infusion using herbs. The reason is that you can get some of the same great benefits from plants and flowers that you’ve grown in your garden as you can from essential oils.
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Herbal Oil Infusion
I have noticed over the past few years that while I do have a variety of herbs and flowers I use when it comes to infusions, there are some I use more than others. Calendula, plantain, rosemary, and lavender to name a few.
What types of oils and herbs should I use?
Before I get more in-depth about the process of infusing oils, I want to touch real quick on the types of oils. There are several different types of oils that work fantastic when it comes to infusing. The ones I most commonly infuse are olive, sunflower, sweet almond and coconut oils. These oils are fantastic for salves, lip balms, beard oils and more. The more you work with these products, the more likely you’ll end up having favorites.
As for the flowers and herbs, there are tons that you can use when it comes to infusing. I do recommend making sure that you use dried flowers and herbs. The reason being is fresh herbs and flowers contain water which can result in mold growth and spoilage.
Different Methods of Oil Infusion
There are a few different methods used for infusing oil. Depending on what I’m infusing and how much time I have, my methods will vary. Here are the two methods that I use most often when infusing.
Slow-Cooker Herbal Oil Infusion Method
If you don’t have days and weeks to wait on an infused oil, then this is the method you would choose. It’s also the method that I use the most. Keep in mind that your finished oil might not always be as strong as the traditional method, but you will still see the amazing benefits. You can infuse numerous oils this way, and in my personal experience. This is one of the best ways when you’re infusing coconut oil, since it tends to harden in cooler temps.
For this method, I always start by getting my slow-cooker ready first. To do this, I place a hand towel on the bottom of the slow-cooker. This helps to keep the direct heat off the jars and promote and even heat distribution. I fill slow cooker to the point that the jars will be half covered by the water.
Once the slow-cooker is ready to go, you’ll need to fill a glass canning jar about one-fourth to one-half of the way with dried flowers or herbs. Next, fill the jar almost to the top with your chosen oil.
With the herbs and oil are in the jar, leave the jar uncovered and place in an uncovered slow cooker on the warm setting for 4-6 hours.
Traditional Slow Method
The Traditional Slow Method for an herbal oil infusion is one that takes patience and time but is well worth it. This is my second preferred method when it comes to infusing oils, and will give you a strong and potent oil upon completion of the infusion.
This method is going to be very similar to the slow-cooker method. You’re going to fill your glass canning jar one-fourth to one-half of the way with dried herbs and flowers. Once your herbs are on the jar, fill the jar almost to the top with the oil of your choice.
This is where the method differs. Instead of leaving the top off the jar, you’re going to cap the jar and tuck it away in a cool, dark cupboard for four to six weeks, shaking on occasion.
When the oil is infused
Once your oil is infused, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve or a few layers of cheesecloth. Store your infused oil in a clean, dry jar in a cool, dark place such as a cupboard. Keep in mind that sunlight and heat will shorten the shelf life.