Monday, January 26, 2015

How to Preserve Herbs In Oil

Preserving Herbs in Oil*
Here is an herbal oil I made with calendula (marigold) flowers (I used about 8 in this small 8 oz. jar), the peeled cloves from 1 head of garlic, 1-2 handfuls of fresh basil, and a small hot pepper (omit if you don’t want your herbal oil to be spicy) steeped in olive oil. I love this oil and have made it many times before; sometimes I also add a few sun-dried tomatoes.

To reduce the risk of any mold forming in your oil, make sure your glass jar is very dry before you fill it with your herbs. The herbs you use also need to be very dry: moisture makes it more likely that mold will form. It is also important to make sure your herbs are completely covered by the oil; if not, some mold may form on any herb(s) exposed at the top. If you open your jar and notice that this has happened, discard the top layer of herbs and top off with a little more oil.
Allow to sit for up to 6 week to infuse. After this time, strain out the herbs and transfer your oil to a clean, dry jar. Herbal oils are wonderful in salad dressings, as well as drizzled over pasta, grains or veggies.
*Please note that according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, “Herbs and oils are both low-acid and together could support the growth of the disease-causing Clostridium botulinum bacteria. Oils may be flavored with herbs if they are made up for fresh use, stored in the refrigerator and used within 2 to 3 days. Fresh herbs must be washed well and dried completely before storing in the oil.” I personally have never had a problem preserving herbs in oil the way I described above, but it’s important to keep this warning in mind…Clostridium botulinum is nothing to food around with!

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