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How to Make Herbed Oils, Butters, and Essential Oils

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Herb Combinations for Oils & Butters

How to Make Herbed Vinegars

Herb Combinations for Vinegars


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Herbal Oils & Butters are easy to make and are wonderful additions to the chef's kitchen.  Unfortunately, it has come to light recently that oils containing herbs that are not stored properly provide the perfect environment for the very harmful toxin we know as botulism. Commercial herb/oil preparations contain substances that inhibit the growth of these toxins, but we at home do not have these resources.  The beautiful bottles filled with herbs don't have to be history, however.  You can still have that fragrant and good looking holiday oil, but it has to be stored properly in the refrigerator, and for only 3 weeks maximum.  Having said that, please read below for the safest way to make and store herbal gourmet oils

Herbed Oils

Herbed Oils can be used in a variety of marinades, sautes, salads, and as a dip for crusty breads.  The proportion of oil to herb is important as far as strength and taste of the finished product, so use the guidelines below to start, and then you can certainly experiment on your own with different combinations and strengths. 

The new procedure for making flavored herbal oils is to measure the appropriate amount of cleaned and chopped herbs (1/2 cup chopped fresh herb sprigs or leaves and 1/4 cup dried), place in a non-metal pan with a cup of oil (olive, peanut, safflower, or sunflower oil are appropriate), then gently sautÚ the herbs in the oil until fragrant and warm - about 5 minutes.  SautÚ gently and do not let this mixture come to a boil. Strain, place in decorative bottles, and store in the refrigerator.  These oils should be made on-the-fly whenever needed and only stored for about three weeks.. 

Please check out the link below for combinations of herbs that go well with different types of oils.  If you prefer to start out simply, you can make single-herb oils.  See below for a sampling of some herbs and the appropriate types of oil to try.  This is not a complete list by any stretch, so do experiment on your own once you are comfortable with the basics.

Olive Oil goes well with Basil, Fennel, Garlic, Cayenne, Rosemary, Thyme, Tarragon.

Sunflower Oil goes well with Basil, Rosemary, Tarragon, Thyme.

Safflower Oil is complimented by Basil, Garlic, Rosemary, Thyme.

Peanut Oil is enhanced by Garlic, Basil, Thyme, Rosemary.

Use these single combinations, or experiment with your own for salad dressings, sautes, marinades, etc.


Herbed Butters

To make a tasty herbed butter to be used on toast and biscuits, steamed vegetables, sautÚs, and chicken or fish, combine about 1 tablespoon of fresh or 1/2 tablespoon of dried herbs in softened butter.  Place this mixture in butter molds or ice cube trays and cover with plastic. And that's it!   Herbed butter will keep in the refrigerator for about one month, and in the freezer for about three months.  Please see Herb Combinations for Oils & Butters for basic herbal combinations to use for making your own delicious herbed butter.

 

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