If you are looking for a new way to use your homegrown herbs (or if you have leftover herbs that you don’t want going to waste), or just want a way to make some delicious flavored oils and vinegar, look to infusions.
If you’d like to make infused oils with your herbs, you may want to choose olive oil, since it has the longest shelf life at room temperature. However, almond oil and sunflower oil are also good choices.
- Solar Infusion: Solar infusion is simply placing oil and herbs in a jar, and then putting the jar in a sunny location. First, finely chop your herbs and place them into a jar that has a lid. Fill with oil and label your jar. Set the jar in a window or other sunny location. Stir daily, making sure to push the herbs below the level of the oil. After three weeks, strain out the herbs and pour the oil into a dark glass container. Again, label and ate. Store in a cool location.
Infusing Herbs in Water
Infusing herbs in water is very similar to making tea, but when infusing herbs, your infusion will simply steep longer. You can use a stainless steel tea ball to hold the herbs, or you can leave the herbs loose. If you leave them loose, you will need to strain the water after brewing.
To stat, place one tablespoon of dried herbs or three tablespoons of fresh herbs into a teapot, coffee mug or mason jar for each cup of tea you want to make. Then cover with boiling water. Let steep for at least 15 minutes. Strain and drink.
Infusing Herbs in Alcohol
To make a simple alcohol tincture, you will place four ounces of dried herbs into a glass jar with a lid. You want one that can be closed tightly.
Pour a pint of 60 proof vodka on the herbs, and then close the container tightly. Keep the container in a warm place (but not in direct sun) for about six weeks, shaking it well twice a day. After six week, strain out herbs and pour the tincture into a dark bottle. Store in a cool, dark place.
How to Infuse Herbs in Honey
Finally, you may also want to infuse herbs in honey. Vanilla is especially delicious to infuse in honey. Flavor takes a little longer to permeate into honey, so you will need to let it sit for a minimum of a month.
To make vanilla-flavored honey, chop up one or two vanilla beans and add them to a cup of honey. If the beans have been previously used, you will need to let the honey sit longer. Other herbs that can be added to honey include lavender and mint. Add one or two tablespoons of herbs per cup of honey. Add each of these to a cup of honey and allow the honey to sit in a cool, dark place. Simply label the honey and taste! These flavored honeys make great gifts!
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