Herbal infused oils

After a busy summer, with autumn on our doorstep, I feel I have again enough time to sit down and write. It was a truly busy year in my life. I conducted some interesting experiments, trying to find a way to a healthier and greener life, and now I’m just itching to write about it. I have a few new recipes for remedies and healthy body care products that I would like to share with you, and for the past few days I was wondering where to start and what to describe first. There was a river of rough waters rushing through my mind and trying to cascade down onto paper, so instead of battling with an urge to write it all at once, I decided to go out and have a nice walk in the sunshine instead. And as all the people from Cambridge and areas will know – sunshine proved to be something of a singular thing this summer. As I was coming back I was thinking what to do with an hour that I had left before I would have to pick my son up from school – something that is quick, easy, and not too messy. And then it came to me that the best thing to do is to prepare a herbal infused oil, because I was beginning to run really low on my supply. Let me please tell you a little about herbal infused oils. They are easy to make and so versatile in use that we should always have a few bottles in the kitchen, bathroom and medicine cabinet. They can be used in cooking, baths, creams, ointments and skin products – you are only stopped simply by your imagination. They are natural, safe, nourishing, and healing. There are a few methods of infusing herbs in oil, but this is my favourite one.

You will need:

25g dried herbs of your choice (depending on the end effect, if you want an oil for culinary, medicinal or cosmetic use; you may choose from – Calendula flowers – one of my favourite for cosmetics, it is safe and suitable for sensitive skin and for babies; Chickweed – wonderful for minor skin irritation; Lemon Balm – cooling and calming to the skin; Mullein – traditionally used for ear ache; Peppermint – wonderful to massage into sore muscles; Plantain – another favourite of mine for cosmetic use, as it has an incredible effect on irritated skin; Poke Root – traditionally used for women and breast massage; Rosemary leaf – a stimulating oil for hair treatment, occasional sore muscles and for culinary use; St. John’s Wort – red-coloured wonderful oil (infuse only in the sun) helps with occasional soreness; Thyme – great for cooking, herbal preparation and massaging away occasional sore muscles).

250ml organic vegetable or organic extra virgin olive oil

Jar with a screw top lid (eg. Jam jar)

To prepare:

  1. Place herbs in a sterilised clean dry jar.
  2. Fill the remaining space in the jar with oil. Make sure all your herbal material is fully covered by the oil. Make sure there are no air pockets or bubbles inside your jar and if your herbs soak up the oil, then pour more on top to ensure that your herbs are fully covered.
  3. Stir well and close the jar tightly.
  4. Place jar on a sunny warm windowsill (for St. John’s Wort) or alternatively for other herbs away from heat and light (eg. In the kitchen cupboard). Shake gently or turn every couple of days.
  5. After 30 days strain the herbs out of the oil using muslin or cheesecloth and a strainer. Squeeze out the oil from the herbal matter.
  6. Compost the herbs.
  7. Pour the oil into glass bottles (dark brown, or dark bottles will be best), label with the name of the herb (eg. Calendula infused oil), date and store in a cool dark place. Pure oil should keep for at least a year. (If you are going to add essential oils – read in next blog :-), the use by date will come down to 6 months).

Oil prepared in this way can be added to cooking, baking, as a salad dressing, or if you would like to find out how I’m using my oils, please read my next blog.

Happy infusing!