Elevate Your Plate with Herbal Infusions

If you’re new to adding herbs to your meals, or just looking for some inspiration to use up a huge harvest from your kitchen garden, an easy and quick way to get your garden-grown herbs on your plate is through infusing oils and vinegars. The oils and vinegars can be used in salad dressings, marinades, and sauces to add a brightness to your dish and elevate your meals. 

Guidelines for Making Herb-Infused Oils

First, choose your flavor profile. Savory herbal oil options:

・Basil

・Rosemary

・Garlic

・Thyme

・Marjoram

・Fennel

・Tarragon

・Mint

*Remember, you can always customize your own blends by choosing 2-3 different herbs for your infusion!

HERB OIL RECIPE

Ingredients

2 cups of quality oil (olive or avocado are my favorite for infusions) (you may need more or less depending on the jar size you choose)

Large handful of fresh herbs, slightly crushed to release the oil (about 2 cups)

OR

1 cup of dried herbs

Directions

Add your herbs of choice to a clear glass jar (I use a pint-sized Ball mason jar or a weck jar). If you choose woody-stemmed herbs (like thyme), remove the stems before adding to the jar. Pour oil over the herbs until completely covered. 

Let it stand for one week in a sunny warm place. 

Strain off herbs and add fresh ones until you reach the desired taste. Don’t be tempted to leave the herbs in the oil for longer than a week without switching to a fresh batch or you run the risk of forming mold!

Strain out all herbs and pour the strained oil into a clean sterile glass jar with an airtight lid.

If you wish to add a fresh herbal sprig to the jar for aesthetics, oil should be consumed within a few weeks. Otherwise, oil will last about 6 months. For best flavor, store in a cool, dark place. 

Guidelines for Making Herb-Infused Vinegars

First, choose your flavor profile. Savory herbal vinegar options:

・Basil

・Bay leaf

・Dill

・Garlic

・Lemon balm

・Rosemary

・Fennel

・Thyme

・Tarragon

・Chive blossom

*Remember, you can always customize your own blends by choosing 2-3 different herbs for your infusion!

HERB VINEGAR RECIPE

Ingredients

2 cups of vinegar (apple cider, red wine, and white wine are are my favorite vinegars for infusions) (you may need more or less depending on the jar size you choose)

Large handful of fresh herbs, slightly crushed to release the oil (about 2 cups)

OR

1 cup of dried herbs

Directions

Choose a jar and fill it 1/3 of the way full with your herbal flavorings of choice (I used a pint-sized Ball mason jar). 

Top off the remaining jar space with your vinegar of choice. 

Make sure all herbs are submerged. Allow the mixture to infuse for 2-3 weeks and then strain out the herbs. Package in a clean, sterile jar and your infused vinegar will keep for about a month if stored in a cool, dark place.

You can really make these infusions your own by experimenting with different herbal combinations, base oils, and vinegars. These recipes are just guidelines to help you explore your palate and hone in on your personal favorites. One of the best parts of growing and cooking your own food is you can make it exactly how you like it. So get experimenting!

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