Infused olive oil is a kind of oil that is frequently used for cooking purposes; however, its flavor is enhanced with natural seasonings. The term infusion describes the process during which the additional flavorings, such as spices, are leached into the olive oil. The latter can then be used for cooking or medicinal purposes.
Due to the fact that olive oil is currently one of the most popular cooking products, infusing it with extra flavor serves only to reinforce this fact. Infused oil can be utilized as an ingredient in certain meals or as a dressing for salad. Some people use such oils as a dip for various breads as well. There are numerous avenues through which this product can be made, including cold and hot blending techniques.
The simplest way to infuse oil is to place it in a clear glass bottle along with the desired herbs or spices. It is essential to ensure that the bottle and its cap are sterile, as the introduction of foreign flavors to the oil can cause it to become rancid. The bottle should then be placed in an area where the temperature does not exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit and allowed to sit for 10 to 30 days. This is regarded as the room temperature infusion method.
When flavoring the olive oil, one also use the hot infusion technique. Those who use this process should combine the herbs and spices with the appropriate amount of oil and heat the mixture in a saucepan to approximately 200 degrees Fahrenheit. This procedure will ensure that the desired flavor is reached.
The cold infusion method requires the use of a food processor or blender. This technique works especially well if the oil is to be infused with woody fibers or spices. One must simply add the oil and the ingredients to the blender or food processor until liquefied. Straining is sometimes preferred, depending on the taste of the person creating the mixture, but it is not required.
No matter which method a person decides to use, the oil should immediately be refrigerated when the desired taste is achieved so that it will remain fresh. Although refrigeration is not required, it is recommended. Those who prefer room temperature storage must check the oils often to test for rancidity.
There is a vast array of spices from which individuals can choose when infusing olive oil. Some options that are favored among cooks include tarragon, chives, thyme, rosemary, basil and oregano. Popular root and herb additions, such as nutmeg or ginger are also good choices.
The flavors one selects when making such oils can be used in numerous combinations or alone. Certain chefs experiment with different recipes to create unique blends with which to flavor a variety of dishes. Others prefer simple options such as garlic, which is perfect for an all-purpose, infused cooking oil.
Infused olive oil not only has an decorative appearance, it is also a great product with which to add flair to a traditional dish. In stylish bottles, such oils can be used as attractive hostess gifts, as well. Because of the versatility this type of oil, it will likely remain popular for many years in the future.
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Author: Celia HallThis author has published 202 articles so far.