Make herb-infused oil

This simple recipe preserves the subtle aromas of garden herbs in oil, which can then be used to add flavour to spring salads and BBQs

Green rosemary plant and rosemary oil

Common garden herbs, such as rosemary, oregano and thyme are perfect for making this simple herb oil recipe. But you can also use wild herbs and plants foraged from the local area, such as chamomile, nettle and wild garlic.

There are several different ways to infuse oils with herbs – this is the traditional, slow method, sometimes referred to as the folk method, or solar-infused method. All you need is a handful of herbs, your favourite oil and a few kitchen utensils.

Your oils can be used in cooking – as the base for a salad dressing, for example – as well as for health care.

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You Will Need

  • A clean, dry Kilner jar (or any glass jar without a metal lid)
  • Fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, oregano etc.) (Two or three big handfuls)
  • Olive oil or another oil of your choice
  • Muslin cloth (or fine sieve)
  • Measuring jug
  • Glass bottles or jars for storage

Step 1

Pick your herbs and put them on a sunny windowsill for a day or two to wilt. This reduces the water content of the herbs, which stops the oil going rancid.

How to make herb-infused oil
How to make herb-infused oil, step 1

Step 2

Place the herbs in a clean, dry Kilner jar, leaving two inches of open space at the top. Pour in the oil to cover the herbs. Close the lid and shake well. 

How to make herb-infused oil
How to make herb-infused oil, step 2

Step 3

Place the Kilner jar on a warm, sunny windowsill. Leave the herbs to infuse the oil
for three or four weeks, shaking the jar once or twice a day. 

How to make herb-infused oil
How to make herb-infused oil, step 3

Step 4

Use the muslin cloth or a fine sieve to strain out the plant material, allowing the
oil to drip into a measuring jug, or something similar.

How to make herb-infused oil
How to make herb-infused oil, step 4

Step 5

Pour the infused oil into clean glass bottles or jars, label and date them, then store in a cool, dark place. The oil should keep for up to a year. 

How to make herb-infused oil
How to make herb-infused oil, step 5
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Maria Fernandez is a herbalist, forager and the creator of Healing Weeds – find out more about foraging, medicinal plants and wild recipes at healingweeds.co.uk

Illustrators by Enya Todd