What better way to extend the garden’s bounty and joy into fall and winter, than to make herbal oil with your harvest?
Herbal oils are not just for the kitchen! Think about all the heavenly smelling soaps, candles, massage oils, lotions….
It actually requires almost no work and no skill to make herbal oil from freshly picked herbs, so here’s the secret: there’s a simple little kitchen gadget that does all the magic…
After researching a ton on the best temperature, processes, etc to make herbal oils, I actually came up with this cool idea to use a … yogurt maker! Woohoo! Well, of course, nothing new under the sun, or google, right? =)
So it turned out that I was not the first to think of it, and it was recommended by a couple of authority herbal schools as a great way to make herbal oil!
See, it makes a lot of sense because in my research of various methods to make herbal oil-
- the cold oil method can take months, and herbs might even mold!
- heating herbs on a stove may result in loss of beneficial properties due to too much heat
- some like putting jars in the sun, some don’t
- crock pot can easily get too hot
- turn on a big oven and keep it at 100 degrees for 2 days? hmm…
When gentle heat and no work comes to mind, what could be better than a yogurt maker? This 2-Quart Yogurt Maker is the same kind as what we used, you can also use this Electric Yogurt Maker with these cute 5 Ounce Canning Jars.
Note: thank you to our reader Shawna who sent me an article pointing out that the traditional ways of using fresh herbs to infuse oil is not as safe as using dried herbs, due to possible bacteria alive in the fresh plant. So for food use, dry / dehydrate the herbs and flowers first!
In this tutorial we will look at 3 types of herbal oils to make – Rosemary oil, Lavender oil, and Lemon oil!
Step 1: gather our ingredients!
To make infused oil from leafy herbs such as Rosemary, basil, dill, etc, first collect some fresh herbs , rinse them a little, and let dry for a couple of hours, just enough so there’s no more water on the herbs.
To make lavender oil, you can use either fresh or dried flower buds.
For the lemon oil, peel the skin off to be used, the rest can go into a nice lemonade!
Step 2, pack the herbs, lavender flower buds, or lemon peels tightly into a clean mason jar, and pour oil over the herbs till they are completely submerged.
There are many types of oils to choose from, here are 3 that are commonly used and easy to find, and all of them are loaded with antioxidants and healthy fatty acids, and are very mild in scent:
- Olive oil: extra virgin, medium or light olive oil can all be used. I used a medium olive oil here for the Rosemary oil.
- Sweet almond oil: I am using this oil for an upcoming project, can’t wait to show you! =)
- Sunflower oil : used here for the Lavender oil and Lemon oil
Step 3: place the jar uncovered inside a yogurt maker. Leaving the jar open will allow moisture to evaporate. Turn on the yogurt maker and let the magic brew for about 48 hours. The lid of the yogurt maker should be closed, although you can take a sneaky peek and smell the delicious oil in progress! If you are using dried lavender buds, you can leave the jar lid closed.
After 2 days, take the oil out of the yogurt maker, and let sit covered for another day or two. They smell totally incredible!
Strain the oil and they are ready to be used or shared as gifts!
See how effective this process is from the photo below? the oil on the left was what we started with, and it took on the rich deep green color of the rosemary, and the fragrance is amazing!
There are so many fun and enjoyable ways to use them… I will share more in a few weeks!
A few more projects for garden lovers like you and me –>>
Have a lovely weekend! xo