Culinary oils infused with herbs and spices make a gourmet gift that can add instant flavor to salad dressings, roasted vegetables and pizzas. Infusing oils couldn’t be easier. Try these tasty blends from Debora Robertson’s book Gifts from the Garden, or devise your own.
For more ideas for homemade gifts, read the original article, Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas.
2½ cups light olive oil or sunflower oil
1 teaspoon mixed peppercorns (optional)
For Rosemary Oil
6 to 8 sprigs dried rosemary
For Thyme Oil
6 to 8 sprigs dried thyme or lemon thyme
For Chili Oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 whole dried chilies
1. Pour oil into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add peppercorns and herbs. Warm gently over medium heat just until bubbles appear around pan edges.
2. Remove from heat and leave to cool. Pour oil and seasonings through a funnel into sterilized bottles.
3. Seal and label. Oils will keep in a cool, dry place for two months.
Note: Don’t be tempted to simply add fresh herbs to oil unless you’re planning to refrigerate and use the oil within five days. Using fresh herbs can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria and is potentially very dangerous.
Packaging idea: Tie beautiful salad servers to a bottle of flavored oil, or give a bottle or two with a salad bowl.
Adapted from Gifts in the Garden by Debora Robertson. Reprinted with permission of Kyle Books. All rights reserved.