garlic and pepper olive oil

Infused with gar­lic & dried chili flakes

I’ve been dab­bling with mak­ing my own infused oils. Specifically chili, gar­lic and herb oils. It’s great fun, easy to do and only as expens­ive as the olive oil you buy. Which means you can start low budget with a less expens­ive brand and use the bottle in came in mix your ingredi­ents. After six months test­ing out dif­fer­ent mix­tures I’ve decided this is going to be a staple item in our kit­chen. I’m com­pletely hooked on homemade chili and gar­lic oil.

Back in October, 2011, my infu­sion adven­ture began with two smalls jars and some rather posh extra vir­gin olive oil on super sale. One jar was filled with chili flakes, the other with chopped gar­lic and both were topped-up with the evoo. It took less than a week for the oil to be infused and less than a month for the con­tents to be con­sumed. When the oil dipped below half a jar I topped it off with more olive oil. Let it rest a few days to re-infuse. Worked like a charm.

The two jars las­ted, on a steady top-up basis, until the end of November. By then I thought it would be fun to make infused oil as Christmas gifts for fam­ily. We had a glut of dried herbs from our garden which I used as the main ingredi­ent along with tiny dried chilies from our chili plant and pep­per­corns. As I had all the ingredi­ents at the ready, I took advant­age of the situ­ation to make a fresh, much lar­ger bottle for us as well. But rather than mak­ing two sep­ar­ate small jars I mixed the chili and gar­lic together with pep­per­corns and a bay leaf were also added to test the mix of flavors.

garlic and pepper olive oil

Topped-up, re-infused & ready to drizzle.

After much debate I decided to use a light olive oil to allow for cook­ing at a high heat. Where as before the evoo ver­sion was bet­ter as a dress­ing rather than being cooked. Once again, when the oil star­ted dip­ping low, I topped-up with more olive oil (reg­u­lar this time, not light nor extra vir­gin) as well as chili flakes and pep­per­corns. Then waited a few days to re-infuse. Success, sweet hot success.

We use our infused oil nearly every day. It’s amaz­ing drizzled on fried eggs, to soften veg and onions as part of a soup base, dress­ing a salad, on roas­ted veg, in sauces, on chicken, the list is long and delicious.

Garlic & Pepper Olive Oil

Garlic & Pepper Delight.

The thing I enjoy the most about mak­ing infused oil is the ver­sat­il­ity. As with all hand­made things the options and vari­ety avail­able is lim­ited only by your ima­gin­a­tion, and pocket book. Use what’s already in your pantry. Or your garden if you’re lucky enough to have one. There’s no need to go buy expens­ive ingredi­ents. Unless of course you want to and your budget allows. For instance, I’d love to use juni­per ber­ries, but haven’t found a reli­able local or online source.

I’m inter­ested to hear about your infused oil adven­tures. What worked, what didn’t and what are your favour­ite ingredi­ents? Please leave your tips, warn­ings and feed­back in our com­ments sec­tion! :)

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One Response to Infusing oil with chili & spice & everything nice

  1. Benjamin says:

    The labels I painted for the Christmas gift bottles are here, by the way.

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