It is the perfect time of year to start thinking about making your own infused oil and vinegar. During summer, farmer’s markets and gardens are bursting with fresh produce that is crying out to be made into delicious and colorful salads.

Herbal-infused oil and vinegar can add a little extra something to your salads, giving them an extra hit of flavor as well as a nutrient boost.

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In addition, there are many benefits of using these infusions topically for your skin and hair.  Hair rinses and massage oils can be made from infused oil and vinegar.  Different culinary and medical herbs can add an aromatherapy or healing element to your bathtime routine.

How Do I Make Infused Oil?

One of the best ways to infuse herbs into oil is to use the solar method.  That is to say, you keep your herb and oil-filled jar in the sun to help the infusion process along.  This way, more of those beneficial compounds can be extracted from the herbs.

You are free to use any oil, such as almond, sunflower, or grapeseed, but olive oil is an excellent choice as it has a good stable shelf life. However, it depends on what you are using the infused oil for.  You might want to stick to olive oil for salad dressing but try almond oil for making a massage oil as it absorbs really well into the skin.

  1. Gather fresh herbs or flowers and rinse them of any dirt or debris and allow the water to dry off.
  2. Fill a clean and dry glass jar with your herbs and pour your oil over the top.  Ensure that all of your herbs and flowers are completely submerged in the oil.
  3. Seal your jar with a lid, and make a note of the date.
  4. Leave your oil- and herb-filled jar in the sun for at least two weeks, bringing it in at night. Agitate the jar during this time to help with the extraction process.
  5. Strain out the herbs if you are going to use the oil right away, or leave the herbs in the oil for further infusion.

Discard any infused oil that has turned in color or has a rancid or off smell.

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How Do I Make Infused Vinegar?

Herbal-infused vinegar, just like with the oil, is great for adding to salad dressing.  All kinds of things can be preserved in vinegar from herbs to spices to flowers.  Vinegar also takes on the color of whatever it is you are infusing, so you can end up with some really pretty colored vinegar.

If you are making a salad dressing, then you might not want to use straight-up white vinegar due to its strong flavor.  However, if you are making a household cleaning product, then this would be a great choice.  White wine vinegar and white balsamic vinegar are good choices for dressing, and infused apple cider vinegar makes an excellent hair rinse.

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  1. Gather fresh herbs or flowers and rinse them of any dirt or debris and allow the water to dry off.
  2. Fill a clean and dry glass jar with your herbs and pour your vinegar over the top.  Ensure that all of your herbs are completely submerged in the vinegar.
  3. Seal your jar with a non-reactive lid, and make a note of the date.
  4. Store your vinegar in a dark place for 2-4 weeks.  The infusion is complete when you are satisfied with its flavor.
  5. Strain out the herbs if you are going to use the vinegar right away, or leave the herbs in it for further infusion.

Which Herbs and Flowers Should I use for My Infusion?

  • Culinary Herbs- Rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, lemon balm, and chives are great choices for making oil and vinegar infusions that are destined for salad dressings and other savory meals.
  • Culinary FlowersPetals from edible flowers, such as rose, violet, and nasturtium give wonderful color and flavor to light vinegar.
  • Rosemary– If you are interested in making an oil-based hair pack or an apple cider vinegar hair rinse, rosemary is an excellent choice due to its anti-inflammatory properties that can help with a dry and itchy scalp.
  • Calendula– An oil or salve made from calendula is a wonderful thing to have on hand.  Due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, calendula oil is excellent for soothing and healing small cuts and wounds.
  • Lavender–  A massage oil or bath oil made with lavender can help promote skin healing, as well are offering calming and stress-reducing aromatherapy benefits.  Pour a little lavender-infused oil into a warm bath, and take a soak before bed to promote restful sleep.

Not only are infused oil and vinegar wonderful to have in your kitchen and bathroom, but they also make great gifts, too.  Bottles and jars of brightly colored flower-infused vinegar and aromatic herbs suspended in rich olive oil look stunning on kitchen and bathroom shelves.

Seek professional medical advice before using any herbal remedies. 

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