4.03.2015

How to Infuse Oils


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Over the past couple of years, I have been experimenting with different oil infusions.  I started down this road in my quest to avoid fragrance oils and artificial ingredients in my soaps, but it has really opened my eyes to the myriad of uses for infused oils.  Today, I’ll talk a bit about the benefits, uses, and the process of infusing oils.


If this seems like something you’d never have time for or that you think is too hard, keep reading!   


Uses and Benefits
When you infuse a quality oil, the properties from the material being infused make their way into the oil.  This oil can then be used for soap making, salves, creams, lotions, balms, treating infections, and even cooking.  


Type of Oil
While you do want the oil to be of good quality, the type of carrier oil you use is completely up to you.  Some common oils that I like to use are coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and neem oil.


What to Infuse
You can infuse oil with an almost endless variety of herbs, spices, resins, and flowers.  We’ve used everything from rose petals from our flower bed to freshly ground coffee (for a fun lip balm experiment)!  Some other commonly used ingredients include lavender, chamomile, calendula, frankincense, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, garlic, rosemary, primrose, vanilla beans, and more. If you can't find them locally, you can purchase great quality herbs at Mountain Rose Herbs for infusing.


While you can use fresh herbs and flowers, it’s best to use dried ingredients.  The chances of the oil going rancid are greatly reduced when using dried herbs and flowers.  If you pick fresh herbs or flowers, simply leave them out a few days to dry them before using them in your infusion.  


Methods
Solar or Cold Method:
This is the easiest way to infuse oils, but it also takes the longest time.  I prefer this method simply because it uses less energy and is more natural.
  1. Pack a sterilized glass jar about ½ - ⅔ full of herbs or other ingredients.  
  2. Fill the entire jar with the oil of your choice.  Stir to remove air and add more oil if needed.
  3. Place a tight fitting lid on the jar and let it sit in a sunny place for 2-4 weeks (or longer).  I leave mine outside all day and night.  I also recommend dating and labeling the jar.
  4. When infusion is done, strain the oil with a sieve or cheesecloth and place it in a sterilized glass jar, or you can use it immediately.  Label the jar with the date and herb infused, and store it out of direct sunlight.


Hot Method:
This is also easy, but it takes a bit of babysitting.  With this method, you’ll be able to use your infusion right away.
  1. Pack a sterilized glass jar about ½ - ⅔ full of herbs or other ingredient.
  2. Fill the entire jar with the oil of your choice.  Stir to remove air and add more oil if needed.  Cover with a tight fitting lid.
  3. Place a washcloth or small towel in a pot and fill it with a few inches of water.  Put your oil-filled jar in the pot.  The washcloth will keep the jar from getting direct heat and act as a buffer between the glass and pot.  
  4. Place the pot on the stove, and turn the heat to low.  Keep the jar in the hot water for 30 minutes up to a few days.  You will want to keep the heat on low so as not to burn the herbs.  You may also need to add more water to the pot because it will evaporate.  
  5. When infusion is done, strain the oil with a sieve or cheesecloth and place it in a sterilized glass jar, or use it immediately.  Label jar with the date and herb infused, and store it out of direct sunlight.

You are now ready to store your infusion for a later day, or use it right away. We made a video for all of our visual learners out there. Check it out at the bottom of this post.

You can purchase everything you need for this project at Mountain Rose Herbs, Vitacost, and Amazon.  

If you want more ideas on what herbs to infuse and what to make with your infusions, check out Salve Made Simple by Hybrid Rasta Mama.  This eBook has a huge list of herbs with their benefit, and it contains over 30 salve recipes!  

Check out the oil infusion video below, and don't forget to subscribe so that you won't miss any future videos!


Disclaimer: Information I have provided is for entertainment purposes only.  I am not providing medical, legal, or other professional advice.  As the reader, you should read and/or use any of the information you glean from this blog at your own risk.  I have done a lot of research on this topic, but it does not mean that it is right for your family just because it is right for mine.


Do you have a favorite oil infusion combination?  Let us know in the comments!

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