Making your own infused oil is simple and so practical for making salves, balms, lotions and to keep on hand for a variety of uses like my cayenne infused oil as a liniment or muscle rub.
You need dried herbs or flowers first. My favorites are the ones I grow in my garden like my cayenne peppers, or herbs and flowers like calendula and comfrey, and even things I forage and dry like plantain. If I am making it from items I source here on the homestead I make sure to dry them well in the dehydrator or hanging. If you are short on time, space or interest in growing them you can easily purchase these for very inexpensively.
Speaking of purchasing, let's talk shop a second. Contained in the post are some links to specific products I use. Some of these links are affiliate links where if you chose to purchase the items, I make a tiny commission. There is no additional cost to you, but you are helping to support me and keeping more of these blog posts coming and coming without those annoying blinking ads everywhere. :)
On to the business at hand...
There are two ways to infuse oils: direct-heat infusion and solar infusion. A direct-heat infusion means you use heat from the stove or crockpot to accelerate the process and I am sure you guessed it, solar infusion just means you let Mother Nature handle it.
So let's start infusing!
You will need:
Carrier Oil like an Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Almond Oil, Avocado Oil, Castor Oil, Jojoba Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Sunflower Oil, Etc.
Dried Herbs like Calendula, Comfrey, Chamomile, or Plantain to just name a few. You can also use hot peppers like I did in this tutorial here.
Both methods will require you to prepare your glass jars with your chosen medium as I have in the image above. I used smaller jars because I have a good amount of several infused oils, but I wanted pretty pictures for this tutorial. :)
To start, take your dried plant and place them into a jar or pot. I chose a mason jar fitted with a lid, but you could use an old lid and ring. I fill the jar about 3/4 of the way and cover with a carrier oil to the neck, leaving space at the top
Next you will top the jar with your carrier oil, leaving space at the top for expansion or to add more oil should the material absorb it. You want to keep all that goodness fully submerged in the oil. It's hard to tell from the image, but this comfrey was topped off with olive oil leaving 1" headspace in the pint jar. Leaving space at the top of the jar allows for room in the jar for expansion and to add a touch more oil if needed. Now let's get them infused! There are two ways to get it done:
Method 1: Solar
Place it in a warm and sunny window (I like to put mine in a paper bag first to help diffuse the sun.) then wait for 4-6 weeks. Shake it daily and check on it often to make sure the herbs are still submerged. After it's done infusing strain it through a cheesecloth, making sure you squeeze all that lovely oil out and then add a few drops of vitamin E oil if you like to help extend the shelf life. Store in a glass container in a cool, dark place and it should keep well for at least a year.
Method 2: Direct Heat
Want to speed up the infusion? Use direct heat. You can place the jar in a crockpot with some water and on low heat. I leave mine all day (8-12 hours) and check the water level frequently to make sure it hasn't evaporated out. If I use pint jars I can put the cover on the crockpot and I don't have to micro-manage it as often. When I use direct heat I always use metal lids and rings and not the plastic lids you see in the main image.
You can also use the stove to make your infusion. Just place the jar, fitted with a metal lid and ring into a double boiler and gently heat over a very low heat (100-140 degrees) for 3-6 hours. Whether you used the stove or the crockpot, you will finish the infusion the same was as if you used the solar method. Strain the oil and herbs through a cheesecloth into a clean glass container, making sure you squeeze it to get the oil out, add a few drops of vitamin E oil if you like and store in a cool, dark place.
That's it! How will you use your new infused oil?