Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Making an herb infused oil

Herb infused oils are used to make scented salves and beauty products and sometimes to cook with.  I have shared making Lemon Cooking oil on the blog previously.  This time I want to explain how to make an herb infused oil for making a salve.  I share this now because we are entering the gift making season and I will be sharing a few recipes for salves and toners and creams and other beauty gifts in the coming months.  I wanted you to have this base of information to work with.

Oils, unlike vinegar will not keep indefinitely, so you must use a preservative, like alcohol or another stabilizer to keep the oil from going rancid.

To Make Herb-infused oil for a salve

Infused-Herb Oil
What you’ll need: oil of your choice (almond, jojoba, grape seed, olive oil can all be used), wide-mouth jar, herbs of your choice, 190-proof alcohol

Use a ½ pint wide-mouth jar for this size recipe.  Add about ¾ cup herb of your choice (washed, chopped and air dried until they are wilty), to that add about ¾ cup oil, ore more as needed to cover the herbs entirely, but leave about 1 to 2 inches of headroom at the top of the jar.  Insert a butter knife into the jar and run it around the edge to dislodge any air bubbles.  Make sure the oil covers the herbs completely.  Then to prevent mold float about a ½ inch of 190-proof alcohol on top.  Put a tight fitting lid on top and shake the alcohol into the oil.  Remove the lid and replace with four layers of cheese cloth, help in place with a rubber band or jar lid rim.  Place in a warm dry spot for about 2 weeks or until oil has taken the color of the herbs and the oil has evaporated.  Then strain the oil from the jar pressing as much of it out of the herbs as possible.  Let the oil sit overnight.  Decant it to separate it from any sediment or water that will settle to the bottom.  A turkey baster can be helpful in doing this.

Salve from herb-infused oil
What you’ll need: a double boiler, beeswax, 8 liquid ounces of herb oil, enrichers of your choice can also be added like vitamin E, lanolin, cocoa butter, coconut oil, etc. depending on your skin type. 

Gently warm 8 ounces of herb oil ion a glass or stainless double boiler.  Add 1 Tablespoon of beeswax; add small amounts of other enriching ingredients about ½ teaspoon at a time.  When the ingredients are all melt together, you check the consistency by dropping a few drops in ice water.  If the salve is thick in will form a little ball, if thin it will spread out over the top of the water.  Simply add ¼ teaspoon of beeswax at a time to firm it up or a bit more herb oil to thin it down.  While liquid pour it into a container.  Let it sit to cool.  If when it sets it is not the firmness you like, you can reheat it and add materials until you adjust it to your desires.

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