Flower & Herb Infused Oils
Infused oils are one of those things that we often purchase pre-made, but are so easy to make at home and make just to our liking, that you've got to try it at least once!
There's something almost magical about creating these potions yourself, and infusing your oils at home means that you can make any mixture you want and keep it around for as long as you like! (Within reason of course) They always come in handy to use in recipes that nourish your body from the within, or from without. :)
There are two ways that I infuse my oils: 1) Sunlight and a windowsill, 2) Slow-cooker and water.
Both methods are great, it just depends on how soon you need the oil to be ready, and the weather. The sunlight method NEEDS sunlight and warmth, so if the weather doesn't permit for that, then the slow-cooker is the way to go. Those of you living in Arizona or some other perpetually sunny spot on this planet can opt for the sunlight method just about any time of the year. The rest of us, not so much. So here are the dets:
Sunlight Method: 2-4 weeks on a windowsill in fairly direct sunlight. By infusing your oils this way, you get all that glorious sun energy infused in your oil right along with your herbs. This energy from the sun, referred to as Agni in Ayurveda, is very therapeutic and energetically medicinal. If you've got the time, it's the best infusion quality, plus it's even easier than the slow-cooker.
Slow-Cooker Method: 12 hours in a slow-cooker set on LOW or WARM. This method obviously takes waaaay less time, so if you want your oils pronto, this is your best bet. Your infusion will ultimately lack that solar magic charge, but you'll have what you need! When I use this method, I let the jar sit out on a windowsill for an hour to a few days afterward no matter the weather, just to get a little extra Agni in there.
So now that you've got your methods to choose from, it's time to pick your potion!
Choose Your Oil
The carrier oil you use will differ depending on what you're planning on using the oil for- If you want to use it for cooking, use a good quality Virgin or Extra Virgin Olive Oil. You could also do coconut or avocado oil, or some other high-fat (good fat) oil, but beware that the taste may get weird with flavorful carriers. It should also be an oil that can withstand higher temperatures, so don't use anything with a very low smoking point. Here's a good chart to find smoke points of various cooking oils. I honestly mostly stick to EVOO and coconut oil, but you can get creative! Hazelnut oil infused with cinnamon and nutmeg, or vanilla bean and cardamom for desserts...the possibilities are endless!
For oils for external use, you can use your favorite high quality oil like this sweet almond oil, coconut, avocado, or jojoba. If you want to add other oils like marula or something later, I suggest using almond or coconut oil as the carrier for the infusion, and then mixing it with the other oils later.
Whatever oil you choose, ALWAYS make sure it is FOOD GRADE quality. It should say so on the bottle. Seriously friends, our skin is a porous organ that absorbs everything we put on it, INTO our bodies- if you wouldn't put it in your mouth, pleeease don't put it on your skin.
Now- What to infuse it with?!
Choose Your Flowers or Herbs
I suggest using dried herbs and flowers, whether you dry them yourself first or buy them that way- this prevents any moisture that could cause your infusion to turn from getting in.
There are seriously eeeenndless combinations of herbs and flowers you could choose from, but when choosing, do your research to make sure that you are going to be using that herb or flower appropriately. Also be aware of whether your herbs or flowers are ingestible or not. Some that are ingestible in theory are not grown or prepared in a way that makes them food grade, i.e. they're not organic, they've had chemicals sprayed on them, they've been exposed to certain fungi etc. Especially when it comes to flowers- if you're buying dried flowers, it should always say on the package or in the description- FOOD GRADE. If they don't, don't use them. Dried flowers are used a lot to make potpourri, and those intended for potpourri are DEF not for eating or putting on your skin. Unless of course you have grown them yourself and know them to be organic and ok to eat.
Here, I'm making an infusion of Calendula (Marigold) and Chamomile, and an infusion of Rose and Lavender with a little bit of Calendula and Chamomile, to use in some upcoming body care recipes (watch for them, they'll be upon the blog soon!). These are the exact flowers that I bought and used, and I definitely invite you to make these same oils to join in the upcoming projects <3
The steps for both methods are almost the same, just the cooking time and method is different, so I've put them together for you to follow for either path.
You will need:
- Clear glass Jars with metal lids - 1 for each oil (if slow cooking, make sure the jars fit in the cooker with the lid on!)
- Enough herb or flower to equal your oil in volume
- Carrier oil
Slow-cooker with Low or Warm setting
1 Tea towel or kitchen towel
1. Fill your (dry) jar with your herbs or flowers, leaving at least 1-2 inches of room at the top. I did half calendula and half marigold in one jar, and 1/2 rose petals, 1/4 lavendar, 1/8 calendula, and 1/8 marigold in the other (eyeball measurements).
2. Pour your carrier oil over the herbs/flowers, making sure that the oil just covers them- not too much or you'll have a weak infusion, but by an inch or two. I used this almond oil for these infusions.
3. Screw the lids on the jars tightly. If you're infusing by sunlight only, you're almost done! Just set them on the windowsill for the next couple of weeks, and pick back up at Step 6. Slow cooker infusers, carry on to Step 4!
4. Line the bottom of your slow cooker with a tea towel, fill it halfway up with tap water, and turn it on to Low, or Warm if your cooker has a warm setting. (See the photo above).
5. Place your jars into the slow cooker, put the lid on, and carry on with your day or night! If you have your cooker set on WARM, leave them in for 12-14 hours. If you've got it set to LOW, leave them for 8-10 hours.
6. When your oils are done cooking by whatever method you're using, it's time to strain them. If you slow cooked 'em, allow them to cool completely before doing this, and sunners be aware that the oil may be quite hot from the sun, so allow it to sit in the shade to cool first.
7. Use a superfine metal sieve, or a cheesecloth to strain the oil into a new vessel to store them in, or put it back into the jar you made it in. Make sure you get all the oil, but without the herb and flower bits. It's best to use amber glass bottles or glazed ceramic vessels to store them in, to keep them from degrading from sun exposure.
8. Be sure to squeeze/press the flowers/herbs to get aaaaallll that goodness you've just created out of them and into your storage vessel. Store them in a cool dark place, and use them when you'd like!
Now that we've go the "How" on infused oils down, I'll be posting more on the "Why" for various medicinal oil concoctions that you can create for yourself!
Enjoy your beautiful creation! <3
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