Herbal Oil Infusion - The Fast Track
Normally when making Herbal Oil Infusions I would leave the herbs or flowers in the oil on a sunny windowsill for a couple of weeks, even a month, stirring occasionally, pressing the old herbs and adding new. That's the best way to do it.
BUT, I needed a fast-track way to have some lovely herbal infused oil..well, actually, floral-infused oil by Sunday morning. It's Thursday! Uh Oh!
The cure? I have mixed my flower tops in the oil just as I would for a long-term infusion, but have decided to slowly and gently heat them in a heat-proof glass container atop a double boiler. The glass container is not touching the water, so that only the steam reaches the herbal mix. I am keeping the water at the lowest simmer that will make a small amount of steam.
I will let this infuse all day today. I'll cool, press the floral mix, add new flower heads, cover again with the strained and pressed oil, and steam all day tomorrow. On Saturday I'll strain and press the oils.
On Sunday I will use my newly created Infused Oil to make a lovely sugar scrub for a party that afternoon.
I will let you all know how I like the results, or better yet, how the ladies like the results when they use their scrubs at home after the party.
This is a 2-Day Project, so allow yourself enough time to enjoy the process.
HOW TO MAKE an HERBAL OIL INFUSION
THE FAST TRACK
In this Recipe I am making a Lavender, Red Rose and Chamomile Infusion. You may substitute the flowers and/or herbs of your choice.
2 cups dried herbs or flower heads
2 cups organic extra virgin coconut oil (76 or 96 degree)
(substitute almond, grapeseed or olive oil if coconut oil is not available, do not use blended vegetable oils such as cooking oil)
Heat-Proof Glass Container (I am using a large 3 qt measuring cup)
Medium to Large Pot
(should be large enough to hold glass container high enough to avoid the water and snug enough so that the container will not slip during the process)
Wooden Mixing Utensil
Funnel or Large Bowl
Cheesecloth or Unbleached Muslin (unbleached cotton if that's what you have)
Clean DRY Glass Container with Lid (mason jar, clean dry mayo jar, etc.)
Large Rubber Band
Fill your pot half way with cool water, turn on high heat and bring to boil.
Turn heat to medium low, and adjust to just a low simmer.
In your large heat-proof glass container, add 1 CUP ONLY of your herbs/flowers and pour all of the coconut oil over top
(coconut oil may not all come out of container, if that's the case, invert the container atop the mixture while its steaming. very shortly the oil will melt and you'll be able to get it out)
Stir to blend.
Carefully place glass container in the top of the pot full of simmering water, being sure that the top of the water does not touch the bottom of the glass container.
Allow the mixture to steam over SLOWLY simmering water for 6 hours, replacing water as it evaporates.
Allow to cool off enough to work with by hand.
Place a single layer of unbleached cheesecloth, muslin or cotton over the container
Secure with a rubber band
Carefully turn the glass container upside down over the large bowl
Use a funnel to work with a smaller bowl
Allow the container to remain upside down, covered with the cloth, until all the oil drains into the second bowl
When all the oil has seeped into the second bowl, its time to Press
To Press the herbs, wrap the strained mixture of herbs/flowers in a large piece of muslin, cheesecloth or unbleached cotton, OR use a large unbleached reusable tea bag or cloth sack and fill with the flower mixture. Tie securely with cotton string or hemp cord.
Place the wrapped mixture in your sieve over the bowl or use another clean DRY bowl if you like.
Press the wrapped mixture down against the sieve with your wooden utensil, a mallet, or (and this is what I do) place a heavy object such as a stone mortar/pestle or a second smaller but heavy bowl atop the wrapping and weight it with crystals or other heavy objects.
BE SURE that the object or utensil that you use is CLEAN and BONE DRY! You don't want to get any water into your infusion, this can end up causing you mold problems and ruining all your work.
Allow all the remaining oils that you can squeeze from the herbs/flowers to drain into the bowl.
Now start all over again.....
If you are going to wait until tomorrow, then cover your container and place in a cool dry place, but NOT the refrigerator.
In your makeshift double boiler bottom pot, again, heat 1/2 pot water to boiling. Reduce heat to a slow simmer.
Place your saved, strained and pressed oil, in your heat-proof glass container, over the water, but not touching.
Add 1 CUP of the herb/flower mixture
Stir to blend.
Allow to steam another 6 hours, replacing water in the pot when needed.
After 6 hours:
Remove from heat,
Cool to touch
Strain and Press same as on Day 1
Transfer to a CLEAN and BONE DRY glass container
Cover with a clean and BONE DRY lid, secure.
Now you are ready to use your New Herbal Oil Infusion in your soaps, homemade skin care creams, or even in cooking!
Pat yourself on the back...you've done a great job!
AND you've made an all natural, good for you, good for the Earth, product that you can be truly proud of!
Please...let me know how your Infusion turned out.
Experiment with different oils, herbs, flowers, etc.
Hope You Had Fun!
Never use a metal container.
Never boil or overheat your mixture.
Make sure to keep checking your pot to be sure there's enough water to produce steam.
KEEP WATER OUT OF YOUR MIXTURE AT ALL TIMES