Want to spice up the flavour of your dishes without much effort? Infused olive oil is a great way to bring new flavours into your kitchen. You don’t need much more than high-quality olive oil and spices, herbs, lemons or some essential oils. There are hardly any limits – from garlic to lemon, rosemary, sage and basil, chilli and truffle – everything is possible. But care should be taken when making it.
How can I make flavoured olive oil myself?
To add flavour to your olive oil, you can either use herbs and spices or aromas in the form of essential oils.
- Cold infusion
For delicate herbs like basil, oregano, and parsley or small ingredients like peppercorns, cold flavouring is a great way to add flavour to your olive oil. To do this, mix olive oil with dried (!) finely chopped herbs and let the mixture sit in the fridge until the oil has taken on the desired flavour. This usually takes a few days. Finally, strain the spices out of the oil and pour it into a clean bottle.
- Heat infusion
For herbs, such as sage or rosemary, as well as dried ingredients (for example mushrooms, chilli or tomatoes), heat flavouring is recommended to bring out the deep flavours. To do this, heat the olive oil and add the herbs and spices while it cools. After a few hours, the oil has taken on the flavour and can be filtered through a sieve and put into a bottle. It can then be stored either in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
Is it dangerous to flavour olive oil with fresh or dried ingredients?
Herbs and spices, especially fresh but also dried, can pose dangers. Adding spices and herbs can contaminate olive oil with Clostridium botulinum. Although it is possible to keep the bacteria at bay by following kitchen hygiene rules, not all bacteria can be removed from ingredients in household use.
What is Clostridium botulinum??
Clostridium botulinum is a bacterium that can multiply without oxygen and forms so-called spores. These spores are extremely resistant even to unfavourable environmental influences. During reproduction, neurotoxides can be formed, which can lead to the disease botulism in humans. Neurotoxides can be ingested by humans when eating contaminated food. Possible consequences: Nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal disorders. In severe cases, typical signs of the disease occur, such as double vision, pupillary rigidity, speech disorders and later respiratory paralysis and suffocation while fully conscious.
Tip from the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment: Be careful when using fresh products for flavoured oil. It is better not to produce in stock to reduce the risk of food poisoning.
Flavouring with essential oils and natural aromas
One way to avoid this danger is to flavour olive oil with the help of aromatic oils. This prevents the formation of toxins and achieves oils that are equally rich in flavour. For this, you only need a few drops of high-quality aromas, which you can add to the olive oil. At il circolo we flavour our oil with high quality natural aromas and organic essential oils to bring out the flavours in a special way and to be able to carefully tune the intensity. Each in its own way: Al limone (lemon) for a fresh acidity, al rosmarino (rosemary) for a typically intense Italian flavour, al peperoncino (chilli) for that extra spice and al tartufo (truffle) for a rich earthy taste. You only need a few drops for a delicious result.
Can aromas already be added during the pressing of the olive oil?
Some olive oil producers use a production process in which, for example, basil leaves, lemon peel or chilli peppers are already added to the olives during pressing. Of course, the olive oil also mixes with the essential oils in this process. However, due to its short processing steps and low temperature, the production process of an excellent olive oil is not ideal to extract the essential oils from the spices, herbs or lemon peels at the same time. Moreover, in order to avoid the proliferation of Clostridium botulinum, the olive oil is often exposed to high temperatures, which significantly reduces the quality of the olive oil.
How to use infused olive oil?
Although it can be heated, our flavoured olive oil is best for seasoning just before serving. In a dish like pasta with almond and lemon pesto, a few drops of lemon oil can enhance the flavour enormously and leave a completely different dining experience.
You can also use flavoured olive oil to add extra flavour to a dish, for example a few drops of chilli oil on your minestrone will give the dish the spiciness you might need on a cold and rainy day. A drizzle of rosemary oil, on the other hand, would give the minestrone an intense herbal flavour. So it’s up to you how you spice up your dishes.
Buying flavoured olive oil
Curious about flavoured olive oil? Then you’ve come to the right place. You can find organic extra virgin olive oil and delicious flavoured olive oil in our webshop. 🙂
We import the olive oil ourselves from Sicily and can therefore guarantee the best quality. Take a look at our webshop and get to know our products!