Decorate your kitchen with bottles of flavoured olive oils -- when you aren't using them for cooking, of course. Use flavoured oils in marinades, salad dressings and bread dips. Infused olive oils also make elegant gifts. Olive oil can take on the flavours of many herbs, spices and vegetables. A hot infusion flavours the oil quickly, while the flavour takes a few weeks to develop if the oil is simply added to a bottle with herbs or spices.
Measure out a single herb, spice or vegetable of your choice, or combine flavours. For garlic-flavoured oil, finely chop two or three heads of fresh garlic. For fresh herbs, whole spices or vegetables, measure out 3 cups of one ingredient or make a combination equal to 3 cups.
Add 3 cups of olive oil to the saucepan and stir in the flavourings. Heat the oil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until you see a few bubbles.
Reduce the heat to low and steep the oil for two hours, then remove from the heat.
Strain the oil through the cheesecloth or coffee filter into a heat-resistant jar or bowl. Allow it to cool for about 30 minutes.
Strain the cooled oil into an airtight bottle or jar for storage. Store it at room temperature or in the refrigerator; the oil will retain its quality longer in the refrigerator, notes Oregon State University Extension Service.
Prepare a cold infusion by putting about 2 tbsp fresh herbs or whole spices into a bottle and pouring warmed olive oil into the bottle. Leave the oil and flavourings in the bottle for two weeks before using to let the flavours infuse. Store the flavoured oil in the refrigerator.
You can leave the flavouring ingredients in the oil instead of straining it, but store the oil in the refrigerator for no more than three weeks.