How to make your own herbal or floral infusions
Simply soaking herbs in oil isn’t enough to infuse the oil; it needs to be heated. There are a few ways of doing this so you will likely find one that suits your needs. The following describes how to infuse oils using the stovetop, a slow cooker, and the sun!
The common thread to all methods is to pack as many dried herbs as you can fit in a container, and then pour over the oil so that the herbs are completely submerged. Choose herbs that are completely dry (moisture and oil don’t mix). When the infusing is finished, strain the herbs from the oil with a fine sieve once, then pour the oil through a coffee filter or cheesecloth lined fine sieve. Store the infused oil with a tight fitting lid in a cool, dark place.
Some herbs that are good for infusing are:
Lavender – relaxing, antibacterial
Calendula – healing, soothing
Chamomile – calming, soothing
Comfrey – helps with pain and inflammation
Sage – pain relief, anti inflammatory
Mint – energizing, pain relieving
Rose – romance, love, adds pink color to oil
Thyme - Astringent properties
Stove Top Oil Infusing
Use a double boiler to slowly heat the oil and herbs. Pack a handful of herbs in the top of a double boiler, and pour oil over. If you are using coconut oil which is solid at room temperature, melt the coconut oil first then add the herbs. Fill the bottom pot with an inch of water and set the double boiler on medium low heat to warm up, then turn down to low for a few hours or until the oil becomes aromatic.
Slow Cooker Oil Infusing
The slow cooker method takes longer but it requires less attention than the other methods. Just set it and forget it! If you have a small slow cooker, you can add the herbs right into the ceramic bowl and set it on low for 8-12 hours. To do a number of different herbs in separate oils, you can put the oil/herb combination in mason jars and set those in the slow cooker. Infuse for the same timing: 8-12 hours on low. There is no need to put lids on the jars when you have the lid on the slow cooker.
Sun Infused Oil
Pack herbs into mason jars and pour oil over them. Screw on a lid and set in the sun for 8 hours. The summer sun can be very hot, so this method is best used in cooler months and with large jars. Over heating the oils can remove some of the beneficial properties and this method is one you will have to watch more closely. It doesn’t use any power beyond the sun so you can infuse oils right out in the garden as you harvest them!