The olive tree and its fruit have stood as a symbol of abundance for thousands of years. Here at My Olive Tree, the incredible versatility of the olive fruit continues to amaze us. In ancient times olive oil was utilized in every aspect of the European and Middle Eastern culture. One way in which its flavor was enhanced was through infusing the oil with herbs and spices found locally, or purchased through traders from other parts of the world.
Infusing olive oil is a way to add EXTRA flavor and aroma to the oil. Not only does infused olive oil add an additional zest to an already delicious meal, but it also makes for a beautiful and colorful gift idea for friends or family who love to cook.
So, because it is that “tis the season” time of the year, we thought we would share a few recipes we are excited to try ourselves. What we love MOST about infused olive oil as a gift idea is that although it may look incredibly complicated, it really is quick and easy to do. So, if you’ve got an overly crafty in-law, who is always wowing you with their homemade creations, this would be a great way to connect with them, while also demonstrating your own creative prowess.
First there are four things we recommend before you get started:
- Use extra virgin olive oil with big flavor from a provider that you trust—like My Olive Tree for example.
- When purchasing ingredients use fresh, organic choices if available.
- Pick out bottles that are clear and will display your beautiful creations well—a bottle with a cork or an old fashioned caning type lid will give this gift an old world
- Choose elegant labels that don’t overpower the rest of the packaging, but do let the gift recipient know what they’ve been given.
Lemon-Infused Olive Oil[i]
Author: Tina at Just Putzing
- 2 whole lemons
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 4-oz glass bottle
To make the lemon-infused olive oil—Using a vegetable peeler or paring knife, carefully strip one lemon of its zest. Try to keep each strip long and wide, and avoid getting any of the bitter white pith underneath. Stuff zest strips into your bottle. Set aside. Zest your second lemon, and set aside. (It’s not as important to make the zest pretty with this lemon. Just make sure you’re only getting the zest, and not the pith.) In a saucepan, heat olive oil until a few small bubbles start forming. (If your oil starts smoking, take it off the stove and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.) Scoop zest from second lemon into the warm olive oil. Let it steep for about 30 minutes. Carefully pour the lemony oil into your bottle over the uncooked strips of lemon zest, making sure not to get any of the cooked lemon zest get in. Don’t overfill. Cork the bottle and store in the refrigerator. Serve drizzled over salads, or in everyday cooking. (Use and/or throw out within 10-14 days.)
2 cups olive oil
4 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper flakes
Combine the oil and crushed red pepper flakes in a heavy small saucepan. Cook over low heat until a thermometer inserted into the oil registers 180 degrees F, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Transfer the oil and pepper flakes to a bottle. Seal the lid. Refrigerate up to 1 month.
Rosemary Infused Olive Oil
Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis
1/2 cup olive oil
3 fresh rosemary sprigs (each 5 inches long)
In small saucepan, combine oil & rosemary. Cook over low heat until a thermometer reaches 180 F, about 5 minutes. Remove and let cool to room temp. Transfer the sprigs to a bottle, then add the oil. Seal and refrigerate up to 1 month.
We hope you enjoy your fabulous creations, whether added to a salad, drizzled over pasta, or warmed and spread on fresh bread. These EXTRA additions to already delicious oil will have your friends and family begging for more!
PLEASE NOTE: Storing and preparing your oil properly is extremely important as botulism can occur if the oil goes bad. If you are making these oils as a gift make sure to make them close to the day that they will be received. You can put a “use by” date on the bottom of the bottle or just let the recipient of the gift know when to dispose of the excess oil. For more information about botulism in infused oil please see the information provided here http://umaine.edu/publications/4385e/.
My Olive Tree’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Northern Israel is light and full of delicate flavor; our Northern Israel oil is perfect for salad dressings, marinades, or as a hummus topping! It mixes well with the spices of your choice leaving you with a smooth and well-balanced flavor.