I mentioned yesterday that I planned to make rosemary oil to give some people on my holiday gift list. I thought some of you might be interested in how to make it. Believe me, there is nothing simpler.
First, find some bottles with good lids or that can be corked. I found that the best bottles and most readily available are those little four-packs of wine that can be found in most stores that sell wine. And just think, you have to drink the wine first! The sacrifices we make. Well, I suppose you could use it in cooking, or to make wine vinegar or sangria. The little bottles have screw-on goldtone lids and the labels come off easily so they are super easy to re-use. Whatever bottles you use be sure to wash them thoroughly and sterilize. I suppose if you wash them in a dishwasher they would be sterilized enough, but use your own judgement on that. Then let them dry completely. This is important, otherwise you'll have drops of water floating around in your oil, not pretty.
Pick your rosemary on a dry sunny day, or buy fresh rosemary. Wash it and pat it dry. Then allow it to air dry until you are sure all trace of moisture is gone--for the same reason as drying the bottles.It's a good idea to leave it out to dry overnight in a dry spot out of direct light. If there is too much moisture in the rosemary, the oil could be cloudy and may spoil. I've never had that happen, but from what I have read, it's possible.
When bottles and herbs are dry, put sprigs of rosemary into the bottles. I usually use sprigs that go up to within an inch of the top of the bottle, and I put two of these in each bottle. Then use a funnel to add olive oil until the bottle is filled to 1/2 inch or so from the top. I prefer the lighter flavored olive oil. Olive oil assures a beautiful, clear golden oil with a lovely sprig floating in the bottle.
Then cap the bottle. That's it! It will take a week or two for the flavor of the rosemary to infuse the oil. You can add pretty trim or ribbon or whatever you like to dress up the bottle. Some websites suggest pouring the oil off into a new bottle without the rosemary as it will supposedly keep better. I've never done that, and have never had a problem with my oil going bad. It's best to store the oil away from sunlight--which is a pity, really, because it looks so lovely in the light!
What can rosemary oil be used for? I love it for tossing the veggies for roasted vegetables; it's also a wonderful dipping oil, or use it to saute vegetables or meats (I love venison with rosemary). You might want to include a recipe or two with your gift. It's also great to use as a hot oil treatment for hair, or as a facial cleanser. Italian women have used olive oil for centuries on their skin. I often use it myself--it's a great make-up remover.
I should mention that your oil will not smell like rosemary when it's in the bottle. But when you use it in cooking--ahhhhh. The pine-y scent of rosemary will delight your nose then.
Back to the kitchen. The canner of turkey meat is ready to take off the stove.