Making the Most of the Harvest – Herb Infused Oil

Today it’s all about making the most of the herb harvest, with basil infused oil so you always have summer to hand on the kitchen shelf.

Okay, so we’re not technically self sufficient in basil.  But, thankfully we know someone who is.  And, better still (for us, not them), they’re spending summer in sunny Blighty.  This means we get to carry out a weekly ‘huerto’ check.  We see that their rather splendid automated watering system is working correctly and that the local bunny population hasn’t stolen all their vegetables.

On our last visit, we noticed their basil patch was looking to take over the entire huerto.  So being the kind souls we are, we erm ‘pruned’ it for them.  Which rather nicely leads me on to my most recent preserving find – herb infused oil.

Now for preference, I’d choose fresh herbs over ‘herb infused’ concoctions any day of the week.  But, there are times when even windowsill bound summer herbs just do not provide enough new growth to keep the kitchen full of their delightful aroma.

If you too, have a bountiful supply of summer herbs (or can get your hands on someone else’s) why not have a go and create some gorgeous scented oil for use all year long.  And, of course, if you plant yourself an olive tree now, you’ll be able to make this in a completely self-sufficient way in twenty years or so.  But, if you’re lacking in the olive tree department, this doesn’t need to be made with any particularly expensive olive oil.  A light, cheap version should be fine.  After all, you want the predominant flavour to be basil.

You could use any mixture of herbs you enjoy, and some citrus zest or spices could even go in too, but basil is a Dirty Boots favourite, so this is what I made yesterday.

Basil Infused Olive Oil


  • 2 litres olive oil
  • 250g basil leaves


This really is rather simple.  Slowly warm the oil in a large pan to 40°C (104°F).  In the meantime lightly bruise the basil leaves and pack into a large, sterilised, warm glass jar.  Pour over the oil and seal.  Leave for three weeks, then filter out the herbs and decant to pretty sterilised bottles (or throw back into the big glass jar).

Once filtered, this should keep for a year.  If you can’t face filtering out the herbs, just make a smaller batch and use it all up within three months.  Any longer, and you’ll probably find the basil will be starting to get a bit slimy and less than appetising.

This is brilliant on salads, as a finishing touch to soup and drizzled on good crusty bread.  Just don’t forget to make a little extra to pay back whomsoever you pinched the herbs from!  An elegant way to make the most of the herb harvest, summer in a bottle all year long.

For a more self sufficient future

One Response to “Making the Most of the Harvest – Herb Infused Oil”

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  1. d.a. says:

    Trying it out tonight – thanks for the recipe!