When I swung by my parents’ house not too long ago, Mom sent me home with a lovely bottle of homemade orange oil. She had been using it in salad dressings and as a cooking oil, and wanted me to give it a try.
Ummmm…delicious! It’s got that fresh citrus flavor that adds a note of brightness without being overpowering. Obviously, I had to make my own. I went to mom for her secret “recipe.”
Turns out, orange oil is the easiest thing in the world to make. Mom didn’t have a formula, per se, just “grate an orange into high quality olive oil and let it sit for a week.” For posterity’s sake, I got a little more precise. I zested the rind of one orange, which yielded a quarter cup, into 1.5 cups olive oil, then let it sit in a clean jar for a week. Done! Just strain, funnel into your favorite container and enjoy.
Here are few tips:
- Be sure you wash your orange really well before infusing. You don’t want any of that waxy business they put on the peels getting in your oil.
- Consider using a lighter weigh extra virgin olive oil for dipping and salad dressing and a more hearty sunflower oil for cooking. Mom made scallops in the latter this week and swears they are divine.
- Zest with a microplane grater. Smaller pieces of orange rind yield more surface area, and in turn, more flavor.
- Try infusing different kinds of citrus and herbs. Mom is an experimenting fool! (Hmmm…wonder where I got it?) Orange is a favorite, but she says lemon and lime work well too. For whatever reason, tangerine turned out yucky.
The bottom line is that infusing oil is beyond easy and a fraction of the cost of the bottled stuff you find in specialty markets. Do you infuse your own oil? If so, share your experience with the class!