The first method: Traditional Cold Brewing
Step 1: Clean a glass jar with soap and hot water (I like to spray it with 70% ethanol to sanitize after washing). Allow jar to completely dry.
|Cleaning and drying my jar.|
|Jar filled with Calendula petals|
Step 3: Pour in a liquid vegetable oil to cover the plant material. I like to use olive oil, but you can use sweet almond oil and many other types. You may want to choose your oil depending on what you plan to make with the infused oil. For a lip balm, sweet almond oil would probably be better than olive oil and for a massage oil you may prefer to infuse into fractionated coconut oil.
|Olive oil added to jar so that it is just above the plant material|
Step 4: Close the jar, shake, and place in a warm sunny window for at least 3 weeks but you could continue infusing for up to 6 weeks. During the first two weeks, try to shake the jar daily.
|Soaking up the sun's rays!|
Step 5: Strain out the plant material using either a metal mesh strainer and/or a cheese cloth.
Step 6: Bottle the infused oil and store in a cool dark place. The oils should be good for at least 1 year.
The second method: Quick Hot Brewing
Step 1: Place dry plant material into a crock pot, bain-marie, or a double-boiler. I prefer to use a crock pot as I can set it up and just come back occasionally to check on it. If you are doing this on the stove, you should be sure to stay nearby for safety.
Step 2: Cover plant material with oil of your choice. For this method, since you are adding heat you can even infuse into oils that are solid at room temperature (such as shea butter, coconut oil, mango butter, etc).
Step 3: Heat oils and plant material at about 100-125 degrees Fahrenheit for 1-3 hours. You want to gently heat the oil and not boil it as that could destroy the properties of both the oil and plant material.
Step 4: Strain away plant material as explained above.
Step 5: Store infused oil in a clean jar in a cool, dark place and it should be good to use for about 1 year.
This picture shows some of the other infusions I have made. The Ayurvedic olive oil is an infusion of 4 Indian herbs, the jewelweed infusion was made from the leaves of the plant, and the reddish-pink oil is alkanet root-infused olive oil. I can't wait to try the last one in soap to see how the color comes out!
|Other herbal infusions|