Rosemary & redcurrant infused olive oil
Beautiful, flavoured oils for the foodie in your life
In episode 3 of The Hairy Bikers – Home for Christmas I walked you through how I make my festive rosemary & redcurrant oil. I chose redcurrants because of their bright festive colour but it all honesty they are more for decoration than flavour. Redcurrants can be hard to come by now (they are in season in the UK, July through to early September) so if you need to you can use dried cranberries instead (in season October through to December).
The basic recipe can be adapted very easily. For instance, try swapping the redcurrants for citrus peel and rosemary for thyme – just think about the flavours you enjoy on salads and meats and get creative!
The key thing to remember is the peel, berries and herbs all need to be thoroughly dried out before adding them to a sterilised bottle. Chillies and garlic are also really tasty to add to oils but if you use fresh garlic you’ll need to keep your oil in the fridge to prevent it going off.
In terms of the presentation, I recycled bottles I already had at home for this recipe but it’s nice to pick up ones that are unusual shapes or sizes to give your gift a unique look. These faceted glass bottles from Lakeland (£4.49) are ideal for the job and come with an airtight lid.
Here’s the full recipe and a few little tips for foraging and drying herbs (you can also watch the episode again here until the 4th January – I’m about 29 minutes into the programme).
Festive Food Gifts: Rosemary & Redcurrant OilPrint This
- 5 sprigs of rosemary per bottle
- 1 punnet of redcurrants
- Olive oil
- Edible glitter (optional)
Drying process for redcurrants
- Preheat the oven to its lowest temperature (around 50ºC)
- Wash the redcurrants in a colander and tip out onto a clean tea towel. Using paper kitchen towels, gentle pat the fruit dry.
- Line a large baking tray with baking paper and gathering the tea towel at both ends pour the fruit carefully onto the baking tray.
- Then place the tray of redcurrants in the oven (turn the fan on if possible and dry for 8 hours (or until fully dried out). It’s vital that you dry the berries out properly as not doing so can cause bacteria and create cloudy coloured oil.
Drying process for rosemary
- With scissors, snip sprigs off of the rosemary plant.
- Wash the sprigs and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Tie the sprigs in a bunch and hung somewhere dark and dry for approximately two weeks (or until fully dry).
Making the oils
- Sterilise the bottles by washing in hot soapy water, but do not dry them with a tea towel. Instead, stand them clean roasting tray whilst wet and put them into a preheated oven at 160–180ºC for about 15 mins.
- By hand, slide the rosemary sprigs into your bottle.
- Then add the dried redcurrants into the bottle.
- Using a funnel then pour in enough olive oil to fill the bottle and seal the bottle with the lid/cork and leave in a cool, dry place.
- Add a sprinkling of edible glitter if you want to make it extra special then, once the bottle is firmly sealed, shake well and then store for at least two weeks in a cool, dark place. Test the flavour and store for longer if desired.
1. Even if you don’t have a garden yourself Rosemary bushes are easy to find and when they are happy, they grow like wild fire. Just keep your eyes peeled and if you spot one in a neighbour’s garden, ask permission to take a few cuttings.
2. The best time to take cuttings is in the morning, after the sun has dried off all the morning dew.
3. If you are drying your herbs somewhere where there’s lots of light, cover with a brown paper bag to prevent colour bleaching. Punch a few holes into the paper to ensure ventilation.
4. Redcurrants are in season from in June through to early September so it’s worth picking them early and drying them in advance of Christmas.