August is the month for harvesting herbs and if you have already dried herbs or frozen them it may be time for something else. Making oils from herbs and herbal vinegar is very easy and they have so many uses in the kitchen. Great for salads, marinates, tenderizing meat, flavoring soups and stews.
Choose mild flavored oils and vinegars so you don’t overpower your herbs and avoid distilled wine vinegar as it is too sour. Good choices for herbed oil are sunflower and safflower oils and cider, rice or white wine vinegar.
Pick your herb flowers and leaves early in the morning when their oils are most concentrated.
Rinse and pat dry. Lightly crush to release some of their flavors.
Fill your clean glass jar full with the crushed herb and pour in oil until the herbs are covered. Stir and seal with an air tight lid. Place the jar on a sunny sill and stir daily to keep releasing their flavors. If making herbal vinegars stir after pouring to remove air pockets and seal with a non-corrosive lid. Place in a warm, dark place.
Let the oil steep for 3 weeks. Strain the oil through a piece of cheese cloth and discard the used herbs. If you want you can pour into clean decorative glass food bottles and label.
Leave the vinegar to steep for 24 hours. Check jar and if vinegar is still not covering the herbs add more vinegar. After a few days strain though cheese cloth, bottle, label and store in a cool dark place.
Lemon balm and basil make great oils. For rosemary, savory and thyme add a bit of parsley to soften their strong flavors. Make sure you use a good quantity of herbs so your oils and vinegars will be full of flavor.