Hanukkah commemorates rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire and the Biblical miracle of a small amount of sacred lamp oil meant for one day that lasted eight days and kept the Temple lit.
It was sacred pure olive oil and as such, oil has great significance in the celebration of Hanukkah. So, why not gift pure gourmet olive oil during this celebration? You can make it more special and personalized by infusing it yourself with special flavors which express your spirit during the festivities.
How To Make Infused Olive Oil
Quality Olive Oil – A light olive oil will make your added ingredients shine.
Flavorings – You can flavor oil with either whole or ground spices and fresh herbs.
Recommended Spices: Dried red pepper flakes, Star anise, Mustard, Sichuan peppercorns, Coriander, Cumin, Fennel seed, Caraway, Paprika.
Recommended Herbs: Basil, Cilantro, Chives, Tarragon, Mint, Marjoram, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Sage, Parsley, Dill.
You will need about 2 tablespoons of flavoring in total per cup of oil.
Aside: I tend to use Rosemary because I have a giant bush and I can have long springs float inside my bottle for a beautiful visual effect. I simply use Rosemary, Mustard, and Peppercorn for flavored olive oil that is great for potatoes or meats.
1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan with the spices and herbs for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is lightly bubbling. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool completely before straining.
(If you are using soft herbs like cilantro, basil or mint, you will first need to blanch, shock, drain, and blend with the oil in a food processor before heating for best results.)
2. To prevent any cloudiness, take care when straining the infused oil mixture into bottles. If you’re making oil infused with soft herbs like cilantro, be sure to strain the mixture without pressing on the solids. For oil infused with woody herbs like rosemary, simply remove the herbs from the oil before straining.
Note: If you put herbs into the bottle with the cooled oil for a pretty presentation, it will result in slightly cloudier oil.