Olive oil fusion vs. infusion

What is the confusion about Fusion vs. Infusion

Definition:

adjective (of food or cooking) combining usually widely differing ethnicor regional ingredients, styles, or techniques: a restaurantserving French-Thai fusion cuisine; a fusion menu.

infusion [ihn-FYOO-zhuhn] An infusion is the flavor that’s extracted from an ingredient such as tea leaves, herbs or fruit by stepping them in a liquid (usually hot), such as water, for tea. In today’s culinary parlance, sauces that have been variously flavored (as with herbs) are also called infusions.

In olive oil “fused” is also referred to as “agrumato” in Italy. Agrumato olive oil is made by crushing ripe, sound olives with whole, fresh fruits, herbs or vegetables at the time of crush.  If you were to spilt lemons and mix with the olive at the time of the crush, this process allows for the essential oils from the citrus peel to mingle with the oil from the olives.  The result would be a mix of about 20% oil which is separated from the water, and the result is a bright, fresh fused lemon citrus olive oil.

“Infusion” is the process of adding flavor to olive oil after it has been made.  This is the most common kind of olive oil made.  It makes great gifts and adds nice flavors when cooking.  The secret in making good infused olive oil in good quality ingredients.  I like to use extra virgin olive oil.

How to make your own infused olive oil

This can be so much fun but you will need to take care and make them safely.  You can freeze infused oil in an ice cube tray after straining to preserve it for use later, just pull out a cube and add to your recipe.

Just like canning, infusing oil can encourage the growth of botulism bacteria, particularly when using fresh ingredients. To prevent this there are a few simple steps you need to use:

  • Home infused oils should always be immediately refrigerated and used within a week.
  • Make sure your hands, ingredients and work surfaces and tools are clean.
  • Make sure ingredients are dry. Water in the oil will encourage rancidity.
  • Sterilize your jars. (hold them in boiling water at 250 degrees.

There are two ways to infuse your oil, one with heat and a cold process. In both a good ratio for ingredients is 1:4. So ¼ cup of flavoring with 1 cup of oil.

With Heat:

The easiest way is to just cook your ingredients in sizzling oil for 5 minutes, then strain into your container.

Or

Wash and dry ingredients, then bruise them and place in a sterile jar. Gently heat oil over low heat until just warm (1 to 5 minutes depending on quantity of oil). Allow to cool slightly, then pour into the jar making sure all flavorings are completely submerged. Cover tightly and allow to steep in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to a couple of days before straining into a new, clean container. (longer steeping yields stronger flavors).

Without heat:

Cold-process oils are best used with dried ingredients. You can pour the oil straight over the herbs. Wash and dry ingredients and place in a blender with oil until all ingredients are evenly broken up, pour into sterile jar. Cover tightly and allow to steep in refrigerator for a couple of days before straining into a new clean container.

Have fun and be safe when making your own infused oils and be sure to buy your dried chili from Chef Lippe.

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Filed under Food, recipes, spices

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