This Is The Perfect Fruit To Infuse Into Olive Oil

If you have only ever tried regular oil and view it as simply an ingredient to help with cooking rather than a flavor of its own, and have never sampled an oil that has had some type of herb, spice, or other flavor infused into it, you're missing out. Infusing oil gives the simple fat a whole new flavor profile, and can easily elevate a dish. While your mind may immediately leap to fragrant herbs like rosemary, or strong flavors like chili peppers, there's one fruit you don't want to overlook when it comes to oil infusions: oranges (via Food52).

As fans of cooking with citrus fruit will know, any type of citrus can deliver some much needed acidity to a dish, livening up the flavors and adding a bit of brightness and freshness. However, the juice of a citrus fruit is only one potential component to use. While the peel doesn't contain the same acidity, it packs in just as much flavor and can be a great tool in your cooking arsenal. Orange-infused oil can be used on everything from proteins to salads, and it'll add a little something extra that will make your dish truly shine. Sure, there are places where you can buy a bottle of oil that someone else has infused with orange, but those typically come with quite a mark-up and will cost you far more than a simple bottle of oil and bag of fresh oranges would.

How to infuse the oranges into oil

While some home cooks may feel intimidated about infusing their own oils, trust us — it couldn't be easier to do. First, you need to decide what type of oil you're using, and fill a saucepan with it. Since infused oils are typically used more as condiments, for finishing dishes and adding some extra flavor, you don't need to worry about selecting a neutral-tasting oil simply because of its high smoke point (via Bon Appétit). Instead, find an oil that is pleasant and flavorful on its own, as it will only get better with your added flavor. Then, add in your orange peels, and simply heat the mixture for about 10 minutes (via Food52). Note that you don't want to let the heat get too high; a medium heat level on your stovetop should get those flavors infused perfectly.

One of the great things about infusing your own oil, beyond the cost savings, is that you can control the intensity of the flavor. If you're looking to experiment with a few recipes and you really want a punch of orange flavor coming through the oil, you can increase the amount of orange peels you add to really ensure that flavor is packed into the oil. Once you're happy with the orange-infused oil, strain out the peels and store your artisanal creation in an airtight container. If stored in a cool, dark place, your orange-infused oil should last for about a month.