Growing up in Southern California I love the flavor of lime and cilantro in my food, a good olive oil infused with lime and cilantro adds an excellent flair of the south west to an dish. However infused oils are not available at all stores and they can be a bit expensive!
Making infused oils is an easy way to have a variety of scents and flavors added to any oil that you might use on your skin or in your food. All you need is some quality oil, the herb or spice you want to infuse and time!
Always use a light, high quality, organic, oil for making infused oils.
Extra virgin olive oil is excellent for both skin care and food, other light oils such as avocado oil, apricot kernel oil, sweet almond oil or sunflower oil are excellent for skin care products. I use primarily Olive oil, although I do occasionally use sunflower oil for skin care products.
Dried solid materials are always used for making infused oils, other wise you risk bacteria forming in your infused oil. You can use dried ground up herbs or dried whole parts of the herb, fruit, plants, etc. Working with cilantro however, can be tricky…once dried it doesn’t hold much of it’s distinctive scent or flavor. Lime on the other hand is relatively easy to work with as the peels hold both a strong scent and flavor when dried.
Begin with 6 Washed and dried large, organic, limes. Quarter the limes, to make it easier to peel them, and carefully peel the skin from the the flesh. If any flesh is left on the skin, it can lead to bacterial growth in your infused oil. You can use the flesh for lime-aide, keylime pie or anything else you can dream up.
It is important to use organic limes, free from pesticides as you are using the peels.
Lay the peels out on a cookie sheet for drying. Depending on your home’s room temperature this can take 24-72 hours or more for warmer moist climates. If you are in a big hurry for this part, you can put the peels in the over on the top rack and bake for 2-4 hours at 140°, however it is likely that they will still need to open air dry overnight.
While the limes are drying, thoroughly wash and dry about 2.5oz or 1 bunch of organic cilantro. Trim away the stems (these hold a lot of moisture). Using a food dehydrator or your oven set at 140° dehydrate the cilantro of 4 hours or until crispy. Cilantro does not open air dry well as it contains a lot of moisture. The normally, strong, scent of the cilantro will no longer be detected. Allow to cool completely.
Now that the lime peels and the cilantro and completed dehydrated, it is time to infuse the oil.
- In a pint size mason jar (or similar size glass jar) fill the bottom few inches with the extra light organic olive oil.
- Break 1/3 of the lime peels into small pieces and drop them into the oil, as the lime peels break apart you will smell their strong scent. Crush 1/3 of the dried cilantro with your hands and drop into the jar with the lime peels and oil.
- Now fill the far with a few more inches of oil until the cilantro and lime peels are completely covered with the oil.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the lime peels and the dry cilantro have all been placed inside the oil.
You should have about 1/3 dry material and 2/3 oil.
Tightly seal the jar and turn in different directions, to completely cover the dried material in oil. Place in a cool dark place, turning the jar in different directions about once a week to be sure all of the material is getting saturated with the oil.
After about 4-6 weeks, strain the lime and cilantro from the oil. Since this recipe if aimed for food, rather then skin care, I recommend double filtering the oil to remove all dried material. I usually use a screen strainer to first remove the largest bits of dried matter, then follow that with a coffee filter in a funnel to strain out the smaller pieces. It can take a bit of time for the oil to pass through the coffee filter.Your cilantro lime infused oil is no ready to enjoy! Store extra in a glass jar and use as you would regular olive oil.