My next-door neighbor has a lemon tree. Every year about this time, they begin peeking out from behind they’re protective winter overcoat of foliage like rays of liquid sunlight. And I’m reminded that spring is just around the corner. Depending on the season in your region, February/March is a transitional time when we look for a sign to break out from the doldrums of winter. For me, it’s the bright yellow orbs of lemons screaming out to be plucked, peeled, and squeezed. I prefer to start my oil infusions early in the season as they do take a few weeks to cure, which is why I am leading the series with lemon oil as I prepare the pantry and kitchen for the lighter fare of grilled spring vegetables and summer salads. These oils are simple to make and provide an added lift to food when blending, drizzling, dabbing, or dipping. Because I use this oil so frequently, I usually double the recipe.
Recipe notes: What you will need: 16-oz Mason jar, paring knife, vegetable peeler, and strainer. Active prep time: 20-minutes. Difficulty level: Easy
FYI: When infusing oils with fresh ingredients, food safety is paramount. Unlike dry ingredients, fresh ingredients contain water, which allows bacteria to live and grow. Clostridium botulinum (C. bot) thrives in an oxygen-free environment like oil. This is why certain precautions should be adhered to in preparation and in storing to prevent botulism poisoning.
- Thinly peeled rind from 4 large lemons
- 1-cup grapeseed oil
- Using a vegetable peeler or paring knife, peel rind.
- Using a paring knife at a slight 90-degree angle, strip away the white part or pith. If left on, the oil will become bitter.
- Place rind in Mason jar. Heat oil for 2-minutes in the microwave and pour over rind. Allow to cool. Seal the jar and refrigerate for 1-week.
One week later: Strain the oil and discard rind.
Transfer to the desired bottle and store it in the refrigerator for 1-2 months. Bring to room temperature before using it.