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MM's Corner

Infusion 101

Posted by Mother Moon on July 15, 2015 at 10:15 AM

Infusions allow for adding the energy of botanicals to potions, baths, oils, magickal waters, etc.

The standard measurements for water based infusions, unless otherwise noted in a recipe, is 1 teaspon of dried herb or 1 1/2 teaspoons of fresh herb per every 1 cup of water.

So say you have a recipe that calls for 4 different dried herbs and 1 cup of water. Then you would use 1/4 of a teaspoon of each herb.

To create a water infusion:

First boil your water. I like to bring the water to a rolling boil.

While Im waiting I mix my herbs and place them into a container. Depending on what Im creating, I either use jars or bowls. Whatever container you decide upon, make sure its not plastic or it will melt! Also, place your containers in an area where they will not be disturbed - the last thing you want is for one of your children to get burned when they grab for hot jar!

Once your water is boiling, remove it from the stove and pour over your herbal mixture and allow for brewing.

Though the standard brewing time is usually 15 minutes, be sure to follow your recipe as some, more potent infusions, will call for much longer periods of time and sometimes even special storage during the process.

Oil Infusions:

The standard measurements for oil infusions, unless otherwise noted, of course,  is 1 ounce of dried herb or 1 1/2 ounces of fresh herb per every 1 cup of oil.

Oil infusions are quite a bit more elaborate than water infusions and they must be monitored and stired frequently.

Oil infusions call for a double broiler.

First put the water in the broiler. Make sure you only fill it 1/3 of the way or upto the suggested line within the broiler itself. You can go ahead and start heating the water on medium heat.

Next, mix your herbs in the bowl/pot that is placed within the broiler. Pour the oil over the herbs and stir, place the pot within the broiler and cover.

Once the oil starts to simmer, reduce the heat just a bit.

You dont want your infusion to smoke or burn or it will spoil the whole works and it will STINK to high heaven. If your infusion starts to smell acrid or burnt during the process, the infusion is completely ruined and cannot be used.

Check and stir the infusion about once every 5 to 7 minutes.

Your infusion needs to simmer for about 30 minutes. 

Remove the double broiler from the heat. Remove the top section that holds your infusion and leave it on the stove to cool. This will take quite some time. A general rule of thumb is that the pot/bowl should be cool to the touch. 

Once cool, strain your herbs. I tend to use 3 to 5 layers of cheese cloth over a fine strainer as it allows you to strain the herbs completely. Leaving too many herbs in your infusion can cause it to spoil.

If the recipe calls for essential or botanical oils, you can add these after the straining process.

Crock Pot Infusion Method:

You can also use a crock pot instead of a double broiler. Your oil and herb mixuture will need to be heated on the lowest setting for 2 to 3 hours. Again, check and stir your mixture often.

Once cooled, strain and bottle as directed.

Sun Infusion Method:

In order to use this method you're going to have to really depend on the weather.

Use a jar for this process.

Mix your herbs and place them into a jar. Pour the oil over the herbs. Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Put the lid on. Shake.

Leave the jar in the sun during the day and, depending on the recipe, during the night, place it in a warm but dark place at night. 

You might have to get creative here. I have found that in the back of my bathroom cabinet is a great place to steep infusions during the nighttime hours. 

Each morning, shake your jar and place it back in the sun.

This process will take from 2 to 6 weeks to complete depending on the recipe.

If, in the middle of your infusion process you happen to have a rainy day. I recommend placing your jar (on a pan) in the oven on 250 degrees for 30 minutes twice during daylight hours to keep the process regular.

MAKE SURE that the jar is oven proof.

If you've used a container that isnt oven proof, you can heat up a pot of water. Once boiling, remove from heat and place the jar within. Leave until the water is luke warm to the touch.

IMPORTANT: If you are making oil infusions in large quantities (anything that will not be used up in a couple of weeks), or to bottle individually you will have to use a preservative to keep them from spoiling.  1 teaspoon of Simple Tincture of Benzoin per 4 cups of infusion is what I recommend. Add the benzoin just prior to bottling.

Categories: Knowledge Base

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