Home gardeners and cooks alike will note that rosemary shows a remarkable resilience even as temperatures cool. But when you simply can't roast another chicken or season another stew, you may wonder what do with extra rosemary. Learning how to make rosemary oil can be a great way to make the most of this hardy herb.
From scented oil home fragrances and body lotions to culinary infusions, check out these simple steps to use rosemary oil around the home. And bonus—if you're not a whiz in the kitchen, there's a no-cook rosemary oil recipe, too!
Ingredients and Materials You'll Need
Whether you want to boil a batch of oil or try the no-heat method, you'll need the right tools and ingredients to create rosemary oil.
- Rosemary. Choose enough full sprigs to equal approximately one cup. You won't need the stems, only the needles.
- Oil. The specific oil you choose will depend on your preferences and the overall intended use. Extra virgin olive oil lends itself to culinary creations, but it may have an overpowering smell in comparison to other options. Safflower, canola, and sunflower oils are low- to no-odor alternatives that will let the rosemary's scent shine.
- Strainer or cheese cloth. You'll need something to strain the rosemary needles out of the oil. Avoid strainers with large holes or slats.
- Glass jar. Select a jar with a tight-fitting lid, such as a mason jar.
How to Make Rosemary Oil
The Cooking Method
For a gentle, even infusion, a slow cooker is probably your best bet—but if you don't have one, don't fret. You can also use a medium-sized pan and your stove top.
Start with the needles. Select four to six decent-sized sprigs of rosemary, taking care to completely remove the needles from the stems. Do not add the stems. Measure two cups of your chosen oil and add it to your slow cooker or pan to cover the rosemary needles. If you use more rosemary or have extremely large needles, add extra oil to compensate.
For the slow cooker method, cook the oily infusion on a low setting for at least two hours, checking it often. The mix should simmer but never boil. Turn the slow cooker off and let the oil steep for another hour while covered.
If you're cooking oil on a stove top, simmer the oil and rosemary on the stove in your medium-sized sauce pan for 10 minutes. Again, don't let the mix get too hot. Stir with a wooden spoon as needed.
After the mixture cools, strain the needles out. Collect the remaining scented oil in a clean glass jar with a tight-sealing lid.
The No-Cook Method
Even though you can cook rosemary oil, you don't have to. If you have time, patience and the desire to make rosemary oil sans heat, all you need is a glass jar. Place four or five springs of rosemary into a jar, leaving the needles attached to the stems. Fill the jar with the oil of your choice, close the lid, and place the herb-infused mix in a sunny window.
The next step is the easiest—do nothing. This recipe doesn't require a watchful eye. Instead, leave the jar on the windowsill, making sure nothing is nearby to knock it over, and wait for a month or so. At the end of a month, strain the rosemary and refill the jar with the infused oil.
How to Use Rosemary Oil
Now that your rosemary oil is infused and ready to go, it's time to take the next step and use it. Rosemary has plenty of benefits—provided you know how to use the oil correctly. According to research published in the journal Scientia Pharmaceutica, inhalation of rosemary oil can have a stimulating effect. While it may not replace your morning coffee, it may prove a welcome addition to your wake-up routine or offer a mid-day perk.
Even though rosemary can wake you up, it may also help you to relax. A study published in the journal Psychiatry Research found a connection between smelling rosemary and a decrease in levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
To catch a whiff of the savory scent, simply fill a small dish with the oil. Unlike a candle or scented spray, the smell won't overpower your home. Instead, you can gently fan the scent toward you nose and soak in the smell.
For a longer-lasting scent, add the oil to a plain body lotion or cream—two to three drops mixed well in a cup of unscented lotion is all you need. If you're feeling crafty, you can mix the oil with a solid shea, mango, or cocoa butter. If you don't already have a preferred body butter recipe or haven't Googled the seemingly infinite number of creamy concoctions available, you can start by melting the butter in a double boiler. Stir the boiled butter as it cools. Once it's at room temperature, add a few drops of the infused oil, stir, and put the mix in the fridge to set.
Use the rosemary oil sparingly. When it comes to recipes or homemade lotions and butters, more isn't better. A few drops will do. Too much oil could irritate your skin. Like other oils, you can absorb rosemary oil through the skin, but it should never be applied directly—always mix the rosemary infusion with a lotion, cream, or a similar body-friendly option.
What other ways do you use naturally derived ingredients around the home? Check out the @tomsofmaine DIY Naturally Pinterest board for more ideas!
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Why It's Good
Rosemary oil has benefits galore! But you don't need to buy the oil prepackaged in a store. Instead, you can try these DIY ways to bottle your own golden, glorious-smelling rosemary oil.