Lemon Olive Oil

I have finally used up all the lemons my cousin Art sent to me from Arizona.  In my last efforts to prolong the essence of lemon in my kitchen I decided to make lemon olive oil.  I have made spicy chili pepper olive oil before in which I infused the oil with the dried chilis, but lemon olive oil requires a different method.

I discovered through The Olive Oil Source, a website dedicated to all things pertaining to olive oil, there are safe and unsafe ways to infuse oil.  You can safely infuse oil by placing dried herbs or spices directly into the oil to steep.  But, it is unsafe to use that method with anything that contains water or moisture {i.e. lemons, garlic, fresh peppers, fresh herbs}.  This is harmful because botulism bacteria can thrive in the water/moisture.  The oil itself will not host bacterial growth, only the water.  

So, how do you safely infuse the oil with lemons?  One way is to used preserved lemons.  Although the preserved lemons are wet, they are brined in salt which prevents the bacterial growth.  I did not choose this method to make my lemon olive oil because I was apprehensive the brine would change the oil's flavor.  

A second option to make the lemon olive oil is to use an olive press.  This will extract the oils from the skin of the lemon and removes the watery components.  Since I don't have an olive press, I did not pick this method either.

A third method, the one I used,  involves cooking the lemon rind and olive oil at a low heat.  The heat will kill off the bacteria as well as evaporate any moisture left on the rind.  

Olive oil reacts to sunlight {oxidization} and may become rancid if exposed to heat and light.  It is best to store your oil in a dark colored glass bottle and place it in a dark, cool location.  Yes, I realize that the picture above is in a clear glass bottle, but that's to show off it's lovely lemon color.  My main bottle of Colavita olive oil is in a dark green glass bottle :)   

Once made, the lemon olive oil would taste delightful drizzled over asparagus ricotta penne pasta or even grilled fish.  Here's to good food and gladness!

CLICK HERE for a printer friendly recipe.

Ingredients for Lemon Olive Oil

  • 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large lemon- peels only containing no white pith

Directions for Lemon Olive Oil

  1. Wash and scrub skin of lemon.  Dry thoroughly.  Using a paring knife or vegetable peeler, remove the yellow peel of the lemon avoiding the bitter white pith.

  2. Place the olive oil and lemon peel in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, do not allow the oil to simmer.  Cook for 10 minutes, monitor the heat and adjust to low setting if needed.  After 10 minutes, remove from the heat source and allow to cool.

  3. Strain lemons from oil then pour into a clean, dry bottle.  Store in a cool, dark place.