How Do I Make Clove Oil?

A pile of cloves.
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Pungent, piquant and peppery, cloves tie aromatics together in multifaceted dishes. You rarely find cloves as the main flavoring ingredient in a dish; they work best in supporting roles, such as infusions for finishing oils. Clove oil is used to anoint a dish with a suspicion of clove in the finish -- not enough to alter the flavor profile but just enough to make you think, "This has a little something special," and wonder what it is. Clove oil is easy to make, and a little goes a long way.

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Step 1

Toast about half a tablespoon of cloves in a saute pan over medium heat for every cup of oil you want to infuse. Toasting the cloves mobilizes their volatile oils and makes them easier to extract.

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Step 2

Wash the bottle and cap you'll use for the clove oil, along with a mortar, pestle and funnel. Fill the bottle with water and place it in a pot along with the mortar, pestle and funnel.

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Step 3

Cover the items in the pot with a few inches of water and boil for 10 minutes. Take the items from the water and invert them on a paper towel.

Step 4

Rinse the cloves in a colander under cool water and spread them out on paper towels to dry. Dry the mortar with a paper towel, if you need to, and pour the cloves in it while it's still warm from boiling.

Step 5

Lightly tap the cloves with the pestle to crack them. Pour the cracked cloves in the container, followed by high-quality extra-virgin olive oil. Use the funnel if you need to.

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Step 6

Tighten the lid or stopper on the bottle and store it in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Shake the bottle every couple of days.

Step 7

Infuse the oil with the cloves for two weeks, then taste it. If you want a stronger flavor, let the cloves steep for a few more weeks. If the flavor is where you want it, strain the oil through a sieve lined with cheesecloth and into an airtight sterilized serving bottle or container.

Step 8

Store the clove oil in the refrigerator and use within 1 month.

Things You'll Need

  • Saute pan

  • Bottle for infusing

  • Bottle for storing

  • Mortar and pestle

  • Funnel (optional)

  • Cheesecloth

  • Sieve

Tip

Half a tablespoon of cloves per cup of oil produces a moderately flavored oil. You can go as high as 1 tablespoon of cloves per cup of oil for a strongly flavored oil.

You can substitute quality sunflower or safflower oil if you don't want an olive taste in the clove oil.

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