Herbs and spices offer variety of nutrients we need. But cooking with essential oils actually helps to make cooking much easier and more flavorful. Instead of spending time chopping and slicing and preparing, just adding one or two drops of essential oils you can make your food yummy and healthy without any artificial flavoring ingredient.
It’s very important to remember that when cooking with essential oils, first of all you need to convert the amounts. Since the essential oil is a concentrated portion of its original source, it should be used in much smaller quantities than the whole substance. A good rule of thumb is that a drop of essential oil will replace a tablespoon of herbs and spices and that you don’t need more than one or two drops for a full recipe.
Another thing to remember when cooking with essential oils is that they should still be diluted into a lipid first. This not only keeps us safe, but it helps to ensure the oil and flavor get dispersed throughout the whole dish.
For savory recipes, dilute into a bit of olive or coconut oil. Stir, then add to the recipe.
For sweet recipes, honey or a syrup works well; however, this is better done with non-liquid dishes as neither are sufficient to keep the essential oil safely dispersed in water, tea, etc.
Finally, you should remember to delay adding essential oils. For hot recipes, you need to wait until the end of the process before adding the essential oil. They are called “volatile oils” for a reason – they are relatively fragile and will dissipate quickly in high heat.
For stovetop recipes, after the cooking is finished, stir your diluted essential oil into the dish. For baking, you’ll simply expect to lose a bit of the properties in the process. Dilution throughout the recipe will help, and you’ll still be able to enjoy the flavors of cooking with essential oils, no matter what.
There are two main concerns about cooking with essential oils
- Alteration of chemical structure
Both of these concerns are valid, but that shouldn’t stop us from enjoying the culinary use of cooking with essential oils. In order to avoid damage of their beneficial properties, you should minimize exposure to high heat by adding essential oils last, and minimize evaporation by proper dilution and dispersion throughout the recipe.
While one would think boiling would eliminate the beneficial properties, but some recent studies found that retention of the properties of some essential oils such as oregano and thyme were better during boiling than baking.
For the absolute best in safety and flavor, it’s very important to get high quality, therapeutic grade essential oils
Here are some of the best essential oils for cooking.
It’s easy to start with cool and refreshing peppermint essential oil. A drop of peppermint essential oil added to honey turns an ordinary mug of tea into a stimulating, energizing jump start. Peppermint also blends well in lemonade, and for the adventurous – go for a lavender, peppermint, lemonade mix.
Peppermint oil is great to be used in candies and chocolates to make your own mint treats. Peppermint oil is one of the most highly recommended natural cures for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) symptoms like indigestion, gas, bloating, pain, and irregularity.
All citrus oils are also great for cooking! Citrus oils are unique in that they are pressed directly from the peel of the fruit. That means they aren’t steam distilled – which means they’ve yet to undergo heat. This makes citrus potentially more sensitive to heat applications. Use citrus oils properly emulsified in drinks, smoothies (orange-cream, anyone?), and treats. Add to stir-fries and casseroles, one-pot wonders, and even in dips. There are no limits with these delicious, fruity oils.
Citrus essential oils are linked to energizing, antimicrobial properties and may even contribute to weight loss efforts.
Bergamot essential oil is a quick and easy way to flavor dishes with enjoyably citrus –like flavor. Try bergamot in scone recipes and other treats to take advantage of its excellent pairing with mild flavors. Bergamot essential oil is a cold-pressed citrus oil that is associated with stress relieving, anti-anxiety benefits.
Cinnamon essential oil is strong in both flavor and effects. It’s more important than ever to dilute properly to protect sensitive membranes, and to only use a drop or two for a recipe.
Cinnamon essential oil works very well in sweet dishes, particularly cinnamon bark oil to replace powdered cinnamon bark. Think cinnamon French toast, you could add a drop into the eggs before dipping the toast into it, or to give an extra cinnamon boost in cinnamon rolls.
Cinnamon essential oil is associated with antimicrobial and antioxidant effects, as well as being a stimulating, energizing oil.
Cardamom is known as a strong antioxidant with potential digestive benefits. It is an excellent pairing with cinnamon oil. Use cardamom and cinnamon as part of a chai flavor blend or in any spice-flavored dessert or treat.
Cardamom powder is also included in some savory recipes, adding a warm flavor touch to meat dishes and main courses. Adding cardamom essential oil in place of the powder may add digestive benefits to the recipe as well as tons of flavor.
Cardamom essential oil is associated with digestive wellness such as nausea relief, as well as potent antioxidant composition.
Another digestive substance, ginger root has long been used to relieve nausea and protect the stomach. Ginger essential oil can be used in similar ways, and it is great for cooking.
Add ginger to sweet treats like ginger snaps, gingerbread, and spiced drinks, without a doubt. But also try it in sauces for savory dishes like stir fries and marinades. Fresh ginger has to be peeled and grated, so ginger essential oil can be a quick and easy addition when time is short but flavor is needed.
Ginger essential oil is linked to digestive wellness, nausea prevention, and anti-inflammatory benefits.