by Ashley Stone
You may not realize that the fragrant and healthful essential oils you love under your nose and in the air can also be used for cooking. Essential oils are different than common vegetable oils such as olive, flax, sesame or canola oils. While both have benefits, cooking with essential oils can be a healthy alternative when flavoring foods and beverages.
Cooking with Essential Oils
Food grade essential oils can be used when cooking food and preparing beverages. They enhance flavor and provide a boost to health. Use 100 percent pure, therapeutic food-grade oils that are labeled for internal consumption, and consider essential oils that come from edible plants (such as lemon, basil, thyme, oregano, marjoram and wild orange).
Because essential oils are concentrated, they are from 50 to 70 times more therapeutically potent than the herbs or plants they are derived from. Unlike dried herbs, which lose up to 90 percent of their healing nutrients and oxygen molecules, essential oils retain nutrients from their original herbs and plants. Plus, essential oils have a much longer shelflife than dried herbs or spices.
While oils may be more costly in the initial stages, over the long haul they will prove to be more cost-effective. Best of all, 100 percent pure, therapeutic food-grade essential oils are both readily available and safe for cooking and home use. The easiest way to begin cooking with aromatherapy oils is to substitute the essential oils in recipes that call for dried herbs, spices or fruit juices. Simply replace those ingredients with the companion essential oil.
Start with a Single Drop
Begin by using a single drop so as to not waste your essential oil. If one drop isn’t enough, add another drop. Because all essential oils tend to have different viscosity levels, do not drop the oil directly into your mixture; instead, drop the required amount on a spoon and then into your mixture to ensure you have the proper amount. A little goes a long way. Add one drop, stir and taste. Repeat until you’ve reached your desired result.
When a recipe calls for less than a teaspoon of an herb or spice, dip a toothpick in the center of the dripper cap and then swirl the toothpick in the recipe or beverage. Always use the “toothpick method” for cinnamon bark oil, clove oil, ginger oil and oregano oil, because these oils are much stronger that their companion spices. When using an essential oil in place of the zest of one lemon, orange or tangerine use 8 to 14 drops of its companion essential oil as a substitution.
One tablespoon dried spice/spicy herb is equivalent to between a half and one drop of essential oil. For extra heat or spice, consider marjoram, oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme or coriander. Another tip is to add the essential oil right before serving. Essential oils are heat-sensitive, so minimize exposure to heat.
Ashley Stone is a nutrition and health coach who promotes the use of essential oil products to restore health, recover from deficiencies and address disease. She is a master herbalist of 20 years and healed herself of stage 3 cervical cancer 15 years ago. For more information, visit www.stoneoils.com or call 210-843-5179.
HERE ARE A FEW SUGGESTIONS FOR COOKING WITH ESSENTIAL OILS:
Salad dressings or salad oils: Lemon, lavender, rosemary, clove or peppermint.
Meat and sauces: Basil, marjoram, oregano or thyme.
Desserts: Lemon, clove, orange, tangerine or peppermint.
Herbal teas: Lavender, Roman chamomile, orange, tangerine, lemon, peppermint and melissa.
Refreshing drinks: Lemon, orange, tangerine or peppermint added to cold sparking or still water.
Flavored honey: Cinnamon, clove, lavender, basil, chamomile or lemon. Warm the honey until it becomes a thin liquid, then add the oil.
Everything Italian: Consider adding oregano, marjoram, thyme or basil to tomato sauces for pizza or pasta dishes.
Everything Asian: Try a drop of lemongrass, cilantro, coriander or ginger to enhance your Thai curry, soup or stir fry.
Everything Chocolate: Use peppermint oil, cassia or orange oil.