Essential oils have been used throughout history in many cultures, for medicine, in food and for beauty purposes. EO’s are wonderful in the kitchen and with a bit of practise, some guidelines, and a creative mind, the culinary possibilities are endless.
The easiest way to begin cooking with the oils, is to substitute the essential oils in recipes that call for dried herbs, spices or fruit juices. Simply replace these ingredients with the companion essential oil. There is no dish whose flavour cannot be enhanced with EO and no limit to the new possibilities for culinary delight that they offer.
The most important thing to remember is that these oils are undiluted and therefore extremely potent – far more potent than any other ingredient or essential oils you’ve ever used in the kitchen before. They are typically 50-70 times stronger than the herb or plant they are derived of. To give more of an idea, one” drop of peppermint oil equals about 28 cups of peppermint tea. Therefore, 1/2 a drop or one drop of oil may be enough to adequately flavour a big pot or bowl of a favourite recipe
Why not just use herbs?
As much as I love my herbs, I really love essential oils. Unlike dried herbs, which typically lose up to 90% of their healing nutrients and oxygen molecules when dried, these oils are available and safe for cooking and home use. They are convenient and readily available and they seem to add a whole new dimension to recipes, rounding out and intensifying the flavour of many dishes.
Some 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, chamomile, orange, tangerine, lemon, peppermint and melissa.
Refreshing drinks: Lemon, orange, tangerine, or peppermint added to cold sparking or still water.
Flavoured honey: Cinnamon, clove, lavender, basil, chamomile or lemon. (Warm honey until it becomes a thin liquid; then add the oil.). Honey & lemon is great for winter colds.
Everything Italian: 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 for a choc mint or orange oil for Jaffa.