Essential oils are for more than aromatherapy. Add a drop or two of your favorite oil to any savory dish and you can easily replace an herb or spice. This is an appealing option to many chefs and not-so-savvy cooks alike for it’s ease and taste.
Most essential oils are safe for ingestion in small amounts. The oils come from plants, many of which are recognized for their health benefits and flavoring uses. You’ve probably already been eating foods made with essential oils. Lemon, orange, and peppermint essential oils are popular in desserts, but you can make use out of any oil in your household.
Below are some ideas for using essential oils in your cooking and tips to keep in mind.
According to the website LorAnn Oils and Flavors, be sure that your essential oils are food grade. This means they are safe for human consumption. Oils used for Human Consumption SHOULD contain a Supplement or Food Nutrition Fact Panel on the Bottle.
Less is more. Start with only a drop of your essential oil. Add more if the taste isn’t strong enough, but don’t start by going overboard or you could end up with a ruined dish.
Young Living Essential Oils suggests adding up to four drops of orange essential oil to your waffle mix, a drop of cinnamon oil to your oatmeal, or a drop of lemon or other citrus essential oil to your protein shakes or juices.
The Main Course
How do you go about using essential oils in your savory entrees? Sparingly, of course. One drop of your favorite oil can replace a teaspoons worth of an herb or spice. You can also add some “zest” to your dish but skip the fruit. Citrus essential oils, like orange, lemon, and lime, can be added to a chicken or meat dish to add some flavor.
Add a personal touch to your pasta sauce by adding two drops of basil essential oil and one drop of rosemary essential oil to a tomato sauce. Essential oils are an excellent addition to tuna, by mixing lemon or another citrus oil into canned tuna before spreading it in sandwiches.
Baking, Candy, and Desserts
Desserts are known for their strong and inviting flavors. If you’re looking for the perfect way to flavor that peppermint fudge or cookies, try adding ¼ of a teaspoon of peppermint oil to your mix, according to LorAnn Oils and Flavors. Keep in mind that clove and peppermint oils are very potent, so use very little of them.
Always remember to mix just one to two drops of the oil into your water and check that it’s listed on the FDA’s GRAS list, which is continuously updated. After just a few uses of essential oils, you’ll be able to feel a difference in your daily health and develop a routine that works for you.
Creative, Happy Snacking
Have you ever thought of using essential oils in your snack foods? Mix things up by adding some lemon or orange essential oil to your cream cheese spread, per a suggestion from Young Living Essential Oils. You can also add essential oils to other oils that you use for cooking, like olive or grapeseed oil, to add flavor and skip the herbs. A rosemary or thyme essential oil is a great addition.
The most important thing to keep in mind when cooking with essential oils is to experiment and start with less and flavor to your taste. Every guest prefers a different amount of flavor, and adding too many drops of essential oils will result in a remarkably strong flavor that can be off-putting to some.