Most likely, without really being aware of it, you have experienced essential oils in your food for a long time. Chewing gum is one example. Candy makers have been long time users of essential oils, though the quality and health benefits of these oils is arguable. When you use pure, superior quality essential oils in food preparation, however, you not only add delicious flavor, but also increase the healthful benefits of your food.
Essential oils that come from edible plants are safe and perfectly suited to enhancing the flavor and health benefits of the foods you prepare every day. The essential oils that have been listed as GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) by the FDA include:
Basil, Bergamot, Cassia, Cinnamon Bark, Clary Sage, Clove, Coriander, Frankincense, Geranium, Ginger, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lime Melissa, Melaleuca, Marjoram, Myrrh, Oregano, Patchouli, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Thyme, Vertiver, White Fir, Wild Orange, and Yling Ylang.
The simplest way to begin incorporating essential oils into your everyday food preparation is to substitute the companion essential oil for the dried herb, spice, fruit zest or juice used in your recipe. The most important thing to remember when using high grade, essential oils is that they are undiluted and extremely potent. For example, one drop or less may be enough to flavor a big pot or bowl of your favorite recipe. Only 2 drops of an essential oil is equivalent to a 2-ounce bottle of dried herbs! So remembering the potency is important. A very good “rule of thumb” when working with essential oils to flavor food is to start with only one drop of essential oil and check taste. You can always add another drop if needed. Another good practice if a recipe calls for less than a teaspoon of an herb or spice is to use the “Toothpick Method”. Take a toothpick and dip it into the center of the dripper cap wetting it with essential oil, then stir the recipe with the toothpick to release the essential oil. This is the ideal practice for hot or spicy herbs such as basil, cinnamon bark, clove, ginger, marjoram, oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme, and coriander as one tablespoon of these dried herbs is usually equal to about ½ to 1 drop of the essential oil companion. Essential oils for lemon, lime, orange and tangerine can easily replace the zest of one fruit by using 8-14 drops of companion essential oil. Finally, be aware that high heat can evaporate the essential oils used in the recipe, so if it involves high heat cooking, get that done first and then add in your essential oil right before serving. Because basil, oregano and rosemary are very strong, they work very well with a low temperature simmering for a time to release their fragrant bouquet.
In our wellness journey, we are always seeking opportunities to increase antioxidants, detoxify and cleanse the body, improve digestion, beat fatigue and brain fog, relax and reduce stress, relieve pain and reduce inflammation and irritation. How exciting to know that we can support our wellness journey while also making our food please our sense of taste and smell through the use of high grade essential oils in our culinary endeavors!