Healthy, Tasty Cooking: with Essential Oils
Using certified, therapeutic, food-grade essential oils that are 100 percent pure can be a healthy alternative for flavoring foods and beverages when cooking. Different than common vegetable oils such as olive, flax, sesame or canola, essential oils can be enjoyed for their taste, as well as the healthful benefits of the plants from which they are derived. Today, hundreds of food products, including chocolates and chewing gum, contain essential oils for aroma and flavor.
Cooking with essential oils is easy—just substitute them in recipes that call for dried herbs, spices or fruit juices. When replacing dried ingredients with a companion essential oil, remember that the oils are 50 to 70 times more potent. For example, one drop of peppermint oil equals approximately 28 cups of peppermint tea.
When a recipe calls for less than a teaspoon of an herb or spice, dip a toothpick in the center of the essential oil dripper cap and then swirl the toothpick in the recipe or beverage. Always use this “toothpick method” for oils such as cinnamon bark, clove, ginger and oregano.
In recipes or drinks that call for citrus zest or juice, use eight to 14 drops of a companion oil in place of the zest of one lemon, orange or tangerine. Substitute one-half to one drop per tablespoon of herbs like marjoram, oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme or coriander.
Be aware that the majority of essential oils sold in the U.S. are either synthetic or grown with pesticides or herbicides. Therefore, it is important to research various brands to learn about the origins of the plants harvested, as well as the growing and distilling methods. Look for food-grade oils, which are safe for cooking or consumption. Also, before adding essential oils to any food, refer to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s generally regarded as safe (GRAS) online list at Tinyurl.com/fda-oils.