WHY Cook with Essential Oils?
1- Adding flavor: The potent nature of essential oils makes them perfect for adding flavor to your favorite foods and beverages. Unlike other ingredients, only a tiny amount of essential oil is needed to add powerful flavor to any dish. With citrus, herb, mint, floral, and spice oils, there are endless options for adding a unique twist of flavor to your food.
2- Internal benefits: Internal usage is one of the most popular ways to enjoy essential oils. By adding oils to your food and drinks, you are not only providing more flavor, but you can simultaneously enjoy the internal benefits of a particular oil.* Depending on which oil you use, you can reap internal benefits like support of the body’s systems, antioxidant support, digestive support, internal cleansing, and more.* Using essential oils when cooking provides a unique way to experience the benefits of essential oils.
3- Safe, natural ingredients: Essential oils can easily be used as a substitute for dry herbs, citrus zest, and seasonings during the cooking process. The great thing about using an essential oil as a flavoring agent is that you can rest easy knowing you are putting safe, natural ingredients into your food. Because essential oils come from natural sources, they provide a safe way to add potent and unique flavors to any dish. It is important to note that not all essential oils are created equal. dōTERRA essential oils are carefully harvested, and go through a rigorous testing process to make sure the oil does not contain any contaminants or harmful substances. Not all essential oil companies use the same high standards for producing essential oils, so their oils might not be as pure. When cooking with essential oils, I suggest using therapeutic-grade oils like those from dōTERRA that have been thoroughly tested for safety.
4- Convenience: Have you ever been halfway through making dinner and realized that you are out of lemons? Or maybe you are pressed for time and can’t make it to the store to pick up some more cumin? Or perhaps you prefer to use fresh ingredients, but the item you want isn’t in season? This is where essential oils come in handy. Whether you are running low on ingredients, worry about fresh ingredients going bad in the fridge, or can’t get your hands on seasonal ingredients, essential oils can provide a solution without sacrificing any of the flavor. As mentioned, it does not take very much essential oil to add potent flavors to your dish, which makes essential oils very cost-effective in the long run. Essential oils will typically last longer than dry ingredients (because you use less), and they last much longer than fresh ingredients.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
• Cooking with Heat: Because of their chemical makeup, essential oils will evaporate when exposed to heat. Many worry that adding essential oils to a recipe that will be exposed to heat will lessen the flavor or the efficacy of the oil. The less heat an essential oil is exposed to, the more flavor it will retain, so it is best to add the oil at the end of cooking, if possible.
With many recipes, it isn’t possible to add the essential oil at the end. If you need to add the essential oil before you steam, simmer, boil, or bake the food, just add a larger amount. While some of the oil’s flavor will be steamed or baked out, adding a larger amount will ensure that a portion of the flavor remains. If you are adding the oil at the end of the cooking process, a much smaller amount is needed.
• Cookware: Because essential oils are so potent and powerful, it is best to avoid using plastic cookware when cooking with oils. When you add essential oils to your dish, it is best to use glass, ceramic, or stainless steel to protect your cookware from damage.
Perhaps the trickiest part of cooking with essential oils is knowing how much oil to add to your recipe. While there are many opinions out there about measurements, the amount of oil you use will depend on what kind of food you are making, which oil you are using, how many servings you plan to make, and other things like your own taste preferences. Because there are so many variables, cooking with essential oils takes a lot of experimentation and trial and error. The amount of oil you add to your food will vary from recipe to recipe, especially when you consider your own flavor preferences. To help you get a general idea of how to determine the amount of oil you should add to your recipe, I’d like to go over a few guidelines that will help you as you get used to cooking with essential oils.
The toothpick method: Like we talked about earlier, because essential oils are so potent, it only takes a tiny amount of an oil to add serious flavor to your food or beverage. In some cases, adding even a single drop of an oil would be too overpowering and could ruin the dish. Because of the potency and power of essential oils, sometimes it is best to add flavor to your recipe by way of the toothpick method. This method consists of dipping the tip of a clean toothpick into the oil bottle, and adding flavor by swirling the toothpick around in the other ingredients. The toothpick method allows you to add the smallest amount of oil possible, helping you avoid adding too much oil and potentially ruining the dish. Once you’ve used the toothpick to mix the oil in with the other ingredients, you can do a taste test to see if you should add more. This makes it so you can slowly add flavor without overpowering the recipe with too much oil.
Consider demonstrating the toothpick method for the audience so they can see exactly how it is done.
Potent oils: It is important to note that although some oils are approved for internal consumption, they are still extremely potent and should be used with caution. Always use the toothpick method when cooking with Cassia, Cinnamon, Clove, Cumin, Oregano, or Thyme. If you are ever adding these oils to beverages, be sure you have at least four ounces of liquid so that the oil is properly diluted.
How do I know how much of an essential oil to add? Although there are a lot of variables that go into determining how much of an oil to add to your recipe, as you practice cooking with essential oils and experiment a little bit, you’ll soon be able to tell how much of a particular oil to add based on what you are making and your personal taste buds. I suggest starting with the toothpick method, and taste-testing until you get the amount of flavor that you want. Then, once you have a little more practice cooking with essential oils, you’ll have a better idea of how much of an oil to add, and you won’t have to use the toothpick method every time, or do as much taste-testing throughout the cooking process.
For many recipes, adding an entire drop of oil, or even several drops of oil, is completely fine. Just remember—once you’ve added an essential oil to your food or drink, you cannot take it back. Always be careful when adding essential oils to your food, and use the toothpick method until you feel more comfortable cooking with oils.
When you are first getting started with cooking using essential oils, it can be overwhelming to determine which oils to add to your recipes because there are so many different types of oils and an endless amount of flavor combinations. Let’s go over a few different categories of essential oils and how to use them in your cooking.
Citrus: Common citrus oils include Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Tangerine, and Wild Orange. Citrus oils tend to provide a bright, sweet, tangy, or refreshing flavor to food and drinks. These oils make a lovely addition to beverages—whether you want an extra boost of flavor in your water, or want to change up your smoothie, tea, or other favorite drinks. Because of their fresh, tangy flavor, citrus oils are also perfect for yogurt, dip, or salsa. Citrus oils can also be used to replace zest within recipes (lime zest, lemon zest, or orange zest).
Spices: To add some spice to your meal, you can use essential oils like Black Pepper, Cassia, Cinnamon, Coriander, Ginger, and Fennel. These oils tend to provide an herbal, fresh, warm, or sharp flavor to whatever you are cooking. These oils work for both sweet and savory dishes, and are especially popular for flavoring meat or vegetables.
Herbs: Herbal oils like Basil, Cilantro, Marjoram, Oregano, Rosemary, or Thyme are extremely popular for cooking because not only can they be used in your favorite Italian dishes, meats, breads, pastas, and soups, but they can easily be substituted for recipes that call for dry or fresh herbs.
Florals:Floral oils are used less frequently in cooking, however, they provide a sweet, light flavor to desserts, tea, or baked goods, and can help soften citrus flavors in certain recipes. Lavender and Geranium are the most popular floral essential oils to use for cooking, especially for tea and baked goods like cakes, cookies, and scones.
Mint: The cool, minty, refreshing flavor of mint essential oils makes them useful for a number of foods and beverages. Mint flavors go well with certain kinds of meat, like lamb, and can brighten up salads, tea, or other beverages. Mint is also popular for desserts, and you can easily use essential oils to make a delicious batch of mint brownies, special mint cookies, or any creative mint-flavored recipe you can think of. The most common mint oils used for cooking are Peppermint and Spearmint.
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