Enjoy the Healthy Benefits of Healing Aromatics
I just finished watching the Essential Oils Revolution 2 and it was wonderful! As a self-taught geek with some pharmacology background, it was exciting to hear all different viewpoints and learn from various experts.
Two presentations I found very intriguing were on the topics of DIY recipes and cooking with essential oils. Since DIY recipes are vast, I wanted to share a little bit more on cooking. Dietary essential oils have been used as natural and safe flavorings and preservatives in the food industry for years.
Below are some easy tips to get you started with adding essential oils into your favorite dishes!
Cooking in 1, 2, 3…
1. First of all, the most important thing is to make sure you have essential oils that are safe for ingestion. The FDA provides some guidance by listing certain essential oils as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) here. Some essential oils companies label which essential oils can be ingested, making this step easy! Technically, essential oils which can be taken orally are considered to be dietary supplements. (If you are still unsure about how to safely ingest oils or heard some headline scares, check out this blog I did on standardization and quality.)
Dr. Z explains more on the safety of using essential oils in recipes in his ” Cooking with Essential Oils Blog”:
Essential oils – both real and synthetic – have been used as flavoring agents for years. It’s just too easy to add a drop or two of an intensely flavored oil in place of time consuming ingredients with much more volume. (1) In addition to flavor, essential oils are regularly tested by researchers for their potential to improve food safety. Antimicrobial oils, the theory goes, may be able to minimize food borne illness if manufacturers added it to packaging.
So the idea that we can cook with essential oils or incorporate them into our kitchen process is nothing new. The important thing is to do so safely, appreciating the differences between a whole herb or spice and its essential oil. You’ll also want to note that not every essential oil is a good choice for cooking. Sometimes the oil doesn’t taste quite as yummy as the whole herb. Sometimes the oil has too much of a certain component, making it less than ideal or even unsafe in high quantities.
2. The second thing to remember is that a little goes a very long way. Some estimate that 1 drop per teaspoon is a conversion measure. I think anything more than 2 drops is probably too much. (Finding a source for this is hard to come by.) For optimal flavoring (and safety with “hotter oils” like oregano, basil, thyme, and marjoram), you would want to add them to a recipe with some form of fat in it.
3. Finally, it’s best to add the essential oils last, when the dish is almost finished. This will prevent the concern of altering the constituents at high heat. Of course, cold recipes aren’t a problem. Furthermore, there is some evidence that certain essential oils can increase bioavailability of healthy constituents with cooking, such as thymol in thyme. However, carvacrol is supported when adding both the oil and the ground leaves.
Click here for my latest blog on the power of peppermint for a focused back to school brain.
Please make sure your essential oils are high quality and labeled for ingestion before enjoying. Check out my database for more information.