Today, we have Madeline Eyer sharing some of her culinary tips using essential oils. Madeline is the author of Essential Green Smoothies and Essential Sauces, Dips & Dressings. Both books include recipes that use essential oils in everyday cooking. You can purchase these books on AromaTools.com.
Have you considered using your high-quality essential oils in your culinary creations but aren’t really sure where to begin? With just a few basic tips and guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a pro.
Not all essential oil brands deliver the same level of purity. Be sure to choose therapeutic-grade oils from a trusted source that have been organically grown and properly distilled. And when adding them to your recipes, make sure they contain a supplement label indicating that they are safe and appropriate to ingest.
Less Is More
Essential oils are extremely concentrated, so a little goes a long way. When deciding how much to use in a recipe, think in terms of drops or toothpick measurements. A drop or two is plenty to flavor most dishes. Some of the thinner oils tend to come out of the bottle quickly, so dripping it onto a spoon and stirring it into your recipe at the end will help you avoid using too much and overpowering your dish. Start with a drop, and add more as needed. You can also pour some oil into a small sample size bottle, which dispenses it in half-drop increments.
The toothpick method is achieved by dipping a toothpick into your desired bottle of essential oil and then swishing it around in your recipe. This method is especially helpful when making food in small batches or when using some of the stronger-flavored oils such as basil, cassia, cinnamon, dill, marjoram, oregano, or thyme.
Timing Is Important
In addition to flavoring your food, essential oils offer a variety of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits. In order to reap these benefits, it’s a good idea to add your oil at the end of the cooking process whenever possible. This will ensure that the heat from cooking doesn’t diminish any of these additional benefits.
Guidelines, Tips, and Suggestions
General guidelines to replace herbs and spices:
2 Tbsp. fresh herbs = 1 drop essential oil
2 tsp. dried herbs = 1 drop essential oil
2 Tbsp. spices = 1 drop essential oil
Additional tips and suggestions:
Citrus oils are a great place to start using essential oils in your recipes, because they are very forgiving, unlike some of the stronger oils. It’s hard to go wrong with Wild Orange, for example, with its pleasant, fresh, and uplifting flavor.
Smoothies are one of my favorite ways to use essential oils and, after lots of trial and error, I have come to rely more on the citrus oils like bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, lime, and Wild Orange.
Making guacamole? Try adding 1 drop each of lime, black pepper, and cilantro.
Salad dressing also marries well with essential oils—particularly basil, oregano, and thyme. Remember to go easy on these, as they are on the stronger side.
Making a marinade? Add in some ginger and/or lemongrass oil.
When using turmeric in a recipe, such as the popular Ayurvedic beverage known as golden milk, add in 1 drop of black pepper, which works synergistically with turmeric to boost its effectiveness.
Nothing quite compares to the flavor and freshness of homemade non-dairy milk, made without any of the usual additives found in the store-bought varieties. Almond and brazil nut milk are favorites around our house, and adding cardamom or cinnamon essential oil delivers an exceptionally tasty result. Want to give it a try? Here’s a quick and easy recipe.
Cardamom Brazil Nut Milk
- 1 cup (140 g) brazil nuts (or almonds), soaked overnight to remove the phytic acid and make the nuts more digestible
- 4 cups (1 liter) purified water
- 2 drops cardamom essential oil
- Maple syrup, stevia, monk fruit, or other sweetener of your choice, to taste (optional)
- Place half of the water (2 cups or 1/2 liter) in a high-speed blender with the nuts, and blend well. Note: The nuts blend better when you start off with less water. Next, add in the remainder of the water, and blend again briefly.
- Pour the mixture through a strainer or filter through a nut milk bag, reserving the nut meat for another recipe.
- Put the milk back in the blender, add your cardamom, and blend again, just enough to mix. If you want to add a small amount of sweetener, this is a good time to do that.
Note: I rarely use sweetener and don’t really recommend it unless you plan to drink the milk plain. It’s not really necessary if it’s being added to a smoothie or enjoyed over a bowl of granola or some other recipe that already contains an element of sweetness.
About the Author
Madeline Eyer is a certified integrative nutrition health coach, a holistic health coach, and an essential oil enthusiast. She is the author of two books, Essential Green Smoothies and Essential Sauces, Dips & Dressings, bridging essential oils and healthy eating. Her joy and passion is in empowering families to enjoy the many benefits of eating a clean, nutrient-rich diet that is delicious and fun, with a special fondness for supporting families in feeding their children food that nourishes their growing bodies and minds.