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Get full organic flavour in your food with essential oils

Yes, it is true. I have said it many times before that even pure and organic essential oils should not be ingested - unless occasionally at a careful dosage and application, directed by a qualified practitioner.

In professional aromatherapy we recommend against using essential oils internally for a number of reasons.

  • Firstly, as a blanket safety rule because some essential oils simply should not be ingested - for example some react with mucous membranes - and their concentrated nature can make ingestion unsafe

  • Secondly, because the therapeutic benefit of other applications is more direct and greater

  • Thirdly, because even 'edible' plants produce an essential oil that is very concentrate and we always caution against undiluted skin contact - either internally or externally

So what is using pure essential oils for cooking all about?

Having said that. There are a number of essential oils that we can quickly recognise as coming from plants and herbs that we commonly eat or use in cooking. Some of the most obvious ones are:

Lemon, Lime, Orange, Nutmeg, Black PepperPeppermint, Spearmint, Ginger, Sage, Lemongrass, Grapefruit, Fennel, Cinnamon, Oregano, Rosemary, Clove, Basil and Tarragon.

I would almost never recommend putting any of these essential oils directly into the mouth.

However, when mixed into a number of other ingredients for a recipe, at a suitably low quantity, the oil is basically diluted and its intensity is reduced and simply dispersed, providing a rich flavour which the body can easily assimilate.

Menkit Prince , author of the Essential Oil Cookbook, helps us to get to grips with the measures of safe cooking with essential oils.

She explains that a person would have to ingest 100ml of pure nutmeg essential oil to reach fatal toxicity level... because even commonly used nutmeg does contain some trace toxic elements. She also tells us that a small amount of distilled essential oil is less likely to have as much toxic content as the straight ground nutmeg that we commonly use in cooking - because the toxic compound is not volatile (will not transform to vapour).

Essential oil cookbook

Also, as Menkit also points out, using standard toothpaste for most of your life will likely have already given you an appreciation of how small quantities of essential oils like peppermint and spearmint can safely bring the benefits of cleansing and intense flavor to the palate.

The benefits of using pure essential oils for cooking

While this is certainly not the same thing as clinical aromatherapy, the health benefits of essential oils do translate to some degree when you use them in your diet.

My former mentor and long-time colleague, French physician Dr. Daniel Phenoel MD (author of Natural Home Health Care Using Essential Oils) is a strong advocate of Menkit's Essential Oil Cookbook and believes that pure essential oils in our diet can contribute to such things as blood purification, strong immunity and the production of mood-lifting endorphins.

We generally agree that herbs and spices bring health-giving qualities to our food, right? Well, a pure grade, organic essential oil brings the purer essence of all those body-compatible plant molecules that are perfectly designed to protect against invasive microbes, to stimulate regeneration, to regulate hormones, to carry oxygen and nutrients etc.

Not to mention of course, the intense aromatic properties that translate to exquisite flavour on our palate.

How to start cooking with essential oils

Probably the best place to start is with some simple delicious choices. For me that includes Lemon, Orange and Peppermint essential oils. And yes, you guessed it, our just deserts!

If you are interested in fantastic flavour alone, you certainly don't have to go raw vegan to get great results. But perhaps once you start to have a sense that essential oils can create recipes with greater health benefits, you might want to really explore the many more healthful recipes using essential oils that are out there.

Today, I am simply aiming to hook you in with a couple of no-shame, delicious recipes that are favourites with the crew here at Absolute Essential. I like them especially because they show how easy it is to work essential oils into existing recipes... (and because I have a sweet tooth).

Easy Lemon Cheesecake with lemon super-zing

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet vanilla wine biscuits

  • 50g melted butter

  • 1 tin (395g) sweetened condensed milk

  • 125g cream cheese

  • 5-10 drops of Absolute Essential Lemon essential oil

Method:

  • Crush the wine biscuits (in a clean plastic bag, bash them with the rolling pin)

  • Mix biscuit crumbs and melted butter together

  • Press the mixture into the base of a 22cm pie dish and leave to chill in the fridge

  • Blend the cream cheese and condensed milk together.

  • Add in, drop by drop, the Lemon essential oil to your preferred taste (the flavor is strong so less is best for most people).

  • Put this mixture over the base and put it back in the fridge to set.

Tip: if you line your pie dish with foil, you can lift your cheesecake out and put it on a flat plate for serving.

Homemade gourmet chocolate (orange, peppermint or lavender)

If you want to just have some lovely choco-fun you can buy yourself a nice big bar of good quality dark or milk chocolate and...

  • melt it down (in a 'double boiler' set up)

  • take off the heat

  • stir in the essential oil of your choice, drop by drop (start with 3-5 drops and taste before adding more because tasting is absolutely part of the fun and also these are very concentrated flavours that you can easily over-do)

  • pour into moulds or onto a tray with greaseproof paper and leave to set in the freezer

  • pop the chocolate out of the mould or break the set chocolate into pieces

  • store in an airtight container in the fridge

If you are feeling more adventurous try this adaptation of a healthy homemade chocolate recipe that I found online:

Cooking-with-essential-oils

Ingredients:

Method:

  • Melt the coconut oil over low heat

  • Add the vanilla and honey. Stir to blend

  • Add the cocoa and stir until it dissolves

  • Turn off heat

  • Add 3-5 drops of your chosen essential oil. Stir in and test for taste, maybe add a drop or two more to taste

  • Pour into molds or onto a tray with greaseproof paper

  • Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and put in freezer for 2 hours

  • Pop the chocolates out of the mold, or break the chocolate into bite-sized pieces

  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge

If you find this starts a whole new thing in your kitchen, please let us know any recipes that you come up with for yourself. We will be back with some savory recipes in the near future, so stay tuned.

Cooking with quality essential oils

Remember, one thing that is absolutely the same with using essential oils for direct health applications and in cooking is the quality that you want for your essential oils. For the best flavour and health benefits - and in fact to avoid inferior quality oils that might put impurities and harmful chemicals into your system - you want to make sure that you have certified organic100% pure essential oils wherever possible.

 

Medicinal-grade essential oils must be 100% pure. At Absolute Essential we use certified organic or wild grown (sustainable) plants to produce our oils and all extraction processes are strictly controlled to produce the best quality oil with a maximum purity and therapeutic value. See more at Absolute Essential

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