Essential Oils For Your Kitchen and Why We Use Them (Part Two)
Updated: Nov 1, 2019
In Part 1 of this post I gave you a little insight into how I came to use essential oils in my kitchen and why I love so much that I did. In Part 2 I will discuss with you all the different options the essential oil world has to offer and how you can utilize them into your cooking and kitchen routine. Some of them of are tried and true ideas, that I myself have cooked myself and loved.
Another great benefit of using essential oils in your kitchen is they help remind you that they are around for your personal welfare as well! If your using lemon or rosemary in your recipes, give them a whiff or put a little on your wrists while you cook. Not only will it smell good but you will get the extra advantage of the oils while you cooking in your kitchen. So enough yapping, lets get into the good stuff!
I am going to divide all the oils that I talk about into their respective categories so they are easy to go back and find!* (Thank you....your welcome!)
Basil, Cilantro, Coriander, Marjoram, Oregano and Rosemary
The herb group of essential oils are definitely ones that I use very often. As I have talked about in the first part of this post, herb essential oils are something I substitute quite a bit because herbs go bad very quickly in the fridge. It is hard keeping fresh herbs alive in the fridge long enough for you to use them. So unless you bought a pack of basil and are making a big batch pesto, chances are that some of what you buy is going to wilt and get thrown away.
If I am making spaghetti sauce for dinner, instead of adding in the dried herbs, I will put a drop of oregano and basil oil directly into my sauce and let it lightly simmer right in there with all the other ingredients. * You can do this with any sauce! Just replace out the dried herbs for the oils of choice. If your a little timid about putting too much just stick a toothpick in the bottle and swirl it into the sauce and keep doing this process until you get comfortable with how much you want to use.
Herb essential oils can be especially nice for when you are throwing together a quick cocktail. Herbs and fruit are becoming a popular combination and essential oils can be a easy way to get these two flavors to pair together nicely. Use them almost as you would bitters and throw in a drop or two right in with the shaker and shake it up! Check out our Watermelon Basil Margarita or Balsamic Cherry Compote Mojito for some great ideas!
Coriander, which are the seeds of the cilantro plant, are used a lot of in Indian cooking and added to curries and chutneys. Try replacing coriander essential oil when making Indian food, put in a toothpick of the oil or a drop depending on what dish you are making.
* Important tip to remember is that essential oils are sensitive to heat and will lose some of their valuable properties if used in higher heat cooking. Try as much as possible to add the essential oils towards the end of the cooking process to ensure you retain all the benefits.
Love to make bread?
Add rosemary, oregano and basil for an Italian inspired bread or rosemary and olives for a Mediterranean inspired! Endless possibilities!
Cinnamon, Cassia, Black Pepper, Fennel, Lavender, Ginger, Clove, Cardamom and Lemongrass, Turmeric
I have to immediately start out with lemongrass because I am such a huge advocate for replacing lemongrass with the essential oil. Lemongrass actually is from the grass family and has a very hard chewy texture. Its not something you want to go gnawing on for a snack. It is commonly used in cooking because of its subtle citrus flavor. That aside, it is not the easiest ingredient to use, especially fresh. I like to make a lot of Thai curries and to really get that lemongrass flavor you usually need to simmer the lemongrass in the sauce or cut it very fine. Instead of going thru all that extra hassle, I just add a drop of lemongrass essential oil to my curry. The lemongrass flavor is instantly in my dish!
Cinnamon and cassia essential oil are very similar but are derived from different species. Cinnamon is distilled from the bark of the cinnamon tree while Cassia is distilled from the stems and bark of the cassia shrub. I usually combine them together though because that seems to make a more substantial cinnamon flavor that we are all used to. Add these oils to your banana bread, oatmeal, or fruit crumbles. Try out our Bourbon Cherry Campfire Crisp to see how we used these oils in our recipe!
Clove, Cardamom and Ginger are all ones that can be replaced too for all those warming holiday recipes. Easily add them to your gingerbread, cookies or cakes. One recipe I am excited to try out with these oils is making warm apple cider. A lot of times we have to add the spices directly to the cider and let it mull and simmer, and then fish them out later. Add the oils for quick and easy flavor. If you see a apple cider recipe on the blog in the winter than you know that idea worked out! Update: I ended up making it!
Essential Oil Hot Mulled Apple Cider Try it out!
Turmeric! This is actually one of the newest oils from doTERRA and I was so excited when I found out. Turmeric is actually a big trend in the health world at the moment; golden milk, golden tea, turmeric shots.....I mean, why not, its full of medicinal properties. Turmeric can be found in powdered form and in the root form. Like I said before, if your going to have to dried make sure it is always fresh. I find it hard to combine the dried spice in teas or milk just because of the fact that it is powdered and the root is extremely staining to the skin. That's why I was so excited with this new release. Add a drop to your tea, smoothies, curries, face masks, or lotion. Turmeric just got so much easier!
Black pepper is the final essential I will discuss in this subject but certainly not the last! I have to say I was skeptical about ever needing to use this essential oil at all because black pepper is so easily available and it most kitchens already and it's not hard to get pepper flavor from just regular pepper. Boy was I wrong! I started experimenting with this oil a little more lately and I am astounded at how recipes taste with this oil added. Josh added this oil to his dry rub for the Chipotle Peach Moonishine Ribs and I couldn't believe the distinctive difference in taste. Try it out for yourself!
Peppermint, Spearmint, and Wintergreen
Peppermint is probably the essential oil that I have had the most experience using so far as it is my favorite flavor of the 3 mints. You can add any of these mint oils into your daily tea, smoothies or homemade ice cream. Try out my Chocolate Chip Mint Ice Cream Smoothie for one idea! Also, if you love hot cocoa, put a drop of your favorite mint into your next steaming mug of winter cocoa whilst sitting by the fire and sip on that delicious minty chocolate goodness. I really want it to be winter now. (And yes, I had to use the word whilst, it was most appropriate!)
Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Tangerine, Wild Orange and Red Mandarin
The uses of citrus oils are so so so versatile! Keep in mind, with all of the citrus oils, the oil is extracted from the rind of the fruit. We don't end up eating the rind of citrus a lot because they can be bitter but the rinds have a lot of nutritional properties. I will use the citrus oils alone in a lot of my recipes because the bitter flavor ends up not being as noticeable especially if your combining it with other flavor profiles, like sweet. But....using the oils in tandem with the juice of the same citrus, or even different fruit, can add an extra flavor punch. Kapow!
Pie Fillings are an awesome example of getting out that extra flavor. Add lemon essential oil to apple pie instead of the zest, or add wild orange or lemon to a blackberry pie. The oils can easily be added to the crust too! We recently released a recipe for malasadas where we added wild orange essential oil to the sugar that we shook the doughnuts in. Amazing! Make sure to try out our Wild Orange Malasadas with Lilikoi Lime Dipping Sauce.
Citrus oils come in handy too when you are wanting to achieve more citrus flavor without adding more juice, so as to not ruin consistency. One drop provides desired flavor without too much added liquid! Great idea for custards, puddings, cocktails or smoothies!
Mixing herb and citrus together is a match made in heaven. Combine herb and citrus oils in a meat marinade or a vinaigrette. The nice advantage to using essential oils in a meat marinade is that essential oils permeate thru the muscle and skin of the meat and get the flavor in quickly, much like essential oils do for our body. In the bloodstream in 30 seconds!
Whew! We made it through! And believe me, I didn't even cover a teaspoon of the available opportunities with these oils. Best idea is to go out and discover the possibilities for yourself! I know I am and I will keep sharing more and more great ideas with you.
You know, as soon as they pop into my head.....
So keep cooking, experimenting and tasting!
*You are not required to use the doTERRA brand but if you use essential oils make sure they are food grade and safe for internal use.