So Essentials Oils in cooking seem to be on trend at the moment. Why? Is it that alternative health isn’t alternative anymore? Is it because suddenly we have some amazing, pure brands on the market that are safe to be consumed?* Or is it just because they taste So. Darn. Good.
The area of the brain that recognises smell is very closely linked with both memory and emotions. We anchor our memories and our feelings to aromas. Essential oils are …well I think you can see where I’m going… so is this the attraction? Like the comfort we associate with mother’s cooking? Perhaps.
They are known to have health benefits and that’s what food is about right? Nourishing, healing, supporting the body to …well, function. Which many bodies don’t seem to do so well any more. This is one reason I started exploring Essential Oils, but I have to admit, not the main reason I use in my cooking.
Here’s my number one reason:
They. Taste. Amazing.
Here are my top 7 for the kitchen:
OK, a no-brainer perhaps. Who can’t make some awesome fudge or choc-mint slice with some pure peppermint oil? Benefit is that it’s great for digestion and can help with mental acuity as well as tension – so be sure to take a deep breath or rub a bit over the back of your neck while you are cooking up a storm!
1 cup cashews
1 cup shredded coconut
1 Tbsp honey
6-8 drops pure Peppermint oil
Any citrus in water is great for a refreshing taste as well as helping your body to detox. Lemon is fab but my personal favourite is Grapefruit – a sweeter, more subtle oil. You are going to love it even more when I tell you it’s the one to have after a big night out!
3. Wild Orange.
Who doesn’t want Jaffa slice? Choc orange is an age-old classic with the added bonus that orange is a really calming but uplifting oil. Proven to have antidepressant and antimicrobial properties feel free wipe down the benchtops in the kitchen with it when you’re finished!
You can choose to go sweet or savoury with ginger. Add to salad dressings or bliss balls. Ginger oil is an absolute fav and if you could smell through the internet you’d all be drooling right now. Some people use it to assist high cholesterol, added bonus for all that deliciousness! Generally it is considered your go-to for morning sickness or motion sickness.
Did you know cardamom is a close cousin of ginger? It has many of the same stomach settling properties. The oil is extracted from the seeds and Oh my! It is the most divine scent. I can’t even describe, just get some, ok?
There are loads of essential oils you can get from herbs. Rosemary is great for memory, Basil for ear ache would you believe. Oregano as a wholefood is the most anti-oxidant rich of any herb. As an essential oil it is even more powerful, packing a mighty punch against bad gut flora. This is one to be careful with – it’s pretty hot so use very sparingly to add to salads or sauces. If adding to your bolognaise be sure to let the sauce cool slightly before adding EOs, otherwise they will lose their therapeutic qualities.
7. Smart n Sassy.*
So ok, this isn’t an oil, it’s a blend. But one I think you want to know about. Why? A few reasons – firstly, tastes amazing! A mix of citruses and cinnamon….Mmmm! Secondly, if you take a few drops in your drinking water between meals it can actually help supress cravings and I know that’s something we all struggle with, hey we’re human.
So why are essential oils on the rise? A pure essential oil is an amazing experience. The depth and purity of the smell, the flavour they can add to food as well as having health-supporting properties. Isn’t that why we eat? To nourish our bodies and support them to be healthy so they can grow, heal, repair as they should. I’m starting to wonder why the logical combination of oils and cooking has taken us so long…
For some great essential oil recipes jump over here.
*All oils mentioned are considered GRAS (Generally Recognised as Safe) but like any new ingredient, please learn about appropriate use of essential oils and always be aware of contraindications. I have stated what I do personally in my kitchen. I use and recommend doTerra as they are 100% pure and their coimpact sourcing – indigenously and sustainably – is important to me.
About the Author:
Catherine Christoforatos – Generation Wellness Australia Catherine is passionate about creating a global revolution of awareness around natural health and healing, particularly utilising diet and Essential Oils. She coordinates events focussing on empowering people (particularly new mums) with information around healthcare. She runs a Brisbane-based practice of AromaTouch treatments, teaches Essential Oil workshops as well as being certified as an Infant Massage instructor. She is a Give-Back Ambassador with Joining Hands – giving natural health services back to the homeless and underprivileged.