When embarking into cooking with essential oils,
I was absolutely intimidated by the notion. I had been loving using my essential oils to promote my health for years before I first dared to release a drop of that liquid gold into a dish. Once I did, there was no turning back. Now, this is not everyone’s experience when they first begin cooking with essential oils. In fact, some people have had downright bad experiences, such as putting a few too many drops of oregano essential oils into their pasta sauce, BLEH!!
Let me answer a few common questions I get about cooking with essential oils and give you some handy tips and delicious recipes to make cooking a truly therapeutic experience.
Can you take oils internally?
YES! You can take oils internally. BUT—and I mean a very big BUT—it all depends on the quality of essential oils you use. I am a personal fan of Young Living essential oils because I know first-hand that this company eats, breathes and lives quality without compromise. So once you find a brand of essential oils you trust, the question still stands, “Can you take essential oils internally.” The answer is still, yes. While you can use essential oils topically, or through inhalation, taking them internally is another great way to get the health benefits of essential oils into your body. Some of the benefits include oxygenating your cells and supporting your immune systems.
Which essential oils can you take internally?
If you would like a list of oils that are great for internal usage, a good rule of thumb is to use any of the oils in Young Living’s Vitality line. These oils have been FDA approved for internal usage and all have a white label for easy recognition for new users. The full size bottles without the white labels of all of the oils listed in the Vitality line are also safe for internal usage.
Does heating essential oils change the health supporting properties?
Yes. When you heat an essential oil it can change the chemical structure of the oil reducing its health-promoting properties. Just like when we heat our food over 118F we are killing some of the life-giving enzymes in the food, however, this doesn’t keep us from cooking our food, because cooking certain foods is what makes them delicious! It is a similar thing with oils, even though you lose some of the properties, you still maintain some, plus they make your food yummy! A note on enzymes, because we kill enzymes when cooking our food, it’s a great idea to take an enzyme supplement to help support our digestive systems!
TIP: To maintain the most properties of the essential oil when cooking, wait until you are done cooking the item to begin flavoring it with your essential oil of choice (this does not work when baking). Waiting until the end of the cooking process avoids direct heat from burner and also adds a more potent flavor.
Why cook with essential oils rather than herbs?
FLAVOR! When using essential oils in a recipe, rather than herbs, you are getting 100% of the flavor from the plant. Essential oils are the aromatic substance in the plant, so you will be getting beautiful notes of flavor that are just not possible to get from dried herbs. Throughout time, people have been adding herbs to dishes to enrich flavor and gain nutrients and therapeutic properties that are in the plant. Of course, many times there is no replacing the wonderful addition of fresh herbs to dishes, however many of the dried herbs we get today are full of pesticides, are heated during processing and have been sitting on the shelf for so long that they loose their therapeutic value. This is something you do not have to be concerned about when using quality oils in your cooking. Pure, culinary grade essential oils do not go bad so you can always have them on hand!
TIPS for Cooking with Essential Oils!
- Tip #1 When adding essential oils to any dish, always begin one drop at a time!
- Tip #2 Use a spoon to drop the oil into so that extra drops do not sneak out of the bottle and into your dish.
- Tip #3 When using strong essential oils such as Oregano or Rosemary, a little goes a long way. So to get even less than a drop, use a toothpick and dip it into the oil bottle then stir the toothpick into your dish.
- Tip #4 Essential oils are a volatile liquid which means the moment you release that drop from the bottle, it begins evaporating into the air. So the longer you leave your dish out, the flavor will soften as the oil itself diffuses from the dish, into the air.