Cooking with essential oil is just not about adding flavor to the food but also bringing in health benefits and of course the convenience when fresh ingredients are not available. Cooking with Essential oils is not a new fad as these were the part of the kitchen like any other whole or powder spices say turmeric, coriander, carom, fennel, etc. But nowadays synthetic flavors have made their way to every home simply because they are cheap/cost-effective.
Not only this, flavors which could never be captured in a bottle are mimicked synthetically like mango, banana, strawberry etc. The ripe fruit’s short lived aroma cannot be captured in a bottle as is possible with leaves/stems/roots/flowers/seed etc. These 21st century developed cheap flavors contain highly processed, lab created and questionable ingredients.
Depending on the essential oil- these essential oils benefit the body in restoring normal functioning because essential oil are a life force of a plant or say praan of a plant in a bottle hence are highly therapeutic. For example
- Promote digestion
- Cleanse the body
- Boost antioxidants
- Support healthy functioning and much more
There are certain essential oils not approved for consumption but are produced for purposes like use in aromatherapy, skin care etc. Essential oils of Eucalyptus, Cypress, Cedarwood, Camphor, Wintergreen, Fir, Spikenard etc. should not be consumed in any amount. Usually when the whole herb is not used in cooking – it’s essential oil too should not be used for consumption. Here are the Essential oils that can be consumed by adding to different recipes that SNAANA prepares in house through the traditional technique of steam distillation. Lemongrass , Fennel, Lavender, Sweet Lime, Peppermint, Turmeric, Rosemary, Holy Basil, Cinnamon, Marjoram, Curry leaf, Coriander, Ginger, Carom, Nutmeg, Black pepper, Clove, Vetiver. Essential oil produced through steam distillation method produces highly therapeutic – nutrient rich oil beneficial for intake, apply and inhale.
Things to keep in mind while buying an essential oil to use in the kitchen for consumption purposes.
1- Always buy steam distilled oil only – Steam distilled essential oils are best to consume but since the market is loosely regulated often the synthetically prepared essential oils are labeled steam distilled. Always check on its edibility. If the brand claims that the oil is steam distilled and not edible/ meant for external use only – be assured that the brand is not true to its word.
2- Stay alert with Adulterated Essential oils- Some companies add fillers – edible carrier oils to their essential oils which lowers its potency- efficacy making them cost effective. The diluted oil is simply not pure anymore. Steam distillation technique produces much lower yield of oil making a bottle of oil highly expensive as compared to synthetic flavors available in the market. The yield of essential oils is usually around 1% for maximum herbs and many factors dominate the yield.
How to add Essential Oil to Food?
Adding of essential oil to a recipe depends on a couple of factors like
1- Kind of recipe
3- Personal taste buds
For beginners, it’s important to go easy starting with a toothpick or just a drop before you get an idea of how much oil to add to a recipe.
Toothpick method – When you are looking to add essential oil to a bowl of soup – just wet the toothpick with the oil and drop the toothpick in the bowl. If you feel like adding more – shift to a drop using a dropper only.
Dropper method – Using a dropper is the best way to add the oil to the recipe. Always begin with a drop advancing to 2-3-4 drops as per the kind of recipe, servings and taste buds.
Please do not go with high confidence pouring the oil directly with the bottle. This can overdo the drops. Excess oil added cannot be taken back, hence always go drop wise.
Essential oils are highly volatile – heat sensitive as cooking evaporates essential oil due to the steam so always add essential oil to the recipe after you have taken it off the heat to get the best flavor & nutrition with least drops. We can add essential oil even after the recipe has cooled down/ right before it is ready to serve. When we add essential oil at the very end – right before serving – a much smaller amount is needed.
However for recipes that call for baking – add while making the batter only. Just add a few drops extra as heating tends to decrease the aroma & nutrition but some amount will be retained.
Here is how you choose & use essential oil for internal use
- Make sure to use a steam distilled – edible essential oils only. Beware of synthetic versions.
- Begin using toothpicks or 1-2 drops only. Essential oils are the PRAN of the plant in a bottle.
- Use oils of the herbs that are recommended for intake.
- Always dilute the essential oil. Do not put a drop on your tongue to taste the flavor of the essential oil. A drop of essential oil is highly concentrated.
- Essential oils of the herbs like cinnamon, nutmeg, cassia, thyme, oregano, clove are very strong hence should be diluted much more than other oils when adding to beverages or soups/salads.
- Make sure to use stainless steel, glass or ceramic cookware when using essential oils. Do not use plastic at all.
We make more than 20 different kinds of essential oils in our own essential oils distillation unit making ourselves the best EDIBLE essential oil manufacturer/supplier. Our essential oil can be used to seek flavor in different food and beverage recipes like citrus, minty, earthy, spicy, herby, sweet-floral, etc. Every consumer wants the best oil to use and hence the keyword “which essential oils is the best “is often searched to find the best quality essential oil brand.
There are many essential oil brands in India claiming to be pure -steam distilled but it’s always good to know the brand, their making process, and a thorough check on their claims before making a purchase. The more transparent the brand is in showcasing its raw material ( plant parts) sourcing relation with the farmer, its functional distillation unit, welcoming customers to experience the traditional technique of distilling by their own eyes, the more you can be confident in believing them for purity. And in today’s technology-driven world – a live video call can show you the facts of the state even if you are miles away and cannot make a visit. Thus, believe in brands like SNAANA who are here to make a difference to the consumer life with the total transparency & wholesome goodness of purity.
There are many oil extraction methods practiced in today’s world however the traditional technique called steam distillation is the best producing the best quality – nutrient-rich – highly therapeutic essential oil for the different use from cooking to the application to inhalation. Essential oil usage in our day-to-day life is not new; rather essential oils were the strongest medicine available before the beginning of allopathic medication.
At SNAANA we do not make use of fragrance at all in our skincare & wellness products, the products are made using essential oils. The essential oil used in the formulation is to benefit the skin & body and not to lure you with aroma. Perfumed skin care is bad for the body. Our product derives its aroma from the ingredients used in the product formulation and this plant-derived essential oil aroma brings in good health establishing a natural connection with the body, mind, and soul.
You can use essential oils for different purposes like
- Essential oil for the face – Use essential oil diluted in your face cream or face oil regularly for the desired benefit. Just make sure to choose the right essential oils keeping in mind your skin type and the concern on your face. Some essential oils are all-rounder – good for all skin types and concerns like lavender, chamomile, etc.
- Essential oil for acne scars & oily skin – Essential oil works super effective in reducing acne eruption and clearing the scars. The essential oil of lemongrass, eucalyptus, camphor, sweet lime, holy basil, carom fights acne-causing bacteria and helps clear the skin making it clean and healthy.
- Essential oil for Hair & dandruff – Hair fall, itchy scalp, dandruff is a growing concern and nothing works as effectively as a scalp massage with essential oils diluted in a carrier oil. This traditionally used recipe and ingredients are making a strong come back as a helpful –healthy and result-giving remedy for hair concerns. Almost all essential oils can benefit your scalp, just make sure to get the best quality edible steam distilled essential oils only.
- Essential oil for aromatherapy – Soothing aroma is an instant way to light up the mood and therapeutic essential oils can help add wellness to the air we breathe in. Different oils like lemongrass, sweet lime, vetiver, carom, eucalyptus, camphor are used to refresh the air, uplift the mood and calm the senses- relax the mind.
Essential oil side effects
Essential oil like any other spice or herb do not cause any side effects. All that’s needed to care for is
- Always dilute and use it be it skin care or food or diffuser cup.
- Do not use it excessively. Always start with 1 drop.
- Use the right quality of oil.
- If you are allergic to a herb, do not use the oil prepared from it. For example, if nutmeg does not suit your body, please do not use nutmeg oil too.
Isn’t essential oil cooking a new fad?
No, using essential oil to flavor food, add nutrition is a traditional practice. We find it new now, as usage of essential oils vanished from our life’s past decades with cheap & cost-effective synthetic flavours making their way everywhere in the food, diffuser, aroma oils, skincare etc.
Is there something called edible aromatherapy oils?
Yes, edible aromatherapy oils are often searched by people looking for the authentic meaning, pure and natural essential oils. In earlier times, aroma oils like lavender, lime, rose etc. were prepared using the herb only and not manufactured in the lab synthetically. Synthetic oils can lend aroma but are not therapeutic in nature. Hence those with awareness of the benefits of real steam distilled essential oils look for edible aromatherapy oils.
Are essential oils edible?
Yes, essential oils should be edible but in today’s world synthetically produced essential oils are flourishing the market and these synthetic oils are inedible. These inedible synthetic essential oils are meant for external use only in skin care, aromatherapy, diffusers etc. Edible essential oils are produced through the steam distillation technique and if the herb is edible like lavender, rosemary, lemongrass, fennel etc, the oil produced from these herbs is edible too. Hence, essential oils are edible. Always make sure to read the label carefully before using an essential oil for food. Synthetic essential oils are sold in the market as pure, steam distilled and therapeutic oils. And the synthetic oil producing and selling lobby spreads the wrong information that essential oils are not suitable for consumption.
Is cooking with essential oils simple?
Yes, cooking with essential oils is really easy and simple. Just read the quick guide above (how to cook with essential oils) and say not to synthetic flavors in food and beverages now onwards.
How to find the best edible essential oils brands?
Very few brands in the world sell edible essential oils. Go beyond the bottle and find out the making process. Brands like SNAANA in India produce exceptional purity fully integrated with farmers and traditional practices to revive age old therapeutic lifestyle.
Be very careful while buying an essential oil for edible purpose as many brands mislead the consumer with words pure, steam distilled etc. Use an oil for consumption only when the label clearly reads – EDIBLE.
Where to find cooking with an essential oils chart?
You really don’t need a chart for using essential oil in cooking the food. If you know how to use essential oil in cooking, you simply have to replace the whole/powder herb with drops of essential oil of that very herb. The herb and its essential oil or its water (hydrosol) usually carry the same nature, flavor and aroma hence you can easily make use of essential oil in food replacing the whole herb.
Is there any simple way to DIY essential oil making at home?
Essential Oil making is similar to natural rain process
No, making essential oil needs skill, equipment and technique know-how in depth. One needs quality raw material, time factor, right temperature (steam) to produce an essential oil. It is similar to our natural rain process, so here is how it works.
Are essential oils used in food?
Yes, the essential oil can be used in food and beverages. But make sure to use edible grade essential oils only.
Which essential oils are toxic to humans?
Some of the essential oils like Cypress, Cedarwood, Camphor, Wintergreen, Fir, Spikenard are generally not considered good for internal use. These plants, whole herbs – leaves or bark are not even used in cooking like we use cumin, carom or coriander.