Callie’s Cabin: Cooking with edible essential oils

Did you know? Essential oils, including eucalyptus, peppermint, rose, and tea tree, are nature’s ancient medicine, abundant with therapeutic effects. The latest scientific research shows that many popular essential oils and aromatherapy can boost your health and well-being,

Here, take a look at how the comfort and calms of scent can help you enjoy Earth’s changes during wintertime. You can use these oils in different forms, including: Air sprays, candles, cleaning products, diffusers, beauty and hygiene items, and even in cooking, baking and adding to beverages!

Tea with lemon and ginger, cinnamon and honey. Getty Images

WINTER

It’s the Season: Shorter days, longer nights and often chilly temperatures — with plenty of snow around the Lake — call for hot, comfort food. During the holiday season, festive food, like hearty casseroles, soups, muffins, breads, puddings, and pies are commonplace.

Immune-enhancing, mood-boosting, warming aromas are scents that come with winter-time. They can be used to flavor up plant-based salads, vegetarian casseroles, soups, with desserts.

Healing Winter Recipes: Biscotti, breads, cakes and scones are popular foods to warm you up, and essential oils can give recipes extra flavor, especially when seasonal citrus or herbs are not available.

Winter Culinary Essential Oils: Anise, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and peppermint.

ON A SNOWY ROAD

One year I traveled through a thriller film-like whiteout snowstorm to Reno for a book signing. I was coping with my dog who just had his canine flu shot, and a cranky sibling who wanted to be anywhere but on the ice rink roads. Worse, while the new book had sold out before my arrival, the store wasn’t busy and I was not Stephen Kin, but the “Misery” day felt nightmarish.

Once home I lit a lavender candle and took a long shower, using a body gel with a mix of essential oils. After the bathroom escape, I sipped a large cup of chamomile tea with drop of cinnamon oil. I was warm, cozy, and in my comfort zone in a homemade scented heaven to calm the stressful day.

EDIBLE OILS? UH, YES

What smells and tastes so good? Edible oils. But hold the phone. Take precaution when using essential oils. Some oils should be diluted. Also, I have learned using the savvy toothpick method—dip a toothpick into an essential oil vial—instead of using drops. It is safer to monitor how much oil you put into an edible recipe.

Cooking with essential oils is controversial among essential oil proponents. However, some top aromatherapists do encourage using raw essential oils for cooking and baking. It is advised to dilute food-grade essential oils with carrier oils such as olive oil or coconut oil in savor cuisine; maple syrup or honey for sweet fare to disperse the essential oil well.

When cooking with heat, it is recommended to add essential oils last to a recipe. This way, you’ll preserve the flavor of the oil and it will not be over processed, helping to reap some of its antioxidants.

Administration offers an online published list of essential oils (solvent-free) that are “generally recognized as safe” to consume in beverages and foods.

Also, it’s best to dilute the essential oils just like you do for therapeutic, beauty, and cleaning recipes. I recommend for most food recipes to pair your essential oil with olive oil, part of the Mediterranean Diet. Other liquids you can use to dilute edible essential oils include vegetable oils, water, juice, and honey.

A variety of food-grade essential oils can be edible. (These can be found at health food stores and online. Some good brands are Young Living and LorAnn). However, it’s essential for you to know that less is more, because the taste can be very potent. Go ahead – learn the joy of cooking with edible oils!

Adapted from The Healing Powers of Essential Oils: A Complete Guide to Nature’s Most Magical Medicine, by Cal Orey, published by Kensington, 2020.

Cal Orey, M.A., is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, Essential Oils. Herbs and Spices) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.)