Joan Lucci, founder of santadotfe, has an essential oils cookbook in the works! Recipes are being tweaked, perfected, and snapped in our test kitchen with local photographer Nubia Calvo Willmore. Here is a sneak peek at the cover of The Essential Kitchen (working title and the finished product may not be recognizable).
essential oils for culinary use
Click here to download a list of our favorite essential oils for culinary use
Click here for more details and for a link to our schedule of topics for our weekly teleclass, Essential Oils 30/30 ~ join in every Thursday evening by phone in the comfort of home ~ every week we share a new recipe or tip for cooking with essential oils
Visit our blog for recipes and more!
culinary FAQs . . . continued
Does heat affect the essential oils?
We know that the essential oils are most potent straight out of the bottle ~ for that reason, uncooked recipes, dressings, and beverages maintain all the health benefits of the essential oils.
High heat will diminish the benefits of the oils. Essential oils may be added under very low heat or, optimally, at the end of the cooking cycle resulting in maximum flavor while preserving the therapeutic benefits of the oils.
There have been no scientific tests, to our knowledge, that definitively answer the question about what happens when essential oils are heated. The current believe is that each essential oil would react differently or would not react when heat is applied. A legitimate scientific test would require that each single essential oil be tested under varying temperatures and applications: essential oils alone vs. with a carrier oil, for example.
Do you offer 'cooking with essential oils' classes and workshops?
Yes, we offer several classes.
A weekly teleclass, "Essential Oils 30/30 (every Thursday evening at 6 PM MT)"
offers a great way to start learning about pure, therapeutic grade essential oils and how they can be used three ways: aromatically, topically, and internally. We almost always offer a recipe or tip on how to use essential oils in food and beverage preparation. It's divided into two parts: 30 minutes of intense "essential oils education" and 30 minutes (optional) of "success training" for anyone that is planning or building an essential oil business.
Click here for our most recent schedule of topics.
"Introduction to Cooking with Essential Oils"
is a popular class and offered as a "hands-on class" or webinar. Please use the form below if you would like more information about this class.
Joan is also available for consultation and offers the "Essential Oils Test Kitchen," a 1/2-day workshop geared to chefs, food purveyors, cooking schools, and other culinary professionals who are open to exploring the benefits of essential oils in recipe creation.
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Can I buy essential oils at my natural grocer?
The range of quality at a natural grocer or health food shop can vary greatly from brand to brand. Only use pure, therapeutic grade essential oils tested for culinary use.
In addition to GRAS & FA (Generally Regarded As Safe and Food Additive) standards, santadotfe strongly recommends her brand of essential oils for culinary use. Please contact Joan Lucci for more information about her recommended brand of essential oils that are tested for their "purity and potency" - Joan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505.920.2385.
Remember that not all plants and their essential oils are for safe for ingesting internally and, hence, not to be used in cooking, baking, or beverages; click here for a list of essential oils that are safe for consumption and use in culinary applications.
How do I substitute essential oils for fresh ingredients?
There is no simple answer or formula, but he short answer is (as with any recipe development) "try a toothpick-dip or drop at a time."
Here are some tips and things to consider:
Essential oils are 50-70 times more concentrated than the fresh ingredient; some commentators equate 2 drops of the stronger herb and spice oils to 2 ounces (dry weight) of dried herb or spice--including basil, cassia, cinnamon, oregano, thyme.
One drop of lemon essential oil equals 1 POUND of lemons.
Click here for more tips on how to use essential oils in recipes.
How many drops are in a bottle of essential oil?
A 15mL bottle will contain about 250 drops of essential oil and a 5mL bottle will contain about 85 drops of essential oil.
Why use expensive essential oils when I can buy extracts?
Pure, therapeutic grade essential oils and "flavor extracts" are very different.
Flavor extracts are usually infusions or tinctures.
Infusions are made when plant material steeps in water or oil for a period of time. Oil infusions can take several days to weeks.
Tinctures are made when plant material is steeped in an alcohol solution (usually 50% alcohol).
Essential oils are non water-based phytochemicals made up of volatile aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. Although they are fat soluble, they do not include fatty lipids or acids found in vegetable and animal oils.
Pure, therapeutic grade essential oils are gently and skillfully extracted (using either steam distillation or expression) from plants that have been patiently harvested at the perfect moment by experienced growers from around the world for ideal extract composition and efficacy.
Bottom line ~ extracts can not be compared to the quality of pure, unadulterated and potent essential oils that you can purchase by contacting us at santadotfe.
Please contact Joan, email@example.com for a reprint of an article that about how her favorite brand of essential oils are distilled: "Distilling Essential Oils: a work of art and science"
Still, how do I justify the expense of adding essential oils to my kitchen shelves?
Sometimes, it's simply the essence of pure lemon that can make a recipe sing. Consider this ...
The cost of one drop of pure Sicilian lemon essential oils is about 4-cents (based on a $10 wholesale cost for a 15mL bottle) ~ as compared to:
What is the cost of a pound of fresh lemons? ... cost of a pound of fresh Sicilian lemons?
What are the labor costs for juicing, zesting, and cutting a pound of fresh lemons?
How much space is needed to store a pound of fresh lemons?
And, how long can I store a pound of fresh lemons?
Bottom line ~ essential oils:
1. Lower food and labor costs
2. Raise or maintain quality standards
3. Require minimal shelf space (fits in a pocket) and a shelf life of 5 to 10 years without a degradation in potency
4. Provide an opportunity to explore new and unique flavor profiles; rare in culinary applications and sometimes only available as an essential oil
Substituting fresh ingredients with essential oils doesn't always produce the best result.
Sometimes, you want the 2 quarts of liquid from fresh squeezed lemons.
Sometimes, a recipe can benefit from the texture and visual of lemon zest.
Sometimes, a wedge of lemon is an important garnish for presentation and added flavor.
And sometimes, it's simply the essence of pure lemon that can make a recipe sing.
Keep reading . . . see FAQS continued, this page, column to the left