Fresh produce from your garden or from the local market is difficult to beat with dried products, tubed pastes, and bottled substitutes.
The freshest of the fresh, though, generally isn't accessible at all times of the year. Sometimes, too, I'd rather take a punch to the face than go grocery shopping after work.
Essential oils are great shelf-stable substitutes when tasty produce is out of reach.
There are four easy ways to introduce flavored oils into your food and drink.
1. Mix your essential oil in a carrier oil like olive oil or coconut oil.
2. Plate your essential oil on salt.
3. Plate your essential oil on sugar.
4. Apply the essential oil directly to your food or drink.
What does it mean to plate an essential oil on salt or sugar?
Very simply, you mix a small quantity of the oil into the sugar or salt. You can use a whisk or a machine mixer, but the mixing will need to be thorough.
For example, you can plate lime essential oil on sugar for a sweet citrus garnish.
Basil essential oil can be mixed with a carrier oil such as olive oil.
Where do I get these oils and in which recipes do I use them?
Which essential oils you purchase matters more than you might think. An essential oil should be the pure distilled or extracted oil of the original plant. There should be no additives or other oils listed on the label.
For culinary purposes, it's important to ensure that the oil's label states that it is a dietary supplement or that it is fit for internal consumption. Some brands are designed to be aromatic only, and others are fit for both aromatic and internal consumption.
I looked on Amazon for culinary grade / internal-consumption-safe basil oil, but I didn't find it. No luck with Walmart either.
Young Living has a variety of oils safe to eat including: basil, black pepper, cardamom, carrot seed, celery seed, cinnamon bark, clove, coriander, dill, fennel, ginger, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, lime, marjoram, nutmeg, orange, oregano, peppermint, rosemary, sage, spearmint, tangerine, tarragon, and thyme. Retail bottles can be purchased through Young Living at reasonable prices ($5 - $20 for 5ml for most). Search for the Vitality Line of products to go straight to the oils that are safe to eat.
*My fiancé uses Young Living essential oils and is an independent distributor. This blog post is not sponsored or endorsed by Young Living or my fiancé.*
I advocate using Young Living's edible oils strictly because they're convenient when fresh ingredients are unavailable.
- Ingredients: 3 large tomatoes, 1 ball of whole milk + low moisture mozzarella (unless you have access to fresh buffalo mozzarella), 6 tbsp olive oil, drizzle of balsamic vinegar, 2 drops basil oil, and kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
- Equipment: mixing bowl, whisk or electric mixer, cutting board, knife, cookie sheet
1. Use knife and cutting board to slice tomatoes 3/8 in. thick and place slices onto cookie sheet
2. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the tomato slices
3. Use knife and cutting board to slice mozzarella into 3/8 in. slices or even a bit thinner; set aside
4. Add olive oil to mixing bowl and whisk in two drops of basil oil - mix well!; add more basil oil to your preference; set aside
5. Sprinkle a liberal amount of salt and black pepper on the tomatoes
6. Place the mozzarella slices on top of the tomatoes
7. Drizzle basil-infused olive oil on top of the mozzarella slices
8. Sprinkle a bit more salt and black pepper on top of the now oiled mozzarella slices
Strawberry Lime Margarita
- Ingredients: 5 oz. strawberry margarita mix, 3 oz. tequila, ice cubes, 4 tbsp kosher salt, 2 drops lime oil
- Equipment: margarita glass, mixing bowl, whisk or electric mixer, saucer plate, water dampened paper towel
1. Add salt to mixing bowl and whisk in two drops of lime oil; mix well!
2. Add lime-plated salt to saucer plate; spread salt to form a doughnut around the plate
3. Moisten the rim of the margarita glass with the damp paper towel
4. Apply the now moistened rim of the glass to the saucer plate of salt; spin the glass on the plate to adhere the salt to the rim
5. Pour margarita mix into glass
6. Add ice cubes to personal preference
7. Top with tequila; gently stir
- Ingredients: 5 oz. lemon-lime soda, 3 oz. white rum, ice cubes, 4 tbsp white granulated sugar, 3 drops lime oil, 2 drops spearmint oil
- Equipment: 1 highball glass, mixing bowl, whisk or electric mixer, saucer plate, water dampened paper towel
1. Add sugar to mixing bowl and whisk in one drop of lime oil; mix well!
2. Add lime-plated sugar to saucer plate; spread sugar to form a doughnut around the plate
3. Moisten the rim of the highball glass with the damp paper towel
4. Apply the now moistened rim of the glass to the saucer plate of sugar; spin the glass on the plate to adhere the sugar to the rim
5. Pour soda into glass
6. Add ice cubes to personal preference
7. Top soda with rum
8. Add two drops of lime oil and two drops of spearmint oil to the glass; gently stir
Wheat Beer with Orange
- Ingredients: One 12 oz. bottle of wheat beer, such as Blue Moon or Shock Top, 2 drops orange oil
- Equipment: 1 pint glass if you're feeling fancy
1. Pop the cap on the beer
2. Add orange oil to your preference
Here are what the bottles of the oils look like for reference.