Did you know? Essential oils, including eucalyptus, peppermint, rose, and tea tree, are nature’s ancient medicine and rich in therapeutic effects. The latest scientific research shows that many popular essential oils and aromatherapy can benefit your health and wellbeing.
Check out here how the comfort and tranquility of smell can help you enjoy the changes in the earth in winter. You can use these oils in a variety of forms including: air sprays, candles, detergents, diffusers, beauty and hygiene items, and even for cooking, baking, and adding to drinks!
Tea with lemon and ginger, cinnamon and honey. Getty Images
It’s the time of year: shorter days, longer nights, and often cool temperatures – with lots of snow around the lake – call for hot, comfortable food. During the holiday season, festive foods such as hearty casseroles, soups, muffins, bread, puddings and cakes are the order of the day.
Immune-boosting, mood-boosting and warming aromas are fragrances that go along with the winter time. They can be used to flavor plant-based salads, vegetarian casseroles, soups, and desserts.
Healing Winter Recipes: Biscotti, bread, cakes, and pastries are popular warm-up foods, and essential oils can add flavor to recipes, especially when seasonal citrus fruits or herbs are not available.
Winter culinary essential oils: anise, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and peppermint.
On a snow-covered road
I traveled to Reno for a year through a thriller-like whiteout blizzard to sign a book. I was dealing with my dog who had just got his canine flu shot and a crazy sibling who wanted to be anywhere but the streets of the rink. Worse, while the new book sold out prior to my arrival, the store wasn’t full and I wasn’t Stephen Kin, but the “misery” day felt nightmarish.
When I got home, I lit a lavender candle and took a long shower with a body gel with a mixture of essential oils. After escaping the bathroom, I sipped a large cup of chamomile tea with a drop of cinnamon oil. I was warm, cozy and in my comfort zone in a homemade, fragrant sky to soothe the stressful day.
EDIBLE OILS? Uh yeah
What smells and tastes so good? Edible oils. But hold the phone. Be careful when using essential oils. Some oils should be diluted. I also learned to use the savvy toothpick method – dipping a toothpick into a vial of essential oils – rather than using drops. It is safer to monitor how much oil you put into an edible recipe.
Cooking with essential oils is controversial among proponents of essential oils. However, some top aromatherapists recommend using crude essential oils for cooking and baking. It is recommended that food grade essential oils be diluted with carrier oils such as olive oil or coconut oil. Maple syrup or honey for sweet foods to help distribute the essential oil.
When cooking with heat, it is recommended that essential oils be added last to a recipe. That way, you preserve the flavor of the oil and it doesn’t get over-processed, which harvests some of its antioxidants.
The administration offers an online published list of essential oils (solvent-free) that are generally recognized as safe for consumption in beverages and food.
It is also best to dilute the essential oils just as you would for therapeutic, beauty, and cleansing recipes. For most food recipes, I recommend pairing your essential oil with olive oil, which is part of the Mediterranean diet. Other liquids that 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 are available at health food stores and online. Some good brands are Young Living and LorAnn). However, it is important to know that less is more as the taste can be very strong. Go on – learn the joy of cooking with edible oils!
Adapted from the Healing Powers of Essential Oils: A Complete Guide to Nature’s Most Magical Medicines, by Cal Orey, published by Kensington, 2020.
Cal Orey, MA, 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 was featured by the Good Cook Book Club.)