Remember, essential oils are more potent than herbs!
1. Generally, you’ll add the essential oil(s) right before serving. The heat will evaporate essential oils with the steam. However, with a few oils that can be very strong (i.e., basil, oregano, rosemary), simmering can produce a wonderfully subtle bouquet.
2. Try to always use a glass or ceramic bowl when mixing your ingredients that contain essential oils. If you use plastic, the essential oil can seep into the plastic and ruin it.
3. Because all oils tend to have different viscosity levels, don’t drop the oil directly into your mixture. Drop the required amount on a spoon and then into your mixture to ensure you have the proper amount.
Some essential oil conversions:
– Typically, 1 drop of a citrus oil can substitute for 1 tsp. of citrus zest. If the recipe calls for the zest from 1 citrus fruit, you can use 8–14 drops of the citrus essential oil instead.
– For mint oils such as peppermint and spearmint, try substituting 1 drop for 1 tsp. dried mint leaves or 1 Tbsp. fresh mint leaves.
– Cinnamon and cassia are pretty similar, and typically what we know as ground cinnamon is really ground cassia; however, the strength of their flavor is quite a bit different. You will want to start by substituting 1 drop of cinnamon for 1–2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon or for 1 tsp. cassia.
– For herbaceous oils like basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, cilantro, dill, start with a toothpick dipped in the oil and stirred into the mixture, and then add more to taste as needed.
– Floral herbs like lavender can be used in cooking; but because floral flavors are uncommon, you want just a hint of this flavor. Start with a toothpick, and add more if needed.
– For other flavors, a good rule of thumb is to substitute 1 drop of oil for 1–2 Tbsp. of dried spice or herb and 1 drop of oil for 1–2 tsp. of fresh spice. If you think the oil is strong or the recipe calls for less than the above quantities, start with a toothpick dip instead. Taste, and add more if needed.
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