Culinary Oils

A few essential oils can be used in very small quantities in cooking. They add an exquisite and exotic flavor to food, promote better digestion, and help to preserve the food from spoilage. The Pacific Northwest, especially around Sequim, is famous for lavender. Its essential oil is found in cheesecake, ice cream, and countless other products. If using such an oil, it should be added when the food has reduced somewhat in temperature, i.e., if the food is warm, it should be added just before serving. Lemongrass is another essential oil sometimes used in cooking. Try it in salad dressing, usually 1-2 drops per 8 oz. bottle is enough. It — as well as cinnamon, clove, ginger, and even rosemary — can be added to jams and jellies, chutney, and pilaf. You can also add these and other oils to toothpaste and powder, shampoo, detergent, and bath water. However, before venturing direct contact with the skin, dilute the oil in a carrier, such as almond oil or olive oil, and try a drop to test for allergic or other reactions. Lavender is one of the truly safe oils, but since everyone is different, be cautious until you understand the oils and your relationship to them.

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