Aromatherapy Uses: Cooking
If you consider yourself more than a beginner when it comes to cooking, you’re likely already incorporating principles of aromatherapy into the foods you create. Using ingredients like infused oils and flavored butters not only adds a tremendous amount of flavor to your meals, these types of ingredients cause your smell receptors to come alive.
You might never have thought about this before, but eating involves more than your sense of taste. Unfortunately for many of us, we never seem to have enough time to fully appreciate our meals. We eat fast while on the go, and never give our brains enough time to process the experience. If we could only slow down, we would realize that eating involves the sense of smell as well.
In fact, much of what we taste is influenced by smell. It has to be otherwise, we could only taste what our tongues have been designed to process – saltiness, bitterness, sweetness and sourness. Need further proof? Walk into any home at meal time or any restaurant and before we even see food we smell it and we’re able to pick out different aromas and that makes us instantly hungry.
A Few Tips on Incorporating Aromatherapy into Your Cooking
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your food! Herbs, spices and even edible flowers can breathe new life into your meals. These ingredients will turn the most boring of foods like vegetables into foods you look forward to eating.
Incorporating aromatherapy into your cooking can help you lose weight. One reason why people tend to gravitate towards high fat foods is because these foods taste so good. And while cheese, creams, gravies and butter do add a lot of flavor, they also add a lot of calories. Using more fruits, vegetables and lean proteins in your recipes and flavoring them with herbs and flavored oils will provide you with the vitamins, nutrients and will invigorate, revitalize and lift your mood at the same time!
Before you can add aroma and flavor to food, it’s got to be released from the plant material first. Heat is an effective method of extracting aromas, but too much heat will damage these plants and consequently, spoil your meals. For best results, always heat slowly using low heat.
What Products Can Be Used in Aromatherapy Cooking?
Infusions are great to use in aromatherapy cooking. Not only do they add a variety of different flavors, they’re easy to make. An infusion is an oil or water that has been steeped generally with herbs or flowers.
Used sparingly, herbed butters add a tremendous amount of flavor and an incredible aroma to practically any food. And as with infusions, herbed butters are easy to make at home.
When cooking, you’ll extract more flavors if you use fresh herbs.
Some Cooking Ideas:
Instead of pastas made with cheese and meat, toss with vegetables that have been sautéed in infused oils.
Brush poultry, vegetables and seafood with herbed butter, wrap in aluminum foil, then grill. The steam will help the flavor of the herbed butters seep throughout the grilled items.