It’s the leaves in the Geranium (Pelargonium) plants that yield essential oil and they come with some incredible scents, including orange, lemon, rose and even chocolate peppermint!
To use them in baking, clean the leaves and lay them at the bottom of a cake or bread tin, pour in the mix and whilst baking, the essential oil held in the leaves, will infuse giving a delicate scent and flavour. Turn the tin upside down to remove the leaves before eating (you can leave them in for show, but don’t eat them).
This would work really well with any cake or bread recipe that has a fairly delicate flavour to allow the scent of the geranium to come through. Here are a couple of delicious options I’d recommend:
Fibrex Nurseries stock a range of scented leaved pelargoniams that would be suitable for use in baking.
You may not be aware of it but you’re likely to be cooking with essential oils on a daily basis.
Essential oils are made from an array of plant material that contain highly scented volatile parts. This could be eucalyptus leaves, cardamom pods, lavender flowers or rose petals. To make them into an essential oil the plant material goes through a process called distillation. This involves steam passing through and releasing those molecules then capturing the oil as the steam turns back into water.
There are many plant materials containing essential oils that are commonly used during cooking and when you apply heat to them this releases those oils that make for delicious smells in your kitchen:
Spices: When you heat up seeds like coriander, cumin and fennel, in preparation for something like a curry or a tagine, it makes for a mouth-watering atmosphere. The essential oils also have an effect on your digestive system by stimulating digestive juices, (hence the ‘mouth-watering’). Try this Garam Masala Recipe to experience the affect of releasing essential oils when preparing a spice mix.
Herbs: With some herbs, such as basil, rosemary and thyme, the heat on a sunny day will be enough to initiate a waft of essential oil as you pass by, and on cooler days you may need to rub the leaves with warm fingers to release the scent.
Flowers: You can use many flowers in food for their perfume and delicate taste such as roses, orange blossom, geraniums and of course lavender.
More to come on Cooking with Essential Oils…
I have been experimenting with cooking with essential oils and scented plant materials recently and will be sharing some of my recipes and tips in future blogs. It can be as simple as sprinkling some rose petals on your meal or adding a drop of lemon essential oil to your bottle of olive oil for dressing salads. It doesn’t take much for a magic touch*.
Here are a few teasers to tantalise your taste buds.
Make sure you’re ‘following’ the blog so you don’t miss out on some unusual ways to cook with scented leaf pelargoniums; a delicious alternative to chocolate brownies using peppermint or orange essential oil; and lots of ways to use lavender, including lavender lamb, lavender loaves and lavender & beetroot!*When using essential oils in cooking you need to be very sure that you are buying from a trust worthy source, where the oil is not diluted, adulterated or synthetic. Get in touch to buy Essential Oils by Laura Hoy.