Cooking with Geranium Leaves and Geranium Essential Oil

How to Cook with Geranium – baking with scented leaf pelargoniums and flavouring frosting with geranium essential oil.

scented leaf pelargonium
Scented Pelargonium Leaves.

It’s the leaves in the Pelargonium plants (often incorrectly called geraniums) that yield essential oil. They come in a range of 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 be inspired to rise through the mixture, infusing it with a delicate, sweet floral scent and flavour. Turn the tin upside down to tip out the baked cake and remove the leaves before eating (you can leave them in for show, but don’t eat them).

Fibrex Nurseries stock a range of scented leaved pelargoniam’s that would be suitable for use in baking, these are two of my favourites: Attar of Roses & Islington Peppermint:

Attar of Roses - Scented Leaf Pelargonium       

This technique would work well with any cake or bread recipe that has a fairly delicate flavour to allow the scent of the geranium/pelargonium to come through. A plain sponge is probably best for highlighting the fragrance.

Here are a couple of delicious options you could experiment with:

You can also flavour cake icing with Geranium Essential Oil – you must use a food grade essential oil for this and only a tiny amount of essential oil, or you will find the flavour too over powering.

Coconut and Carrot Cake – by Live Love Nourish.

Raw Fruit and Nut Balls – flavoured with Essential Oils

Fruit & Nut Balls (AKA Mini Christmas Puddings) – Recipe

These delicious fruit & nut balls are super simple to make with the added benefit of being raw (no cooking needed), gluten free, vegan, dairy free & sugar free! (the dried fruit makes them sweet enough).

Ingredients:

  • 80g – golden sultanas
  • 50g – dates
  • 60g – dried cranberries (without added sugar)
  • 50g – dried apricots (brown ones if you can as the orange ones have preservatives in)
  • 130g – ground almonds
  • 50g – walnuts (or another favourite nut)
  • 8 drops – Orange Essential Oil (must be food grade) or an essential oil of your choice*
  • 1 table spoon –Olive Oil
  • A dash of Cinnamon, Clove, All Spice and Nutmeg (powder)
  • 1 table spoon Ground flax seeds (optional)
  • A sprinkle of finely ground desiccated coconut to decorate.

You could use any essential oil* you like to flavour these, some other suggestions that work well include peppermint, mandarin or geranium. You could also try a combination e.g. orange & geranium, lime & peppermint but keep the total number of drops as 8.

Instructions

  1. Place all of the fruit & nut ingredients into a food processor.
  2. Add 8 drops of the orange essential oil to a table spoon of olive oil. This helps even distribution of the essential oil.
  3. Add the oil to the other ingredients in the processor and blend until the mixture comes together. If the mix is too dry and not sticking together, add another dash of olive oil.
  4. Shape in to balls by rolling in the palms of your hands and place into mini cake cases. I weight out about 30g of mix to get even sized balls.
  5. Finish off by using a sieve to sprinkle finely ground desiccated coconut over the tops or roll in sesame seeds.

With thanks to Heather Di Marino from ‘Eat Well Live Well’ for sharing her wonderful recipe, her Raw Orange & Carrot Carob Brownies are another delicious treat you can flavour with essential oils.

*Essential oils must be 100% pure, organic and unadulterated to be suitable for use in flavouring foods – Essential Oils & You are suitable. When flavouring food, the amount of essential oil needed is very tiny. Never ingest essential oils for health purposes without advice from a professional and remember they are not water soluble, so do not drink drops in a glass of water. Gargling for oral care is fine, but do dilute the essential oil first, so you don’t have neat essential oil touching the very delicate lining of your mouth. For more details on Gargling with essential oils click here.