The Prairie Homestead http://www.theprairiehomestead.com Homesteading | Self Sufficient Living | Living off the Land Wed, 07 Dec 2016 20:59:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.1 Rustic Homemade Christmas Decorations http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2016/12/rustic-homemade-christmas-decorations.html http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2016/12/rustic-homemade-christmas-decorations.html#comments Tue, 06 Dec 2016 19:24:58 +0000 http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/?p=17914 I’ve been a Scrooge for the past 8 years… I have a good reason, though. Remember how we’ve lived in basically half a house for the past 8 years? Yup. That’s why. We could squeeze into the house decently well during most of the year, but adding a Christmas tree plus all the decorations to the […]

The post Rustic Homemade Christmas Decorations appeared first on The Prairie Homestead.

]]>
rustic homemade garland from real greenery

I’ve been a Scrooge for the past 8 years…

I have a good reason, though. Remember how we’ve lived in basically half a house for the past 8 years? Yup. That’s why. We could squeeze into the house decently well during most of the year, but adding a Christmas tree plus all the decorations to the mix was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I would hold off on putting up my ONE box of decorations until the last minute, and then take them down the day after Christmas. I just. couldn’t. take. it. It was decoration suffocation, y’all.

When I found myself suddenly in the mood to decorate after Thanksgiving for the first time EVER in my adult life, I almost didn’t know what to do with myself…

So I loaded my happy little self into the car and drove to town with the intention of stocking up on some fancy-shmancy decorations, considering my collection is rather meager.

Annnnnnd I came home with an empty car… Nada. Zilch. Zip. (Ok, I did come home with a pillow and a little wooden tree, but that was IT).

rustic natural bucket christmas porch

I have nothing against glitter and reindeer and Santas with sparkly beards, but they just aren’t ME. I like natural, and rustic, and vintage.

So what’s a homesteading gal to do?

Grab some tree trimmings from the backyard, tin cans, Epsom salts, and make her own. That’s what.

I had an absolute BLAST last Saturday gathering what most people would considering trash and making decorations from it… I’m loving my decorated house for the first time ever, and the best part? It’s totally me. 🙂

Rustic Homemade Christmas Decorations

rustic homemade garland from real greenery

Real Greenery

I’m sorry, but I just can’t hack the fake greenery that looks like a green Hawaiian Lei. Thankfully, even though we live on the high plains with few trees, we do have an old juniper in the backyard in need of some trimming. Perfection.

I trimmed a few of the branches from the bottom, arranged them in a line (overlapped a bit), and tied the branches together with a bit of string. Floral wire would have been ideal, but I didn’t have that hanging around, and was too impatient to wait until I went back to town. Thankfully, you can’t see the string at all. (And even if you could, who cares?)

I also took a few of the leftover branches and placed them strategically around my “displays” for an added touch.

You can also make your own wreaths with real greenery. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s on my list.

dried orange slices

Dried Orange Slices

When I first saw dried oranges used as Christmas decor, I knew that was gonna have to happen, STAT. I hung mine through out my garland, but you can also use them as ornaments for your tree.

How to Dry Orange Slices:

  • Cut oranges into 1/4″ slices
  • Place directly on your oven rack and bake at the lowest temperature possible for several hours, or until dry. (My oven goes down to about 180 degrees). Alternatively, you can use your dehydrator.
  • Poke a hole in the middle and tie a circle of string through it.

diy frosted mason jars

Frosted Mason Jars

Tutorials abound for frosty-looking mason jars, but many of them call for items I don’t normally have hanging around (Mod Podge, special paint, fake snow, etc) and you guessed it– I was too impatient to wait until I could drive to the craft store.

So glue and Epsom salt it was.

I made a glue/water mixture of 3:1 (Three parts glue to 1 part water. I just used regular Elmer’s school glue) and then painted it on the mason jars.

After that, I sprinkled/rolled the glue-covered jars in Epsom salt and let them dry. You can add a tea light inside if you wish.

I think they look pretty darn awesome, if do I say so myself. They do shed a bit, but hey– I’m willing to put up with that in exchange for their mason jar awesomeness.

diy tin can luminaries

Tin Can Luminaries

“Honey, why are there tin cans full of water in the freezer?”

“They’re Christmas decorations…”

“*silence*”

After ten years of marriage, Prairie Husband doesn’t even question my craziness anymore… I’m so glad we’ve finally made it to this point.

Anyway, I’m loving these DIY tin can luminaries. Here’s how to make them:

DIY Tin Can Luminaries

  1. Wash and remove labels from tin cans of your choice.
  2. Fill them with water, and place into the freezer until they are frozen solid
  3. Map out a design on graph paper. I made a starburst-style design, but you can make shapes, letters, etc.
  4. Tape the graph paper over the frozen can, and use a nail and hammer to carefully punch out the holes. The ice keeps the can from bending as you punch.
  5. Run hot water over the can until the ice falls out.
  6. Dry the can and paint with spray paint.
  7. Add a tea light and enjoy!

diy book page christmas tree

Christmas Tree From Book Pages

I fell in LOVE with this idea the moment I found it on Pinterest and knew I had to make one. Here are the directions I followed.

decorating with pine cones

Pine Cones

Yup– these were free from my backyard, too. And bonus– the Prairie Kids gathered them for me.

I also love the idea of bleaching pine cones, but haven’t tried it yet. 

diy log pedastals

Log Pedestals

Thankfully, these were just right outside my door in our firewood pile. I did cut a few of them down so I could have a variety of heights, but it still doesn’t get much easier than this. Use your log pedestals to display candles, jars, votives, pinecones, or other decor.

rustic natural bucket christmas porch

A Bucket of Stuff

That’s my not-so-elegant way to describe my front deck decoration, but I actually do think it’s pretty darn charming. I used an old metal pail, and arranged logs, pinecones, and leftover juniper trimmings in it. It looks even better when covered in snow.

So there you have it. I’m still tweaking and creating a bit, so I imagine my rustic homemade Christmas set-up will continue to morph, but I’m loving what I have so far. Its quaint, yet elegant. Natural, yet still noticeable. And it suits me just fine. 🙂

Other Rustic Homemade Christmas Ideas for your Homestead:

What are your favorite rustic DIY decorations? Tell me about them in the comments!

rustic homemade christmas decoration ideas

The post Rustic Homemade Christmas Decorations appeared first on The Prairie Homestead.

]]>
http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2016/12/rustic-homemade-christmas-decorations.html/feed 18
When She Leaves… http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2016/11/when-she-leaves.html http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2016/11/when-she-leaves.html#comments Mon, 21 Nov 2016 12:00:44 +0000 http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/?p=4256 Sometimes during the hustle and bustle of our chaotic homestead life, I catch myself silently watching Prairie Girl. Amidst the zipping up of tiny coats, bracing against the wind, feeding hay, and filling water buckets, I remember… I remember a small girl who would have loved nothing more than to have horses outside her bedroom […]

The post When She Leaves… appeared first on The Prairie Homestead.

]]>
mesachicken

Sometimes during the hustle and bustle of our chaotic homestead life, I catch myself silently watching Prairie Girl.

Amidst the zipping up of tiny coats, bracing against the wind, feeding hay, and filling water buckets, I remember…

I remember a small girl who would have loved nothing more than to have horses outside her bedroom window. And a wheelbarrow full of manure to push. And eggs to collect.

That girl was me.

I don’t know of many little girls whose primary dreams in life involved barns and land instead of Barbie houses and tiaras, but mine did.

mesatractor

I didn’t grow up on a farm. I grew up in a little neighborhood on a tiny lot. And even as a very young child, I was keenly aware we “lived in town.” And I didn’t love it. Ever since I can remember, there’s been something deep inside of me that craved the country. As a kid I would push the family wheelbarrow around our small yard and pretend I was mucking out stalls with it. I know… pretty desperate, huh?

My childhood wishes eventually grew to an all-consuming passion. A passion which caused me to leave home at the tender age of 18 and move 1200 miles away to the wide open spaces of Wyoming. I had a goal to ride horses. And that I did.

My love for horsemanship and the rural way of life gradually blossomed into this homesteading lifestyle after we purchased our land in 2008. I cannot tell you the immense satisfaction that floated over me when I realized we were finally the owners of LAND. 67 glorious acres, to be exact. I walked on air for years after we signed on the dotted line, and if I’m being completely honest, there are still days I pinch myself.

Was moving so far away from home and parents at that young of an age to jumpstart this grand journey scary? Absolutely. But it set a precedence for adventure in my life that I wouldn’t trade for the wold. Not to mention it has felt deliciously right since day one.

mesaanniebw

My thoughts drift back to Prairie Girl as I watch her move fluidly around the barnyard with a confidence I couldn’t fathom at that age…

I’ve had people ask me, with raised eyebrows, “What are you going to do if your kids hate country life and want to move to the city as soon as they turn 18?”

What IF her dreams do take her far from our simple life to the land of asphalt, high-rises, and noisy streets?

I’ve thought long and hard about this question. I would never want to discourage my children’s passions, especially since I personally have experienced the satisfaction of having a dream fulfilled. I will encourage her in whatever goals she chooses to pursue, even if they are vastly different from my own.

I don’t know where Prairie Girl’s desires will take her. But I know that regardless of where she ends up, she will always carry the skills she has learned from growing up on our little farm.

kids-chicken-butchering

She’ll be strong— both inside and out– from fixing fence, stacking hay bales, and shoveling manure.

She’ll be confident and assertive from handling livestock, riding horses, and milking the cow.

She’ll be capable from learning to create butter from fresh cream, shoot a gun, make yeast bread rise, and drive a tractor.

She’ll be conscious of the natural rhythms of life from planting seeds, watching baby calves being born, and helping to butcher meat animals.

And she’ll be brave from having experienced rattlesnakes and blizzards and powerful prairie thunderstorms.

teamworkbig

So even if she leaves the farm someday and finds herself as a successful career woman wearing high heels and business suits instead of muck boots and Carhartts like her mama, the life skills and lessons she’s learned from the homestead will be something she can carry with her for her entire life.

But then my thoughts transport me back to the present and I mention we still need to let the chickens out to complete the morning’s chores. I watch as she bounces her way into the chicken coop, tells the rather intimidating turkey get out of her way, and determinedly shoves the door until it pulls free and allows morning sunlight to filter in the coop.

“What’s next, Mama?” she says as she wipes the dust from her hands.

And at that moment, I have a sneaking suspicion this country life might just be her heart’s desire, too.

Just like that other little girl… Not so long ago.

(This post was originally published in 2013. I recently revised and refreshed it so it could come out of the archives.)

The post When She Leaves… appeared first on The Prairie Homestead.

]]>
http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2016/11/when-she-leaves.html/feed 95
2016 Homestead Gift Guide http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2016/11/homestead-gift-guide-2016.html http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2016/11/homestead-gift-guide-2016.html#comments Mon, 14 Nov 2016 18:54:32 +0000 http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/?p=17562 Maybe someday I can be like Oprah… …and have a “Jill’s Favorite Things” event every year where I give away truckloads of awesomeness. “A free home freeze dryer for EVERYONE!! Weeeeeeee!!” But as much as I love y’all, I’m afraid that’s not a possibility at the moment. So a super-awesome homestead gift guide will have to suffice. […]

The post 2016 Homestead Gift Guide appeared first on The Prairie Homestead.

]]>
2016 Homestead Gift Guide

Maybe someday I can be like Oprah…

…and have a “Jill’s Favorite Things” event every year where I give away truckloads of awesomeness.

“A free home freeze dryer for EVERYONE!! Weeeeeeee!!”

But as much as I love y’all, I’m afraid that’s not a possibility at the moment. So a super-awesome homestead gift guide will have to suffice.

I hand-picked each and every item in this guide, and they were specifically chosen because I personally use them and love them and think they would provide massive value to any homesteader’s life. Plus, most of these (with a few exceptions) are small, family-run companies, which makes it even better.

So use this guide as you buy for others, send it to family members as a subtle hint, or even splurge a little for yourself. Happy shopping!

The 2016 Homestead Gift Guide

newdivider

Churncraft Home Butter Churn

screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-1-22-34-pm

Seriously. What better gift for a homesteader than a butter churn? This is a highly efficient, hand-powered device that allows users to make rich, creamy butter that just tastes better. The design is considered a ‘modern classic’ because it bring a modern touch and improvement to a time-tested old-fashioned common kitchen item. It’s the perfect way to embrace the farm-to-table movement at home! Learn how to make butter better with a Churncraft butter churn.

churncraftJill’s Notes: In the past, I have used my food processor to make butter, which works (most of the time), but definitely disconnects you from the charm of the process.  I see our Churncraft machine becoming a family heirloom at our house. I can’t think of a more elegant homestead tool.

Price: $240

Coupon Code: Use PRAIRIEREADER to get $10 off your order.

Visit the Churncraft Website

newdivider

Chugwater Chili Mix

screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-1-37-15-pm

 

Chugwater Chili is a Wyoming legend. Founded in 1986, it began when five local farm and ranch families purchased the Wyoming State Championship Chili Recipe and created a blossoming-enterprise to boost the tiny rural community of Chugwater, Wyoming. Their signature chili mix is renowned across the entire country, and they also make amazing gift baskets if you’re looking to give the gift of award-winning chili at home.

Chugwater Chili 6.5 oz. jar with powder, Chugwater Chili Product

Jill’s Notes: I am SO proud to be including Chugwater Chili in our Gift Guide this year. This is as local as it can possibly get for me and I personally know the owners of this company. I have made my fair share of chili during our Wyoming winters and find myself reaching for my Chugwater Chili mix more than anything else. I know how to season chili myself, but what can I say? It just tastes better with this mix. (And it contains zero gluten or MSG, of course.)

Price: The signature chili mix ranges from $3.49 (for small packet) to $31.95 (for a 1-lb tub).

Coupon Code: Get 10% off gift baskets by using PPXMAS2016 at checkout. (expires 12/31/2016)

Visit the Chugwater Chili Website

newdivider

Fermentools

fermentoolslogo

Fermenting vegetables is the healthiest method of food preservation. Make your own probiotic rich sauerkraut, kimchi, or pickles the way the homesteaders did, without electricity! Fermentools allows you to turn your standard wide mouth mason jars into your very own fermenting crock, saving you both space and money. The lids are heavy duty stainless steel with heavy glass weights that will literally last a lifetime! Give the gift of health that may be passed down to your children some day.

smalfermentJill’s Notes: Whether it’s sauerkraut, fermented ketchup, or old-fashioned pickles, if I’m fermenting, I use Fermentools airlocks. I love that they can convert any mason jar to a “fermenting crock” and you can do LARGE batches easily this way.

Price: The starter kit is $21.29, but I recommend getting the 6-pack ($72.90) because I never, never just ferment one jar at a time.

Visit the Fermentools Website

newdivider

Sew Grown Essential Oil Cases

sewgrownlogo

Essential oil cases are everywhere, but nothing I’ve found compares to Sew Grown. The cases are padded and reinforced, so they protect essential oil bottles from becoming  damaged.  They are also designed in a way that if oil spills inside the case, it will not penetrate to the outside fabric and ruin the clutch. The fabric prints even have a story– each one is a vintage design that dates back as far as the 1800s. Plus, the wooden tag serves a purpose– it acts as an essential oil diffuser for your favorite scents.

sew grown essential oil clutchJill’s Notes: Sew Grown is a family-owned business, and I am proud to personally know the owners. They are amazing people with a dedication to extreme quality. I love the vintage fabrics, as well as the fact each bag is made in America by someone with a disability. I get compliments every time I pull my Sew Grown case out of my bag.

Price: The cases range from $23.95 for a keychain case, up to $48.95 for the large case that holds 12 bottles.

Visit the Sew Grown Website

newdivider

The Elliott Homestead: Family Table Cookbook

Shaye Elliott, from The Elliott Homestead, has a new and gorgeous cookbook filled with flavorful recipes, as well as a very beautiful message of family, sustainable farming, and stewardship.  With more than 70 recipes and dozens of photographs, the Family Table cookbook shows off Shaye’s favorite dishes that feed her family every day. From dry-cured bacon made from pigs raised on the farm to sizzling steak with vinegar and tomato dressing, each recipe is about reviving easy, traditional food preparations for a more flavorful and healthful future. Forget expensive, exotic ingredients or fancy techniques – Mama ain’t got time for that.

Jill’s Notes: Shaye and I started our blogs at the same time, and she has become a dear friend who’ve I’ve also gotten to know in “real life” as well. (As if blogging isn’t real life… hehe) She completely outdid herself on this project– I started cooking with it as soon as I pulled it from the envelope. The recipes are wholesome and from-scratch, yet anyone can make them. (The browned butter mashed potatoes are my #1 favorite so far.)

Price: $35.00 (it’s hardcover)

Order The Elliott Homestead: Family Table Cookbook

newdivider

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

new-baker-sealBaker Creek carries one of the largest selections of seeds from the 19th century, including many Asian and European varieties. The company has become a tool to promote and preserve our agricultural and culinary heritage. Our company and seeds have been featured in The New York Times, The Associated Press, Oprah Magazine, Martha Stewart, The Wall Street Journal, and many others. Their catalogs now distribute to over 700,000 gardeners nationally.
baker

Jill’s Notes: I get asked no less than 50 times per year about where I buy my heirloom seeds. I’ve used Baker Creek for the last 5 years, and absolutely love them. The variety is outstanding, and they are all organic and non-GMO, of course. I can’t think of any homesteader who wouldn’t love a gift certificate.

Price: I would recommend a gift certificate, as it gives maximum flexibility. These range from $10-$200.

Visit the Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds Website

newdivider

doTERRA Essential Oils

NHessentialoils

If you or a loved one is wanting to get into essential oils, there is no better option than doTERRA. These are the highest quality oils, ethically-sourced around the globe and guaranteed to be pure. Put together a gift basket of starter oils, or create a themed-kit combining a selection of oils and essential-oil infused products.

 homeessentialsJill’s Notes: It’s no secret that I love doTERRA, so it’s only logical to include them here. I frequently use essential oils as gifts, and everyone is always thrilled to receive them. I recommend starting with a wholesale account (yes, even if you’re just buying gifts) as it automatically gives you a 25% discount. And then you get to use the discount the rest of the year for yourself. (Merry Christmas to you!)

Price: There’s a huge range here. You can start with a wholesale member kit (these range from $150-$500) and then break apart the kit to make multiple gifts, or just purchase individual oils. (These range from $10-$90 each)

More info? Feel free to email me (jill(at)theprairiehomestead(dot)com if you need help deciding on options, or just comment below.

Click here for doTERRA essential oils

newdivider

 Permaculture Chickens Film

homemade chicken feed recipe

Have chickens? Want chickens? Need chickens? Considering chickens? Regardless of your answer, you need this  film. It’s so much more than a mere documentary. I’ve rarely seen anything so packed-full of actionable, useful information. In this 2.5 hour film, you’ll learn about creative feeding programs, how to lessen your workload by using chickens in the garden, appropriate housing options, how to humanely butcher, how to breed chickens, how to hatch chicks with a mother hen, and a TON more. You’ll hear sustainable chicken experts (like Joel Salatin) share their own ideas, and without question, you will feel completely inspired when it’s done.

 Jill’s Notes: I absolutely love anything that Justin creates– he has ideas and concepts not commonly seen elsewhere, and I always glean a new bit of info when I watch his videos. He’s even made a couple appearances here on the blog in the past– he’s the real deal.

Price: $49 for the digital download + bonuses. $97 for the physical DVD plus bonuses.

Click here to get the Permaculture Chickens Film

newdivider Harvest Right Home Freeze Dryer

screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-1-45-03-pm

You can read more about what I think about the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer in this post. The main aspects of the Harvest Right Home Freeze Dryer that piqued my interest were:

  • It is the ONLY freeze dryer on the market designed for home use. All other units are for commercial use, are ginormous, and cost tens of thousands of dollars.
  • Freeze dried food tastes better and lasts MUCH longer than canned, frozen, or dehydrated food.
  • You can easily freeze dry small quantities or portions– even things like leftover meals can be preserved, which has the potential to reduce a lot of food waste.
  • If freeze-dried food is a part of your emergency preparedness plan, in the long run you’ll save a whole bunch by doing it yourself, versus buying freeze-fried food.

home-freeze-dryer-review-10Read More: My Harvest Right Home Freeze Dryer Review

Price Point: $2500-$3000, depending on sales/coupons. I realize this is NOT a gift for everyone, but it could be a wonderful option if multiple families wanted to go in together, etc.

Visit the Harvest Right Website

newdivider

homestead-gift-guide-pin

The post 2016 Homestead Gift Guide appeared first on The Prairie Homestead.

]]>
http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2016/11/homestead-gift-guide-2016.html/feed 23
Cooking with Essential Oils http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2016/11/cooking-essential-oils.html http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2016/11/cooking-essential-oils.html#comments Thu, 10 Nov 2016 15:38:16 +0000 http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/?p=17555 This is a post I’ve REALLY wanted to write for a while, but I’ve been too afraid… Not because cooking with oils is scary, or even complicated, but rather because I know this can be controversial, and I didn’t feel like dealing with haters in the comments section. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it, […]

The post Cooking with Essential Oils appeared first on The Prairie Homestead.

]]>
cooking with essential oils guide

This is a post I’ve REALLY wanted to write for a while, but I’ve been too afraid…

Not because cooking with oils is scary, or even complicated, but rather because I know this can be controversial, and I didn’t feel like dealing with haters in the comments section. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it, but that’s the truth.

But I’ve decided to write this post anyway. Why? Because cooking with essential oils is something I really, truly do– not every day, but at least a couple times per month.  Having a stash of essential oils has been extremely helpful for me, not only as a homesteader who loves to cook, but also as someone who lives way too far from the grocery store to run in if I’m out of something last-minute. So yeah. I decided I’m not going to keep it to myself any longer.

Cooking with essential oils isn’t complicated in the slightest, and with just a few considerations in mind, I think you’ll find essential oils to be valuable addition to your kitchen cupboards. But first, a few notes:

Reasons You Might Cook with Essential Oils

Why not just use herbs, you ask? Well, I still use herbs in cooking– lots and lots of them. And in many cases, I actually prefer herbs over oils, as I have an easier time controlling flavor when using dried herbs. However, there are a couple times when I’m extremely happy to have essential oils on hand:

  • When I’m out of an herb — This happens more than I care to admit, and since we live around 40 minutes away from the closest grocery store, I can’t just run in to get something if I need it for a recipe. I frequently substitute essential oils for their herb counterparts if I’m out.
  • If a recipe calls for a slightly rare ingredient — I almost never have fresh limes on hand, nor do I ever have cilantro hanging out in my fridge. (For the life of me, I can’t get cilantro to grow in my garden…) However, I can still make my favorite pico de gallo salsa by substituting in lime and cilantro essential oils.
  • When I needed a concentrated pop of flavor — Essential oils are extremely concentrated. Sometimes a recipe really requires extra flavor, and for whatever reason, adding copious amounts of dried herbs won’t produce the same result.

homemade mint syrup recipe with homegrown mint

Safety of Cooking with Essential Oils

First off, I want to make it extremely clear this post is about cooking with essential oils, not ingesting essential oils in therapeutic doses. There is a big difference. I have a whole other set of opinions on the topic of ingesting essential oils for therapeutic purposes, but we will not be diving into that today. (And any comments attempting to open up that can of worms will be deleted.)

Secondly, whether you know it or not, you’ve already been eating essential oils. Scandalous, I know.

Herbs and citrus peels/zest contain essential oils (obviously– because that’s where essential oils come from) and food companies have been using oils as flavoring for a long time anyway. So essential oils in food is nothing new.

The other part of this story is dilution. When you are cooking with essential oils, you will be using a very teeny amount, usually “diluted” in a large quantity of food. This alone negates many of the debated safety concerns associated with ingesting essential oils.

For these reasons, I am comfortable cooking with oils and showing others how to do the same.

My biggest safety suggestion is if you’re cooking with an essential oil, make sure it is on the Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) list. Why? Because there are certain essential oils that you should avoid ingesting, due to the constituents they contain. (Wintergreen is one of these– because of it’s primary constituent, methyl salicylate. It’s best to avoid ingesting it, especially in substantial doses.)  

The brand of essential oils I use (d0TERRA) has the FDA Supplement Label printed on any oil that is on the GRAS list– that’s an easy way to know if it’s one you could feasibly cook with.

Please understand– just because an oil is on the GRAS list doesn’t mean you can chug a whole bottle of it without ill effects, nor does it mean the oil is “FDA-approved”. (There is no such thing as an FDA-approved essential oil.) It just means it is considered to be safe as a food additive.

Does Cooking Ruin Essential Oils?

I get this question a lot. My answer? No, yes, and I don’t know. How’s that? 🙂

We know that high temperatures can destroy some of the therapeutic benefits of essential oils, but even that is a bit fuzzy. However, even if some of the constituents of the oil are destroyed by heat, some will remain and will likely still give you the flavor you desire.

My suggestion? Use essential oils in cooking for flavor, and if you need oils for therapeutic reasons, use oils in a different format for that.

Because heat can decrease the flavor of an oil, I usually try to add oils to the recipe at the very end of cooking, if at all possible. However, I’ve made many a pan of brownies that still have a fantastic peppermint or orange flavor, even after 30 minutes of baking.

cooking with essential oils guide

Yes, Quality Matters!

I know you can get essential oils in the bargain bin at Walmart these days, and I even saw some on the clearance shelf at TJ Maxx the other day.

And no, you couldn’t pay me to ingest those. Or actually use them at all. Why? Because a bottle of oil can say “100% pure” all day long, and that means nothing. I recently saw testing results from some of the “bargain bin” oils, and it was scary. Their “100% pure” peppermint wasn’t real peppermint, their “100% pure” lavender wasn’t real lavender.

There’s a lot of deception that happens in the essential oil industry, and you better be darn sure the oils you’re using are truly pure before you start adding them to your recipes. Otherwise, who knows what you’re ingesting…

As many of you know, I’ve used doTERRA oils exclusively for 4+ years. I’ve been to some of the fields where the oils are grown. I know the owners. I’ve seen the process. Each batch of oil is stringently tested (at least 7 different tests by third-party labs) and  I’m confident in their commitment to purity. I TRUST this company, and for that reason, these are the only oils which I’ll use for cooking for otherwise.

Jill with doTERRA in Bulgaria, visiting a melissa (lemon balm) field
Jill with doTERRA in Bulgaria, visiting a melissa (lemon balm) field

How Much do I Use?

Eh, I wish there was an easy answer to this question, but I don’t have a tried-and-true formula for you because it really depends.

It depends on your recipe, your quantities, and the oil you are using.

However, my rule of thumb is this:

  • If you’re making a large bowl, pan, pot, or dish of something, start with ONE drop and go from there.
  • If you’re making a small serving or recipe, start with ONE toothpick* and go from there.

Start small, y’all. Always start small. Otherwise you’ll end up throwing a whole lotta food in the trash, because essential oils can easily overpower a recipe. Add one drop, taste, and then add more if you need to. I’ve found that usually one drop is plenty for a large mixing bowl of food, especially with the stronger oils like oregano or cilantro.

*Sometimes one full drop is too strong for a recipe, so I use a “toothpick”. Simply poke a clean toothpick into the bottle of essential oil, and the swirl the dipped toothpick into your recipe. 

how to cook with essential oils

Jill’s Top Ten Essential Oils for Cooking

  1. Lemon (for adding to any recipe that calls for lemon zest)
  2. Lime (for adding to marinades, salsa, tortilla soups, and any recipe that calls for lime juice or lime zest)
  3. Wild Orange (add to recipe that calls for orange zest, or mix with chocolate concoctions. Chocolate orange ice cream or brownies are heavenly.)
  4. Ginger (to replace fresh ginger in some recipes. I made my homemade chai concentrate with ginger oil the other day and it was perfect)
  5. Cardamom (makes amazing chai-flavored vanilla ice cream, or add to brownies for a twist)
  6. Peppermint (amazing in brownies, or anything chocolate!)
  7. Thyme (if a recipe calls for thyme and I’m out of the herb, I’ve substituted in thyme essential oil many times)
  8. Cumin (amazing in soups, tacos, or chili)
  9. Dill (add to homemade dressings and dips)
  10. Black Pepper (add to marinades or meats)

Other Notable Mentions:

  • Lavender
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Marjoram
  • Spearmint
  • Cinnamon Bark (just be careful with this one– it’s very strong)
  • Bergamot
  • Grapefruit
  • Oregano
  • Spearmint

Some of My Favorite Essential Oil Recipes:

how to roast a pastured turkey

Brine for Roasting a Turkey (add lemon and thyme oil)

pico de gallo recipe, fresh salsa

Homemade Pico de Gallo Salsa (add cilantro and lime oil )

homemade chai tea concentrate

Homemade Chai Concentrate (add cardamom and/or ginger oil)

honey caramel corn recipe

Homemade Caramel Corn (add cinnamon bark oil)

crock pot taco meat recipe

Crockpot Taco Meat (cumin oil)

homemade cranberry sauce recipe -- you won't believe how easy it is to make it yourself!

Homemade Cranberry Sauce (wild orange oil)

Other Essential Oil Posts

cooking with essential oils guide

The post Cooking with Essential Oils appeared first on The Prairie Homestead.

]]>
http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2016/11/cooking-essential-oils.html/feed 9