When you cook with oils, there are so many different ones to choose from. The thing is, there are a few factors to consider when you put an oil on high heat. You want the cooking oil to stay stable when it is heated, so that it doesn’t oxidise. Then it would go off really easily. You don’t want to ingest that kind of thing.
I often see in different recipes that they suggest use of all different cooking oils. I ahem often just used what we’ve had in the cupboard. But all oils are not created equal. They all have different benefits and react differently to heat. So I’m going to share with you some information about cooking oils, so you can choose the right one to use for certain things.
Olive oil is one of the most common oils that you will hear of or find in the shops. It has been well known for a while for it’s benefits with heart health. Just look at those on a diet full of olive oil (think Greece and Cyprus) and how well and healthy they are as a result. If you can, choose extra virgin olive oil. It will be better for you (more nutrients and antioxidants) than a refined ‘just’ olive oil. I don’t know about you but the taste is better with the former too.
Coconut oil is all the rage at the moment. But is it worth the hype? In a word, yes! In terms of how it reacts with heat it is anyway. Nearly all of the fats in coconut oil are saturated, which makes them pretty resistant to heat. It also keep really well as it stores as a soft solid at room temperature. So much less chance of it going off or rancid anytime soon. But as it is full of saturated fats, isn’t that bad? Saturated fats, in this form, have been found to be a good source of energy. Which is why you might find coconut oil in many energy ball recipes, for instance. The fats that are in can coconut oil can boost metabolism slightly and give you the feeling of being full. It can help to lower cholesterol and help your body fight off disease. So don’t be out off from the word ‘fat’.
Seed oils like rapeseed oil, are a lighter option than either of the above. They can be used cold on dressings, as well as heated. It is a safe oil to heat, as when it is heated to a high temperature, it doesn’t spoil its antioxidants or the colour or flavour. They tend to be pretty high in omega oils, so they are a good option for a healthy heart, brain and joints.
I do like the taste of many nut oils that are on the market. The thing with them, though, is that they are quite high in polyunsaturated fats. So when they are heated, they don’t stay very stable. This can make them go off and not be a great choice for cooking with. They are great to use cold with salads or in baking, for instance. If you really need to use them heated, then just make sure that you use a low temperature.
Keep you oils in a cool and dark place. Light and heat are the things that can make them go rancid. So unless you use up a lot of oil at a time, I’d avoid buying your oils in bulk. If they ar just left alone for a while, it means a great risk of them going off or rancid.
Hope this little guide is useful to you!