My Top Ten

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cooking Oils 101

There are several oils with which one can use to cook. But I tend to stick to three oils + butter for all of my cooking & baking: organic canola, organic olive, organic grapeseed, organic coconut and of course organic butter.

I will break down each oil with it's smoke point, recommended uses, and nutritional properties. The smoke point is the point at which the oil will begin to smoke and break down, imparting a burnt taste to your food.

Oil                                   Smoke Point :degrees F        

Grapeseed                      485                           
baking, sautee, frying
Grapeseed oil has antioxidants; vitamins C & E, beta carotine, and omegas 3,6 & 9.
Grapeseed oil has a neutral taste. With it's high smoke point and mild flavor, it is (in my humble opinion) an all-around excellent oil to have on hand.

Olive                               375-405                  
sautee, dressings, marinades, sauces
Olive oil helps regulate blood pressure, aids in digestion, nourishes the skin & hair, contains fatty acids for brain support, and is good for the bones as it's rich in calcium.
I love olive oil for fried eggs, sauteed and oven-roasted vegetables and drizzling over salad greens.

Organic Canola             400                           
sautee, bake, fry
Canola, also known as rapeseed oil, but who would want to purchase it with a name like that?
Canola is full of vitamin E, low in saturated fat, and contains higher amounts of fatty acids Omega 3 and 6 than olive oil. It's high smoke point results in lower amounts of oils absorbed into fried foods. Fried foods are typically fried at 365 degrees, well below Canola's smoke point.

Coconut                          350                           
baking, light sautee
Coconut is bad to the bone, seriously. Dr. Mercola says it is the healthiest oil you can use. It supports your immune system and metabolism, nourishes your skin, provides a steady energy source, promotes heart health and weight loss, and the list goes on.
Coconut is fun for baking & homemade granolas. I highly recommend you try it the next time you make fresh stove-popped *popcorn. Yes, people still do this and it's good old fashioned fun! Give it a try.

*Organic corn kernels are a must. Otherwise, I will have encouraged you to eat genetically modified popcorn. And you would've made it all fresh, with TLC, and fed it to your family in good faith that Lish said this tasty and healthy, here sweet innocent children, eat, eat, eat! Nope. Don't want that on my conscience. Just, please purchase organic corn kernels. Thank you.

Organic Butter              350                            
baking, or anything really; in the words of Dear Julia"you can never have too much butter. Bon appetit!"
Butter is full of vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids.

Why did I specifically list canola and butter as "organic"? That would be because conventional canola and butter are significantly contaminated with toxins. Please read on....
If you are purchasing an imported oil, it is most likely of high quality and will not be genetically modified, especially when it's country of origin is somewhere in Europe - France, Spain, Italy, or the Mediterranean. This applies largely to olive oil, but in the instance of canola oil, this is not the case. Most canola oil for the world is grown in the USA and Canada. A very important side note concerning canola oil: purchase organic canola oil or you will most likely be cooking with a Genetically Modified Canola oil; 80% of the canola crop in North America is genetically modified. Largely grown in North Dakota, GM canola has spread 'into the wild' and has begun growing as a weed along the sides of highways. On a similar note, organic butter is highly recommended to avoid consumption of Bovine growth hormone.

Other oils I have used in the past and enjoyed include: high-oelic sunflower, safflower and avocado.
These are all great oils as well, just a bit more pricey. All of these oils have a high smoke point and can be used for cooking/frying and are nutritionally excellent choices.

1 comment: