• Cooking Oils

Everything you need to know about Cooking Oils

Unfiltered, cold-pressed, extra virgin, dark, light….There are so many types of cooking oils on the shelves of supermarket. They are all extracted from various types of plants, nuts, or seeds and have different color and flavor characteristics. Some of them bring indispensable flavor to the dish; others can destroy the taste because of the wrong usage. That’s why, it’s not the best idea to use the same oil for salad dressing, sautéing, and deep frying. With those in mind, we prepared this guide to help you learn a few basic rules that will teach you how to get best from you cooking oils.

How to store

One of the most important things is that any cooking oil can not be stored in a warm place. Some oils need to be refrigerated; others can be placed in a dark, cool place away from stove or heater. Incorrectly stored oil can quickly break down. No, rancid oil is not a pure poison, but it can become a reason of different diseases. Therefore, it is extremely important to pay attention what you’re cooking with. Store your oils in an appropriate place, and always check how long they can serve you.

What is smoke point

Another simple and important fact: all cooking oils have a smoke point that indicates the temperature at which oil starts to smoke and break down. That means that if you know the smoke point – you’ll never misuse it.

Refined & Unrefined Oils

Unrefined (virgin, or pure) oils are filtered lightly after extraction just to remove plant particles. This process leaves original flavor: unrefined oils are usually rich in taste and can change your dish significantly. As a result of a very light processing, oils of this type are less stable and have a low smoke point. Thus, unrefined oils are better for low-temperature cooking or no heating at all.

In contrast, refined oils are more thoroughly filtered and strained, which makes the flavor less intense and increases the smoke point. Consequently, refined oils are good for high-temperature cooking and for dishes that require a neutral oil flavor.

Cooking Oils - Sesame Oil

Temperature Guide:

high temperature: For high heat cooking, such as deep frying, use only refined oils with a high smoke point like Avocado, Canola, Sunflower or Safflower oil.

medium temperature: better to use refined oils like Coconut, Grapeseed and Corn.

low temperature: you can cook with unrefined oils but do not overheat it, refined oils will work great here. Good examples: virgin Coconut, unrefined Grapeseed or refined Corn Oil.

no heat: use both refined and unrefined oils keeping in mind that unrefined oils have intense flavor and refined are much more mild. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Unrefined Sesame Oil, Peanut Oil and Walnut oil are good for marinades, dressings and sauces.

Olive Oil

Shelf life: 2-3 years at room temperature.

Extra-virgin Olive Oil

Smoke point: 374°F (190°C)

Good for: Dressings, drizzling and finishing dishes.

Flavor: Have wide range of flavor characteristics, but most frequently described as fresh, fruity, and faintly bitter.

Refined Olive Oil

Smoke point: 437°F (225°C)

Good for: Sautéing, medium high temperature baking, sauces, dressings.

Flavor: Neutral flavor.

Cooking Oils - Olive Oil

Coconut Oil

Shelf life: 2 years at room temperature.

Unrefined coconut oil

Smoke point: 351°F (177°C)

Good for: Baking, sautéing, frostings.

Flavor: This oil has sweet, nutty, tropical flavor.

Refined coconut oil

Smoke point: 450°F (232°C)

Good for: Baking and cooking.

Flavor: Mild coconut flavor.

Cooking Oils - Coconut Oil

Canola Oil

Shelf life: 1 year at room temperature.

Unrefined canola oil

Smoke point: 225°F (107°C)

Good for: Do not use this oil for heating, good for salad dressings, drizzling and finishing dishes.

Flavor: Grassy, with a hint of pepper.

Refined canola oil

Smoke point: 400°F (204°C)

Good for: Frying, light sautéing, low heat baking, sauces, salad dressings.

Flavor: Neutral flavor.

Grapeseed Oil

Shelf life: 6 months, keep refrigerated.

Refined Grapeseed Oil

Smoke point: 399°F (204°C)

Good for: Due to the polyunsaturated fats grapeseed oil tends to break down quickly under the influence of high temperatures. Therefore,it is better for medium temperature cooking methods, such as sautéing. Also, grapeseed oil is extremely good in dressings and homemade mayonnaise.

Flavor: Clean, neutral taste.

Sunflower Oil

Shelf life: 2 years at room temperature.

Unrefined sunflower oil

Smoke point: 225°F (107°C)

Good for: Use for dressings and marinades.

Flavor: Strong sunflower flavor with nutty notes.

Refined sunflower oil

Smoke point: 475°F (246°C)

Good for: Baking, frying, deep frying, dressings, marinades, finishing.

Flavor: Neutral with a hint of raw sunflower seeds.

Safflower Oil

Shelf life: 1-2 years, keep refrigerated.

Unrefined Safflower Oil

Smoke point: 225°F (107°C)

Good for: Dressings, drizzling, finishing dishes.

Flavor: Strong, unique flavor, mild nutty.

Refined Safflower Oil

Smoke point: 509°F (265°C)

Good for: Frying, deep frying, searing, grilling, stir frying, dressings.

Flavor: Has a mild flavor.

About Cooking Oils

Vegetable Oil

Shelf life: 1 year at room temperature.

Refined vegetable oil

Smoke point: 460°F (238°C)

Good for: High-temperature cooking, frying, deep frying, baking.

Flavor: Flavorless.

Avocado Oil

Shelf life: 1 year, keep refrigerated.

Unrefined avocado oil

Smoke point: 470°F (243°C)

Good for: Salad dressings, light sautés, pasta dishes, drizzling.

Flavor: Has distinct buttery flavor.

Refined avocado oil

Smoke point: 520°F (271°C)

Good for: Frying, sautéing, baking, dressings

Flavor: Neutral.

Peanut Oil

Shelf life: 3 years at room temperature.

Unrefined peanut oil

Smoke point: 320°F (160°C)

Good for: Use for dressings, marinades, sauces and drizzling.

Flavor: Strong peanut flavor.

Refined peanut oil

Smoke point: 448°F (231°C)

Good for: Can be used for baking, crisp sautéing, frying, stir frying and oven cooking, roasting, grilling.

Flavor: Mild nutty flavor.

These simple tips will elevate your cooking skills and make you a better cook. Use your new knowledge and don’t afraid to experiment. Oils can become a perfect finish and will add a unique flavor that complements any dish.

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