COOKING 101 - OILS
It is important that you understand which oils are the right one for the job. Understanding “smoke point” or when the oil will reach its burning point is essential. Once an oil is too hot or has gone beyond the smoke point it breaks down.
Here are the basic everyday heat levels we work with:
- Pan frying/ sauté on your stove top 120C (248F)
- Deep Frying 180 C (356 F)
- Baking Oven 180 C (355 F)
There are vast choices of oils for cooking, extra virgin, virgin, blend, infused, nut, seed, the list is extensive. I have chosen the most commonly available. Please note I am referring to refined oils here EVOO, commonly known as extra virgin olive oil. (good quality) 207 C/405 F
There are 4 commonly available grades of olive oil: EXTRA VIRGIN; VIRGIN; REFINED; POMACE
- EXTRA VIRGIN is the first pressing of fresh olives which should be done within 24 hours of harvest.
Extraction must be non chemical and zero heat applied, hence the term cold pressed.
- Acidity less than 0.8%
- Perfect taste and aroma
- VIRGIN also comes from the first pressing, a lesser grade with acidity up to 1.5%
- REFINED OLIVE OIL is a virgin oil that has been refined suing charcoal & chemical filters. Often a bit of virgin is added for taste. Price reflects quality.
- POMACE: It is a process where the solid remains of the olive (skin, pulp, seed and stems) are heated and combined with chemical solvents to produce an oil called pomace. The international olive oil council does not recognize this and has strongly recommended to avoid this nasty product.
Avocado oil 270C / 520C This is pressed from the flesh only and not the pit or skin. Low in acidity, great in high heat cooking, stir fry, deep fry, searing.
Canola oil 200C / 400F or Rapeseed oil, 2016 Canada exported 2.9 million tons making it the largest exporter in the world. Often genetically modified, it is used in lipstick, candles, ink and biodiesel.
Corn oil 230C / 440F is extracted from the germ of corn. Popular because it is less expensive than other vegetable oils. Its high smoke point is great for frying. It is also used for making soap, paint and is a feedstock for biodiesel.
Peanut oil 230C / 450F mild tasting with a high smoke point. It used to be the go to oil for frying because of its flat flavour. allergies and expense has minimized the popularity of peanut oil.
Rice Bran 230C / 450F extracted from the hard outer brown layer of rice. very high smoke point used in deep frying and stir fry. the go to oil in Japan, China & India
Sunflower 250C / 490F processed from the seeds of sunflowers. High smoke point and is used in cosmetics. Russian & Ukraine are the largest producers in the world.
Grapeseed 220C / 430F loved by chefs for its clean, light taste that imparts no flavour. fairly high smoke point so I like it for stir fry, curries and spicy dishes.
Sesame oil an essential oil in Asian cuisine. It comes roasted, the colour is dark brown & the aroma is that of peanut butter. the Indian version is cold pressed and pale. Must be refrigerated once opened or it will turn rancid within 2 weeks.
Coconut oil extracted from the meat of mature coconuts. High in saturated fats it is slow to oxidize lasting 6 months without refrigeration.
Macadamia nut oil
All nut oils should never be heated, their delicate flavour profile is lost and often the residual taste is bitter. It is very important that once opened they are refrigerated, or rancidity will set in. They will solidify, but 20 minutes at room temperature they return to liquid form. Will keep 8-10 refrigerated.
COOKING 101 - OILS