A dear friend of mine recently emailed me stating she was looking into cooking oils, what options there are and what would be best for different purposes. I emailed her a quick reply with what we use, but I thought maybe there are others out there who have the same questions….
So if you have a question… ask. Maybe it will become post of it’s own! 😉
Cooking oil options… well there are literally 1000s but I’ll try to narrow it down to what is cheaper, healthier and more accessible!
First I’ll explain what we use…I would say we use the most of bacon grease or leftover oil from pork sausage (AKA lard). I use this mostly for stir frys, sauteing veggies, or frying eggs. It adds a spectacular flavor and you’d be amazed what veggies kids will try if you tell them it has bacon grease on it! At least mine will!!!! Besides when we start to run low, it’s a GREAT excuse to fry up some more bacon! These fats are extremely healthful, it isn’t prone to rancidity and it also contains vit D and other vitamins if the pigs have had healthy diets.
Next we use coconut oil. I used to use this for EVERYTHING including on toast, baking, frying eggs… but it got expensive and we were going through it rather quickly. I LOVE the health benefits of it (addressed in a different post) and how easy it is to use as a substitute in most recipes, but I’ve decided to cut back on it a little. Sometimes I do add it to smoothies to add a little sweetness and flavor, heft and substance for little boys who, I sear, say they are hungry every 10 minutes! (Can’t wait for the teenage years!)
Lastly, the oils I use sparingly are olive oil, [amazon_link id=”B0002YB21A” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]sesame oil[/amazon_link] and very occasionally [amazon_link id=”B004P4S22A” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]peanut oil[/amazon_link]. Olive oil I use when making salad dressings, fermented mayonnaise, or for dips. This oil should never be cooked at high temperatures.
“Extra virgin olive oil is also rich in antioxidants. It should be cloudy indicating it has not been filtered, and have a golden yellow color indicating it that it is made from fully ripened olives.”
[amazon_link id=”0967089735″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Nourishing Traditions[/amazon_link], page 19.
Sesame and peanut I use very occasionally for Asian flavored dressings or in a stirfry. Both of these oils have a higher omega-6 content than omega-3 so they shouldn’t be used a lot, but small amounts is fine.
Other fats and oils I’ll like to try include goose or duck fat, and tallow (beef or lamb fat). I have used tallow in the past, but that I had purchased at the grocery and I’m sure the quality was very poor. I know there is a butcher not far from us where I could purchase some of these, but I’d have to research the quality there as well.
Other oils that I would be open trying that I feel have a lot of benefits include [amazon_link id=”B002VLZ81M” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]flax seed oil[/amazon_link] since it has a lot of both omegas in it. The only drawback is that it easily goes rancid, and it should only be eaten in very small amounts and it should never be heated. I’m sure I could use it in dressings to sub out some of the olive oil. One day I’ll give it a try! The other oil I’m most interested in is [amazon_link id=”B000W2WC9I” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]palm oil or shortening[/amazon_link]. It doesn’t go rancid very easily, has high levels of lauric acid (provides strong antifungal and antimicrobial properties similar to coconut oil), and it doesn’t contribute to heart disease. I would count it in the same family as coconut oil since it is a tropical oil and much of the properties and health benefits are very similar.
Other oils that I have purged from the kitchen never to return again is any type of margarine, canola oil, or rape seed oil. Sally Fallon of [amazon_link id=”0967089735″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Nourishing Traditions[/amazon_link] states that safflower, corn, sunflower, soybean and cottonseed oils have an unhealthy, oversaturation of omega-6 and not enough omega-3. These oils she recommends be strictly limited, never be heated and should only consume cold pressed versions, which are almost impossible to find.
I hope you’ve found this information helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions and I’ll try my best to answer them! Happy cooking and baking!