By Stephanie Olsen, Wellness Coordinator
Certified Holistic Nutritionist
It’s important to choose the best oil for your specific cooking needs, especially when using high heat. Heat damages oils along with light and air, which is called oxidation. This process begins the formation of free radicals which are harmful compounds that are known to cause cancer. We definitely don’t want to ingest those! That’s why it’s best to choose oils with a high smoke point for higher heat cooking purposes. Oils made from nuts and seeds are best in their raw state and should not be heated at all. These cold-pressed/virgin/raw oils are extracted through pressing and crushing. Other common oils such as canola, vegetable, and peanut are highly processed and refined using methods like bleaching, filtering, and high-temperature heating which removes minerals and enzymes in order to make the oil more stable. Try using one of the below options for the most delicious and nutritious cooking oils for your holiday menus this season:
Ghee is clarified butter. The milk solids are removed which makes it low in lactose and highly stable. Ghee is great for cooking eggs, sautéing veggies, and browning meat.
Coconut oil is made of medium chain triglycerides which are absorbed more quickly in the body which makes it a great fuel source for the body and easier to digest. It also contains a property that makes it anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral! Great for stir fry’s, baking, sautéing, and for cooking and melting over popcorn!
Lard is made from animal fat and is used more often in traditional cooking rather than day to day. Although it is not used as commonly now a days, it’s a great choice for cooking. Lard is highly stable and nutritious. Great for baking and roasting vegetables as it helps them stay crisp and delicious!
Butter is not as stable as it has a lower smoke point than coconut oil, ghee, and lard so it’s best to use the above choices for higher heat cooking. Butter is still great for recipes that use lower heat such as meals made in the crock pot. It’s also wonderful stirred into soups and grain dishes or melted on top of meat, fish, and veggies.
Although olive oil is the most common cooking oil called for in recipes, it’s actually much better to reserve it for use in its raw/cold state. It’s best to choose unrefined, cold pressed olive oil and it is much more sensitive to light, heat, and air than the above choices. Use it drizzled over salads, fish, veggies, and in recipes that call for low heat cooking.
- Buy olive oil in dark glass containers or wrap lighter containers in foil
- Store in a cool and dry place (away from light & heat)
- Do not store above or next to the oven/stove as it is one of the warmer places in your kitchen and can contribute to rancidity
- Ghee and coconut oil can be stored at room temperature