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WHAT COOKING OIL SHOULD YOU BE USING?

WHAT COOKING OIL SHOULD YOU BE USING?

Cooking oil is a staple in even the most basic of store cupboards. We use it to add flavour, to get the right texture and to cook more quickly. It also stops food sticking to the pan – really, who needs that kind of washing-up? 

The choice in the supermarket can be overwhelming. Here’s the low down on the right oil for the job.

WHAT ARE ALL THOSE OILS?

Generic vegetable oil is made from a mix of seeds and grains. UK labels do not have to specify what is used, but common ingredients are rapeseed, canola (a modified relative), sunflower and soya. You can also buy specific oils with just one ingredient. That’s olive oil, groundnut oil, sunflower and so on.

Oil or fat? Solidity at room temperature indicates lots of saturated fat, which isn’t good for your heart. Go easy on the butter, coconut ‘oil’ (a paste) and so on. Liquid fats are healthier.

SHOULD I LET OIL SMOKE?

Despite what grandma did, it is now recommended that you don’t let oil get to smoking point. As well as a nasty burnt taste, you risk toxic fumes and excess free radicals. And a smelly kitchen.

SO WHICH IS THE RIGHT COOKING OIL?

It depends what you are doing! As long as you stay below the smoke point, you can use whichever oil you prefer. Extra-virgin olive oil as a low smoke point, so is best for drizzling or light frying. Refined olive oil, sunflower, peanut and soybean all have the same smoke point (232 centigrade) and are fine for stir-fries and most cooking.  If you are deep-frying (really?) then you need oil with a high smoke point.  Might be best to leave that one to the professionals at the chip shop!

Final thought – if you have excess oil remember that it goes in a container and in the bin. Don’t build a fatberg by putting it down the sink!

Photo by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash

the author

Jessica Ambrose

Jessica is a fitness writer who loves long distance running, yoga, strength training and healthy eating.

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