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Warnings About Buying and Storing Cooking Oils: 8 Tips
About Buying and Storing Cooking Oils
Cooking oils, also known as culinary oils, include such oils as corn oil, olive oil, avocado oil, peanut oil, and much more. All are easily found everywhere now, not just in fancy gourmet shops or ethnic shops. I can find every type of cooking oil imaginable at my local supermarket.
Some of these oils are used for deep frying, while others may be used for sauteeing or to add flavor to a special salad dressing.
But buying too much oil and not storing it properly is not only wasteful, but more importantly, harmful to your health. There are steps you can take to prevent this.
1- Buy just what you need -
Wine may improve with age but oil does not. Therefore, it is always best to buy in small sizes if you only use a little at a time. However, if you use a lot and purchase in bulk, then plan to take out what you need and put it in a small container. The best materials to use for this small container are stainless steel, tinted glass or porcelain.
2 - Avoid plastic -
Never buy or store your oil in a plastic container. A plastic container can easily absorb PVCs - which are polyvinyl chlorides. A range of toxic chemicals - plasticizers - may have been added to the plastic containers. These chemicals, known as phthalates and adipates, can leak from PVC and into your oil.
Note: While shopping, I grabbed a small bottle of olive oil I had purchased on previous occasions. I didn't realize this hard little bottle was now made of plastic. The difference in taste was immediately noticeable. Not palatable at all.
3 - Store properly -
Often we may store an oil right over the stove so we can grab it when we're cooking. It is best, however, to store oils in a kitchen cabinet far away from the stove and other heat sources. Do not let oil sit on the kitchen counter where it is regularly exposed to indoor light and keep it away from sunlight. This is especially true of olive oil. Most other oils you can store in the refrigerator or in a dry cool place. Additional information should be on the label.
Some oils may thicken or turn cloudy, but if you let them sit at room temperature for a while they will usually return to their natural state. Some may even solidify like coconut oil. This happens to me only during cold weather so I just use it in its solid state.
4 - Oils do have an expiration date -
Oils higher in polyunsaturated fats will keep for about six months. These oils include corn oil (62% polyunsaturated fat), flaxseed oil (72%), sesame seed oil (77%) and hemp seed oil (80%).
Oils higher in mono unsaturated fats will keep for up to a year. These oils include extra virgin olive oil (69% mono unsaturated fat) almond oil (73%), hazelnut oil (76%) and macadamia nut oil (85%).
Note: Unsaturated fats are fats that come from plant sources.
5 - Preventing rancidity -
If you keep oils too long they will not only lose most of their nutritional value, they will also turn rancid. Other causes of rancidity include exposure to air, light and heat. You'll notice the bad smell and taste. Throw it away because it has now become the worst kind of fat for you to eat.
A problem of course is not knowing how long an oil has been sitting on a supermarket shelf. Another reason why it makes sense to buy in small quantities and use quickly.
6 - Smoke points -
The smoke point is when the cooking oil produces a bluish smoke. All the oils have a smoke point and you should not heat an oil beyond this temperature because it is now creating free fatty acids and glycerol. Glycerol is further broken down producing acrolein which causes irritation to the throat and eyes. Both flavor and nutrition begin to degrade. If you are planning on deep frying, which is done at a high temperature, select an oil that has a high smoke point.
For example, refined corn oil, a common choice for deep frying, has a smoke point of 450 degree F. and 232 degrees C. Others for frying include refined peanut oil (450 F/235 C), refined coconut oil (450 F/232 C) and avocado oil (520 F/271 C).
if you heat an oil for too long it will quickly decompose.Try not to preheat oil any longer than necessary. if you're frying food and must keep adding more food to the oil for frying, try to do so as quickly as possible. Then turn off the heat as soon as you're finished frying.
7 - Reusing oil -
if you're planning to reuse the oil, let it cool and then pour it through a sieve into a clean bottle. Do not mix used oil with unused oil. If the oil has reached its smoke point throw it away.
8 - Discarding oil -
Do not pour hot oil down your kitchen drain. Wait until it has cooled and pour it into a container and then throw it away.
For information about oils for cooking, food preparation and more, see the links below:
Recommended Reading About Cooking OIls
- Healthy Oils: 5 Fruit Oils
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- Healthy Oils: 9 Nut and Seed Oils
We need fat in our diet and healthy oils are one way to add them. Consider nut and seed oils which all have different uses and benefits.
Information About Culinary Oils and More
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