Frying, grilling, sautéing, deep-frying. Canola, olive, coconut, sunflower. With the endless options of oils, and the endless options for cooking. It’s hard to know what’s the best to use and when.
We talk about ‘smoke point’, but what does this mean? Smoke point is an oil ‘burning’, at what point (temperature) the fat starts to break down and free-radicals occur. So we want to make sure we’re using the right oil, for the right method.
Different oils reach different temperatures. Huffington Post explains quite succinctly, that unrefined oils have lower smoke points and stronger flavours than refined oils, which make them suitable for salad dressings. Refined oils have higher smoke points and more neutral flavours, making them ideal for frying.
Ultimately, we should be buying organic, unrefined, cold-pressed vegetable oils. Meaning maximum flavour, and minimal processing. Extra virgin olive oil is best for use in salads, raw desserts, baking and other low temperature uses – as are all oils, except most tend to lack flavour and a nice breakdown of omega 3, 6 & 9. For a more detailed list of oils, fats, and options, see Jon Barron’s post.
Coconut oil is great for baking, salad dressings, light frying – but it’s relatively low smoke point means it should be avoided for deep-frying. Which is where regular olive or avocado oil comes to the party.
Yours in Knowledge,