Oils are one of the most essential cooking ingredient. More than 60% of foods are cooked with oils, making it a very important kitchen supply. It is important to note that not all types of oils are suitable for cooking. Some are healthier than others and it is paramount to have a knowledge of cooking oils to enable you make the right choice of oil to cook with.
There are varieties of oils made from plant sources, they include;
- Corn oil
- Canola oil
- Olive oil
- Soybean oil
- Sunflower oil
- Coconut oil
- Rapeseed oil etc.
The healthiest oils for cooking are;
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Virgin olive oil is high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and they provide a good flavour to foods. Extra virgin olive oil has a relatively low smoke point of 325°F-327°F, so avoid using it to fry foods at temperature above the smoke point.
- Canola Oil
Canola oil has a high smoke point and a neutral flavour which makes it an excellent choice for cooking. This is because the high smoke point permits it to be used for cooking at high temperatures without having effect on the health qualities. Canola oil is also low in saturated fats and can be used for roasting, frying, and baking. However, because of the neutral taste, it does not add much flavour to your food, so it is not recommended for use in salad dressing.
- Peanut Oil
Peanut oil is one of the most flavourful oils. It gives food a peanut flavour and is recommended to be added to peanut butter cookies. It also has a high smoke point, low in saturated and it is chemically processed.
- Safflower Oil
Safflower oil is low in saturated fats and is high in omega-9 fatty acids. It has a neutral flavour and a high smoke point. Safflower oil has the highest smoke point among vegetable oils, making it the most suitable for frying and roasting. Because of its neutral flavour, it is not recommended for salad dressings.
- Sesame Oil
Sesame oil is also another highly flavourful oil. Sesame oil adds so much to a dish and is a great alternative to peanut oil especially for people who have peanut allergy. Sesame oil is a cold pressed oil like extra virgin olive oil. Although it does not have a very high smoke point, it is a good unrefined option.
- Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseed oil is very high in omega-3 fatty acids and can be an alternative for people who do not take omega-3 rich fish. It doesn’t have a high smoke point but can be used as a salad dressing. Buy small bottle so you can use it up quickly as the shelf life is low.
- Pure Olive Oil
Although extra virgin olive oil gets more attention than pure olive oil, but pure olive oil contains many of the same health boosting properties. Pure olive oil has a higher smoke point than extra virgin olive oil and is more ideal for cooking at very high temperatures. Pure olive oil can also be used in baking. It has an over powering flavour, so be careful not to use too much of it.
- Corn Oil
Corn oil is mostly used in refined form. Refined corn oil is often used in frying because of its high smoke point. It has a neutral flavour and is frequently used in commercial kitchens because it is affordable.
- Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil is light in colour and has neutral flavour. It has high concentrations of polyunsaturated fat and supplies some monounsaturated fat. It is low in saturated fat which makes it a heart healthy option. Sunflower oil is a good all-purpose oil because it can with stand high cooking temperatures.
- Soybean Oil
Soybean oil is the most common type of vegetable oil. It is primarily a polyunsaturated oil with 61% polyunsaturated fat, 24% monounsaturated fat and 15% saturated fat. Soybean oil contains omega-3 fat which makes it a heart-healthy oil. It has a neutral flavour and is an all purpose oil for frying and salad dressings.
Make the right choice in selecting your cooking oils to enable you achieve a healthy cooking plan and also please your taste buds.