Oils--Which One to Choose

 

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Have you ever been overwhelmed by the oil aisle? The sheer number of options to choose from can lead to confusion. Often times, we will simply chose the most intriguing bottle or the one with the best price.

Here are a few things to know when choosing the right cooking oil.

First of all, we should understand that oils are extracted from nuts and seeds through mechanical crushing and pressing. The word “virgin” that we see on so many products means that this oil was bottled immediately after pressing or was cold-pressed raw (some are pressed with heat and that compromises some nutrients). Thus, virgin oils retain their natural flavor and color. These oils are also rich with minerals, enzymes and other healthy compounds; however, these oils don't work as well with high temperature cooking and are more susceptible to rancidity.

Second, when choosing cooking oil, the temperature at which the oil begins to smoke should be considered. This is called the “smoke point”. Using the appropriate oil for the temperature desired is important because it will add the greatest flavor to your dish and also provide the most health benefits. When oil is heated beyond its smoke point, nutrients can be damaged to the point of even becoming harmful. Below is a basic guide on what oil to use for various cooking methods/temperatures.
 

Oils for Cooking Styles

High Smoke Point

Medium Smoke Point

Low Smoke Point  


For searing browning and deep frying


For baking, oven cooking or stir frying

 


For Light Sautéing

Almond, avocado, hazelnut, sunflower

 

Canola, grape seed, extra virgin olive oil, peanut oil

Corn sesame, soybean and coconut oils

 

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