What Cooking Oil Should I Use?

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Today’s This and That question is…what cooking oil should I use?

Selecting the right oil depends on your purpose and the characteristics of the oil. Some have stronger flavors and some tolerate heat better. The ones that tolerate heat are best for high heat cooking. They all have health attributes. Oils are rich in calories and help increase absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients that become building blocks for cell membranes and hormones. They help us feel satisfied after the meal and they taste good!

Grapeseed oil is light in color and flavor, with a mild, slightly nutty taste that blends well with other flavors. It tolerates heat well, so you can use it in frying or other high-heat cooking methods. It emulsifies well, meaning it won’t separate as quickly as other oils, so it can be a good choice for salad dressing and sauces.

Coconut oil, solid at room temperature, is good in baked goods, and some people use it as a butter substitute. It has a mellow, slightly coconut-y flavor and may boost metabolism, helping in weight loss.

Peanut oil has a wide variety of uses because of its overall neutrality. It’s good for frying, but goes rancid quickly, so it can’t be stored for too long.

Sunflower oil, with its light taste and appearance, is a versatile ingredient. It stands up well to heat, working well in low and high heat situations. Great all purpose oil.

Soybean oil has a neutral taste and is often used for frying and for other high-heat methods of cooking.

Safflower oil stands up well to searing, browning and deep-frying.

Walnut oil has a nice nutty flavor that works great as a salad dressing, or flavor enhancer. It’s not so good for heat situations.

Sesame oil, popular in Asian dishes, has a very distinct flavor, is good for light sautéing, sauces and low-heat baking. The darker the oil, the stronger the flavor.

Canola oil is one of the most neutral flavor options among all oils, making it extremely versatile. It tolerates a medium amount of heat making it good for baking and stir-fry.

If you are obsessed with avocado, you can get avocado oil! Very healthy. It can be used in salads or for searing or browning foods.

Flaxseed has become more and more popular as a superfood recently. Flaxseed oil doesn’t tolerate heat well, so save it for salads and grain dishes.

Olive oil is one of the most popular oils around the world, ideal for high-heat cooking as well as vinaigrette. The darker, extra virgin olive oil has more flavor and is less tolerant of heat. Depending on the olives used, olive oil can have many different flavors.

Corn oil is often used in frying, has a neutral flavor, and is used frequently in commercial kitchens, since it is less expensive.

“Vegetable oil,” a blend of many different refined oils, is neutral tasting and smelling, and tolerates heat well. It doesn’t add much flavor, so it’s good for high heat cooking and frying.

Stay tuned! More to come!