Deciding what oil to use for cooking doesn’t need to be a challenge. Follow these simple rules to figure out what oil to use.
1. Olive Oil
Used for thousands of years, olive oil is one of the most popular oils in the food cooking bible. Created by crushing olives, the paste leftover is stirred to release oil droplets and then spun in a centrifuge to separate the water from the end result of olive oil.
To keep it simple unrefined (labels will say pure olive oil or just olive oil) involves solvents and high heat to neutralize the taste of the oil. This can mean the olives used are not of the best quality. Unrefined (virgin or extra virgin) is carefully created using olives in good condition as this form is not chemically altered. Extra virgin olive oil holds the most nutrients out of the different types.
Olive oil has a smoking point of 160 degrees Celsius and is best when drizzled into a salad and cooked at a low to medium heat.
2. Coconut Oil
When you buy coconut oil, you may be surprised to find that it’s solid rather than liquified. Melted, this oil releases an aromatic coconut scent and flavour. If you’re deciding whether to buy unrefined or refined coconut oil, remember unrefined is best for baking or sweating and refined is suited to high heat cooking. Deep frying is not recommended with either type.
Rich in lauric acid (fatty acid) this oil can improve cholesterol and aid in killing bacteria and other pathogens (disease causing germs).
Coconut oil is a great choice for vegans to replace dairy in many recipes and can be used for those with lactose intolerance.
3. Sunflower Oil
If you are looking to fry some food or cook with high temperatures, sunflower oil is the choice for you. Try looking for high oleic oil, as it is high in monounsaturated fats and limited in trans fats, plus it is high in antioxidant vitamin E.
Again, the option of refined and unrefined is to be decided. Refined sunflower oil is suitable for high-temperature cooking, due to the stabilisation using solvent as a neutralizer. Where as unrefined is less heat-stable but contains more of the original flavour’s so it is perfect for creating salad dressings.