All cooking oils are different - with different tastes, smoke points, and recommended uses. Here are some dos and donts to remove the confusion.
Canola oil or safflower oil? Cold-pressed or chemically extracted? Refined or unrefined? These are just a few of the many options we have when browsing the cooking oil section at our local natural health food retailer.
Although it might be tempting to buy a giant jug of extra-virgin olive oil for everything from baking to frying, all oils are different—with different tastes, smoke points, and recommended uses.
To remove some of the confusion surrounding cooking oils, check out the following dos and don’ts.
DO use extra-virgin olive oil in salad dressings or for sautéing or grilling.
DON’T choose extra-light olive oil, which has been processed the most and has the least flavour. Instead, choose a high-quality extra-virgin olive oil.
DO use grapeseed oil for deep frying and baking, as it has a high smoke point and can withstand high heats. Also, grapeseed oil is excellent as a base for herb-infused salad dressings and marinades.
DON’T keep grapeseed oil in a kitchen cupboard like you would olive oil. Instead, refrigerate it for up to six months.
DO substitute equal amounts coconut oil for shortening in baking.
DON’T be afraid to cook with coconut oil, which, despite its categorization as a saturated fat, is bountiful with health benefits.
DO use canola oil for cooking or baking, as it has a neutral taste and high smoke point.
DON’T buy non-organic canola oil, as most non-organic canola oils are made from rapeseed that has been heavily sprayed and genetically modified.
DO use sesame oil in cold dishes such as salads, as sesame oil has a lower smoke point.
DON’T use too much sesame oil in dishes, as it has a strong, nutty flavour and may overpower the other elements of the dish.
See “Cooking Oils 101” to learn more about smoke points, and “Fat Gets a Bad Rap” for more information about the health benefits of coconut oil.
Men’s health across the life course
Theodore D. Cosco, PhD (Cantab) CPsychol