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October’s 31 Days of Real Food-Day 25

by Olivia Furlow

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Day 25-Healthy cooking oils/fats!

 

1. Butter

My favorite one 🙂 Make sure your butter is good quality grass fed butter. Organic raw grassfed butter is the best option. Organic Valley pasture butter is a great option too. Kerrygold butter is also a good choice.

2. Ghee (Clarified Butter)

Ghee is when the milk solids have been removed, this means that casein and lactose, the elements in dairy that many people are sensitive to, have been removed. Often, those with dairy sensitivities can tolerate ghee. The removal of the milk solids also allows you to use ghee at a higher temperature (up to 485°).

I use ghee for any cooking in a skillet like stir frys, scrambled eggs, sauteed veggies, etc.

Buy organic, grass-fed ghee

2. Coconut oil

Raw virgin coconut oil is best used in low temperature cooking or baking. Refined coconut oil has a higher smoke point and less of a coconut flavor, but has less health benefits than raw coconut oil. Refined coconut oil is still a good option for occasional high heat cooking like frying. When looking for coconut oil make sure that it is not hydrogenated or treated with hexane.

Coconut oil is hard at room temperature because it’s an incredible stable oil that can change temperatures without causing potential harmful effects like oils that remain liquid at room temperature. Which is why you don’t need to keep coconut oil in the fridge or it will become hard as a rock!

Coconut oil will hold up in baking, cooking, and is excellent to coat your pans with. When choosing coconut oil at the store, try to select those that are made by organic or fair-trade companies since many food producers have latched onto this oil’s popularity and sourced coconut from unsustainable, unreliable sources for profit.

3. Olive oil

Olive oil has been a long-time favorite oil to cook with for many people all over the world. But we’re starting to learn that food producers are taking advantage of this oil’s well-known benefits and popularity by diluting olive oils with vegetable oils that are cheap and rancid. It’s best to stick to 100 percent extra-virgin olive oil and then check the country of origin on the back of the label. The highest quality oils will come from areas such as Italy, Spain, or California where this oil has traditionally been produced.

Extra-virgin is the oil that results from the first cold pressing of the olives. Being the purest olive oil, it’s also the most expensive. But because it has a low smoke point, it should not be used for cooking. Try not to bake with it at temps higher than 400 degrees since it’s a bit more sensitive than some other options. It is best used for cold food like salad dressing in place of processed options or drizzling over foods. Best used with low-heat cooking.

For sautéing use Virgin olive oil. This is also the result of the first pressing of the olives, but it is more acidic and the flavor is less robust. Always choose cold-pressed. Most mass-produced varieties are extracted with chemical solvents. Use for cooking foods at low and medium temperatures.

4. Avocado oil

Avocado oil isn’t a cheap oil, but like most of the top quality oils, it is one of the best to cook with. Avocado oil has a high smoke-point similar to that of coconut oil. You can cook vegetables with it, bake with it, or even use it as a salad dressing in place of store-bought options.

 

Oil Lingo….

Expeller-Pressed-

A good thing. A chemical-free mechanical process that extracts oil from nuts and seeds.

Cold-Pressed-

A very good thing. These are oils that are expeller-pressed in a heat-controlled environment to preserve their flavor, aroma, and nutrients.

Refined Oils-

It all depends. These are oils that have been filtered until they are transparent, making them good for high-heat cooking. Look for naturally refined brands.

Unrefined Oils-

A yes vote. These oils contain solids that make them cloudy but give them more flavor. They are not suitable for high-heat cooking.

 

How To Store Oils….

Healthy salad and cooking oils should be stored in cool, dark places. Most oils have a limited shelf life. Check your oil’s production date, and keep it for no longer than 12 months. If kept too long, oils lose their flavor and can become rancid. The best way to prevent that from happening is to store oils in the refrigerator. Most will solidify, but don’t worry. Just leave them at room temperature for a short period and they’ll reliquefy. If you prefer to keep your oils in the pantry, buy them in small quantities so you’ll be replacing them more frequently.

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