Cooking with Oils and Fats

 The more solid the fat (animal drippings, coconut oil, and butter) when cold the more heat it can stand, the more liquid (olive oil when cold) the less heat it can stand.

 

Every meal you cook should include a fat. Fat is a good thing and you need to get a variety into your family's diet. There are some fats that are made for cooking and others that should go on a salad.  There is lots of buzz about oils and fats lately. What to cook with what not to? What does rancid oil even mean?  So I thought I would break it all down for you.

it is very important how you use fats, because if you use them incorrectly they go rancid. You will not be able to taste that they are rancid, but your stomach will tell you - you know those gross burps.

The more solid the fat (animal drippings, coconut oil, and butter) when cold the more heat it can stand, the more liquid (olive oil when cold) the less heat it can stand.

They are oils sold in the store today, that do not in any way resemble a fat your body who recognize.  This means your body sees them as free radicals or pollutants and is having to work over time to get them out of your system.  Oils you should throw out:

  • Anything in a plastic container - coconut oil is exempt from this
  • Anything in a clear container - even if it is glass
  • All oils that come from a seed - grape seed, cotton seed
  • Pam spray
  • Cisco

Butter

This is the number one fat I use to cook with. It literally can make anything taste … butter.

Heat Level: Can handle high heat - all the way up to a cast iron skillet.

Quality: You need to look for grass fed. Grocery stores carry Kerrygold. It is a wonderful product.

Flavor: This really works with almost anything from scrambled eggs to sauted greens.

 

Ghee

Is a form of clarified butter that has been around for forever. Clarified butter just means that they have separated out the milk fats from the butter, if you have a dairy allergy this might not bother you.

Heat Level: Can handle high heat - all the way up to a cast iron skillet.

Quality: I would look for a grass fed and organic version. You can buy on Amazon and most speciality grocery stores have it.

Flavor: It does taste different than butter, but not by much. It isn’t as creamy as butter. So for cooking it is good for pan frying, but any sauces for creaming you might be doing it won’t work.

 

Animal Fats

You can buy animal fats at the store, like lard. However you can also save your drippings. I have containers in my fridge with my bacon and chicken drippings.  When you spend money on good meats don’t throw out the good fat too.

Heat Level: Can handle high heat - all the way up to a cast iron skillet.

Quality: Only use from high quality organic meats.

Flavor: As you can imagine the flavor is wonderful. It doesn’t work with everything though. A steak pan seared in bacon grease is wonderful, scrambled eggs or fried eggs.

 

Coconut Oil

This is such a crazy cool thing nature provided us. It is a saturated fat, like animal fat, but it comes from a plant.

Heat Level: Can handle high heat - all the way up to a cast iron skillet.

Quality: I use this local San Antonio product, (link), but there are all kinds of good organic products out there. Costco even sells one. Just be sure to buy unrefined.

Flavor: It depends on the product. Most of the coconut oil does taste coconutty (not a word, but I am using it). So it does great with fish. I fry with it a lot because it is inexpensive so I don’t feel guilty using a lot of it. When I oven roast veggies I use it as well, the coconut flavor doesn’t seem as present when you cook this way.

 

Olive Oil

There has been some stuff in the news lately about how olive oil labeling isn’t monitored by anyone. Therefore they can put on the label that it is olive oil and it really be cheap canola oil, or a mixture of both. So it is important to know who you are buying from.

Heat Level: Can NOT handle heat.

Quality: I buy from this farmer (link), just be sure you know the farmer and what they are doing with their product.

Flavor: I love the flavor of olive oil. The brand above has a peppery flavor and is just wonderful. I put it on my salads.