- Cooking oil
Plant oils Olive oil Types Vegetable fats (list) Macerated (list) Uses Drying oil - Oil paint Cooking oil Fuel - Biodiesel Components Saturated fat Monounsaturated fat Polyunsaturated fat Trans fat
Some of the many different kinds of edible vegetable oils include: olive oil, palm oil, soybean oil, canola oil, pumpkin seed oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, grape seed oil, sesame oil, argan oil and rice bran oil. Many other kinds of vegetable oils are also used for cooking.
The generic term "vegetable oil" when used to label a cooking oil product may refer to a specific oil (such as rapeseed oil) or may refer to a blend of a variety of oils often based on palm, corn, soybean or sunflower oils.
Oil can be flavored by immersing aromatic food stuffs such as fresh herbs, peppers, garlic and so forth in the oil for a period of time. However, care must be taken when storing flavored oils to prevent the growth of Clostridium botulinum (the bacteria that produces toxins that can lead to botulism).
Health and nutrition
The appropriate amount of fat as a component of daily food consumption is the topic of some controversy. Some fat is required in the diet, and fat (in the form of oil) is also essential in many types of cooking. The FDA recommends that 30% or less of calories consumed daily should be from fat. Other nutritionists recommend that no more than 10% of a person's daily calories come from fat. In extremely cold environments, a diet that is up to two-thirds fat is acceptable and can, in fact, be critical to survival.
While consumption of small amounts of saturated fats is essential, initial meta-analyses (1997, 2003) found a high correlation between high consumption of such fats and coronary heart disease. Surprisingly, however, more recent meta-analyses (2009, 2010), based on cohort studies and on controlled, randomized trials, find a positive or neutral effect from shifting consumption from carbohydrate to saturated fats as a source of calories, and only a modest advantage for shifting from saturated to polyunsaturated fats (10% lower risk for 5% replacement).
Mayo Clinic has highlighted oils that are high in saturated fats, including coconut, palm oil and palm kernel oil. Those of lower amounts of saturated fats, and higher levels of unsaturated (preferably monounsaturated) fats like olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocado, safflower, corn, sunflower, soy, mustard and cottonseed oils are generally healthier. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and World Heart Federation have urged saturated fats be replaced with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. The health body lists olive and canola oils as sources of monounsaturated oils while soybean and sunflower oils are rich with polyunsaturated fat. Results of research carried out in Costa Rica in 2005 suggest that consumption of non-hydrogenated unsaturated oils like soybean and sunflower are preferable to the consumption of palm oil.
Not all saturated fats have negative effects on cholesterol. Some studies indicate that Palmitic acid in palm oil does not behave like other saturated fats, and is neutral on cholesterol levels because it is equally distributed among the three "arms" of the triglyceride molecule. Further, it has been reported that palm oil consumption reduces blood cholesterol in comparison with other traditional sources of saturated fats such as coconut oil, dairy and animal fats.
Saturated fat is required by the body and brain to function properly. In fact, one study in Brazil compared the effects of soybean oil to coconut oil (a highly saturated fat) and found that while both groups showed a drop in BMI, the soybean oil group showed an increase in overall cholesterol (including a drop in HDL, the good cholesterol). The coconut oil group actually showed an increase in the HDL:LDL ratio (meaning there was more of the good cholesterol), as well as smaller waist sizes (something that was not shown in the soybean oil group.
In 2007, scientists Kenneth C. Hayes and Pramod Khosla of Brandeis University and Wayne State University indicated that the focus of current research has shifted from saturated fats to individual fats and percentage of fatty acids (saturates, monounsaturates, polyunsaturates) in the diet. An adequate intake of both polyunsaturated and saturated fats is needed for the ideal LDL/HDL ratio in blood, as both contribute to the regulatory balance in lipoprotein metabolism.
Unlike other dietary fats, trans fats are not essential, and they do not promote good health. The consumption of trans fats increases one's risk of coronary heart disease by raising levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and lowering levels of "good" HDL cholesterol. Trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils are more harmful than naturally occurring oils.
Several large studies indicate a link between consumption of high amounts of trans fat and coronary heart disease and possibly some other diseases. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the American Heart Association (AHA) all have recommended limiting the intake of trans fats.
Cooking with oils
Heating an oil changes its characteristics. Oils that are healthy at room temperature can become unhealthy when heated above certain temperatures. When choosing a cooking oil, it is important to match the oil's heat tolerance with the cooking method.
A 2001 parallel review of 20-year dietary fat studies in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Spain found that polyunsaturated oils like soya, canola, sunflower, and corn oil degrade easily to toxic compounds when heated. Prolonged consumption of burnt oils led to atherosclerosis, inflammatory joint disease, and development of birth defects. The scientists also questioned global health authorities' recommendation that large amounts of polyunsaturated fats be incorporated into the human diet without accompanying measures to ensure the protection of these fatty acids against heat- and oxidative-degradation.
Palm oil contains more saturated fats than canola oil, corn oil, linseed oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, and sunflower oil. Therefore, palm oil can withstand the high heat of deep frying and is resistant to oxidation compared to highly unsaturated vegetable oils. Since about 1900, palm oil has been increasingly incorporated into food by the global commercial food industry because it remains stable in deep frying or in baking at very high temperatures and for its high levels of natural antioxidants.
Oils that are suitable for high-temperature frying (above 230 °C/446 °F) because of their high smoke point
- Avocado oil
- Corn oil
- Mustard oil
- Palm oil
- Peanut oil (marketed as "groundnut oil" in the UK)
- Rice bran oil
- Safflower oil
- Sesame oil (semi-refined)
- Soybean oil
- Sunflower oil
Oils suitable for medium-temperature frying (above 190 °C/374 °F) include:
- Almond oil
- Cottonseed oil
- Diacylglycerol (DAG) oil
- Ghee, Clarified butter
- Grape seed oil
- Olive oil (Virgin, and refined)
- Rapeseed oil (marketed Canola oil or, sometimes, simply "vegetable oil" in the UK)
- Mustard oil
- Walnut oil
Unrefined oils should not be used for frying, but are safe for simmering.
Storing and keeping oil
Whether refined or not, all oils are sensitive to heat, light, and exposure to oxygen. Rancid oil has an unpleasant aroma and acrid taste, and its nutrient value is greatly diminished. To delay the development of rancid oil, a blanket of an inert gas, usually nitrogen, is applied to the vapor space in the storage container immediately after production. This is referred to as tank blanketing. Vitamin E oil is a natural antioxidant that can also be added to cooking oils to prevent rancidification.
All oils should be kept in a cool, dry place. Oils may thicken, they will soon return to liquid if they stand at room temperature. To prevent negative effects of heat and light, oils should be removed from cold storage just long enough for use. Refined oils high in monounsaturated fats keep up to a year (olive oil will keep up to a few years), while those high in polyunsaturated fats keep about six months. Extra-virgin and virgin olive oils keep at least 9 months after opening. Other monounsaturated oils keep well up to eight months, while unrefined polyunsaturated oils will keep only about half as long.
In contrast, saturated oils, such as coconut oil and palm oil, have much longer shelf lives and can be safely stored at room temperature. Their lack of polyunsaturated content causes them to be more stable.
Types of oils and their characteristics
Lighter, more refined oils tend to have higher smoke points. Experience using an oil is generally a sufficiently reliable guide. Although outcomes of empirical tests are sensitive to the qualities of particular samples (brand, composition, refinement, process), the data below should be helpful in comparing the properties of different oils.
Smoking oil indicates a risk of combustion, and left unchecked can also set off a fire alarm. When using any cooking oil, should it begin to smoke, heat should be reduced immediately. Generally, one should be fully prepared to extinguish a burning oil fire before heating, typically by having on hand the lid to place on the pan, or (for the worst case) having on hand the proper fire extinguisher.
Type of oil or fat Saturated Monounsaturated Polyunsaturated Smoke point Uses Almond 8% 66% 26% 221 °C (430 °F) Baking, sauces, flavoring Avocado 12% 74% 14% 271 °C (520 °F) Frying, sautéing, dipping oil, salad oil Butter 66% 30% 4% 150 °C (302 °F) Cooking, baking, condiment, sauces, flavoring Ghee, clarified butter 65% 32% 3% 190–250 °C (374–482 °F) Deep frying, cooking, sautéeing, condiment, flavoring Canola oil 6% 62% 32% 242 °C (468 °F) Frying, baking, salad dressings Coconut oil 92% 6% 2% 177 °C (351 °F) Commercial baked goods, candy and sweets, whipped toppings, nondairy coffee creamers, shortening Rice bran oil 20% 47% 33% 254 °C (489 °F) Cooking, frying, deep frying, salads, dressings. Very clean flavoured & palatable. Corn oil 13% 25% 62% 236 °C (457 °F) Frying, baking, salad dressings, margarine, shortening Cottonseed oil 24% 26% 50% 216 °C (421 °F) Margarine, shortening, salad dressings, commercially fried products Grape seed oil 12% 17% 71% 204 °C (399 °F) Cooking, salad dressings, margarine Hemp oil 9% 12% 79% 165 °C (329 °F) Cooking, salad dressings, ... Lard 41% 47% 2% 138–201 °C (280–394 °F) Baking, frying Margarine, hard 80% 14% 6% 150 °C (302 °F) Cooking, baking, condiment Mustard oil 13% 60% 21% 254 °C (489 °F) Cooking, frying, deep frying, salads, dressings. Very clean flavoured & palatable. Margarine, soft 20% 47% 33% 150–160 °C (302–320 °F) Cooking, baking, condiment Diacylglycerol (DAG) oil 3.5% 37.95% 59% 215 °C (419 °F) Frying, baking, salad oil Olive oil (extra virgin) 14% 73% 11% 190 °C (374 °F) Cooking, salad oils, margarine Olive oil (virgin) 14% 73% 11% 215 °C (419 °F) Cooking, salad oils, margarine Olive oil (refined) 14% 73% 11% 225 °C (437 °F) Sautee, stir frying, cooking, salad oils, margarine Olive oil (extra light) 14% 73% 11% 242 °C (468 °F) Sautee, stir frying, frying, cooking, salad oils, margarine Palm oil 52% 38% 10% 230 °C (446 °F) Cooking, flavoring, vegetable oil, shortening Peanut oil 18% 49% 33% 231 °C (448 °F) Frying, cooking, salad oils, margarine Safflower oil 10% 13% 77% 265 °C (509 °F) Cooking, salad dressings, margarine Sesame oil (Unrefined) 14% 43% 43% 177 °C (351 °F) Cooking Sesame oil (semi-refined) 14% 43% 43% 232 °C (450 °F) Cooking, deep frying Soybean oil 15% 24% 61% 241 °C (466 °F) Cooking, salad dressings, vegetable oil, margarine, shortening Sunflower oil (linoleic) 11% 20% 69% 246 °C (475 °F) Cooking, salad dressings, margarine, shortening Sunflower oil (high oleic) 9% 82% 9% Tea seed oil 252 °C (486 °F) Cooking, salad dressings, stir frying, frying, margarine Walnut (Semi-refined) 9% 23% 63% 204 °C (399 °F)
Waste cooking oil
Proper disposal of used cooking oil is an important waste-management concern. Oil is lighter than water and tends to spread into thin and broad membranes which hinder the oxygenation of water. Because of this, a single litre of oil can contaminate as much as 1 million litres of water. Also, oil can congeal on pipes provoking blockages.
Because of this, cooking oil should never be dumped in the kitchen sink or in the toilet bowl. The proper way to dispose of oil is to put it in a sealed non-recyclable container and discard it with regular garbage. Placing the container of oil in the refrigerator to harden also makes disposal easier and less messy.
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- ^ The smoke point of oils depends primarily on their free fatty acid content (FFA) and molecular weight. Through repeated use, as in a deep fryer, food residues or by-products of the cooking process will accumulate within the oil and lower its smoke point. The values shown in the above table must therefore be taken as approximate, and are not suitable for accurate or scientific use.
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Edible fats and oils Fats OilsAlmond oil · Argan oil · Avocado oil · Canola oil · Cashew oil · Castor oil · Coconut oil · Colza oil · Corn oil · Cottonseed oil · Fish oil · Grape seed oil · Hazelnut oil · Hemp oil · Linseed oil (flaxseed oil) · Macadamia oil · Marula oil · Mongongo nut oil · Mustard oil · Olive oil · Palm oil (palm kernel oil) · Peanut oil · Pecan oil · Perilla oil · Pine nut oil · Pistachio oil · Poppyseed oil · Pumpkin seed oil · Rapeseed oil · Rice bran oil · Safflower oil · Sesame oil · Soybean oil · Sunflower oil · Tea seed oil · Walnut oil · Watermelon seed oil
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