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Cooking oil is purified fat of plant or animal origin, which is liquid at room temperature. There are several kinds of edible vegetable oils including olive oil, palm oil, soybean oil, canola oil, pumpkin seed oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, grape seed oil, sesame oil, and rice bran oil. Many other kinds of vegetable oils are also used for cooking.
How to Select
• Oil is available throughout the year, in several varieties, several brands and several pack sizes.
• Oil can become rancid from exposure to light and heat; so buy a pack size you need and not too much.
• Look for oils that are sold in dark tinted bottles since the packaging will help protect the oil from oxidation caused by exposure to light.
• In addition, make sure the oil is displayed in a cool area, away from any direct or indirect contact with heat.
• Oil is a basic cooking ingredient, essential for sautéing, frying, tempering as well as for salad dressing.
• It provides a medium for foods to be cooked and enhances the taste and makes it appealing.
• Oil may be flavoured by immersing aromatic ingredients such as fresh herbs and peppers in the oil for an extended period of time.
• While frying foods in oil, it is essential to maintain it at the right temperature. If the oil is too hot, the coating will burn from the direct heat of the oil before the food has had time to cook. The longer oil is heated, the more quickly it will decompose. Avoid preheating the oil any longer than necessary. If you're cooking more than one batch of food, quickly add each new batch, unless time is needed to adjust the cooking temperature. Turn off the heat as soon as you've removed the last food batch from the oil. Cool. When the oil is cool enough to handle, strain it through paper towels, coffee filters or cheesecloth into an empty container. Do not mix it with unused oil.
How to Store
• 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. So, store all oils in a cool, dry place.
• Oils may thicken, but if you let them stand at room temperature they will soon return to liquid.
• Oil darkens with use when subjected to high/prolonged heat.
• If the oil has a rancid or "off" smell or if it smells like the foods you've cooked in it, it should be discarded.
• Oil in moderate amounts is beneficial.
• However, excess oil intake is proven to have ill effects leading to lethargy, fatigue, weight gain, cardiac arrest etc.