DOs for Cooking Oils:
- Consider the smoke point: Choose an oil with a high smoke point for high-heat cooking methods like frying, sautéing, and searing. Examples of oils with high smoke points include avocado, peanut, and refined safflower.
- Use oils according to their flavor: Different oils have distinct flavors that can enhance the taste of your dishes. For instance, extra virgin olive oil is excellent for salad dressings and low-heat cooking, while sesame oil adds a rich, nutty flavor to stir-fries and Asian dishes.
- Store oils properly: To maintain the quality of your cooking oils, store them in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Some oils, like olive oil, can solidify when chilled but will return to their liquid state at room temperature.
- Use appropriate amounts: Use oils in moderation to control your fat intake. Remember that oils are calorie-dense, so measuring and using them judiciously is essential.
- Experiment with different oils: Be bold and try extra fats in your cooking. Each oil has unique properties that can bring out different flavors and textures in your dishes. Explore new options, from avocado to grape oil, over high oleic sunflower oil, and many other options!
DON’Ts for Cooking Oils:
- Only use oils after their expiration date: Pay attention to the expiration date of your cooking oils. Using oils that have gone rancid can negatively affect the taste and quality of your food.
- Avoid overheating oils: Heating oils beyond their smoke point can break their nutritional value and produce potentially harmful compounds. It can also result in off-flavors and smoke in your cooking. Be mindful of the heat you apply and choose oils suitable for high-temperature cooking.
- Don’t mix used and fresh oil: Avoid mixing new and used oil from previous frying sessions when deep-frying. This can affect the quality and taste of your food. Instead, start with fresh oil for each frying batch.
- Avoid reusing oil excessively: While some oils can be reused, it’s essential to exercise caution. Reusing oil too many times can degrade its quality and increase the risk of producing harmful substances. Follow specific guidelines for each type of oil to determine the appropriate number of times it can be reused.
- Don’t pour used oil down the drain: Properly dispose of used cooking oil by letting it cool and solidify, then transferring it to a sealed container and throwing it in the trash. Avoid pouring grease down the drain, which can clog pipes and harm the environment.
Remember to refer to specific instructions and recommendations provided by your chosen cooking oil manufacturer. These general dos and don’ts should be a good starting point, but individual oils may have unique characteristics and requirements.