Use Peanut oil and sunflower oil for deep frying, and use olive oil, butter and ghee for sautéing.
All oils are not created equal. They differ in their chemical make-up, and the type of fatty acids they contain. Consequently, some are better for sautéing, while others are a better choice for frying or no heat preparations, like salad dressings.
Here’s a list of some common types of oils/fats and their sources:
Saturated fats: They’re mostly found in dairy products, fatty meats, or coconut and palm oils.
Trans fats: These are commonly found in processed food. Stay away from trans fats, or eat them sparingly. Check grocery labels to determine the amount of trans fats in the packaged food.
Monounsaturated fats: These healthy fats can be found in raw nuts, olives, and avocados. Monounsaturated fats can also be found in extra virgin olive oil, peanut oil, and avocado oil.
Polyunsaturated fats: These fats, which include omega-6 and omega-3s, are healthy fatty acids. You can get them from oily fish like salmon and mackerel, as well as chia seeds and walnuts. They’re especially good for your brain.
Different cooking oils have their own ‘smoke point’ temperature, i.e. the temperature at which an oil smokes and produces fumes. When this happens, the healthy fats and antioxidants burn and produce free radicals, which can then cause health problems, especially if you re-use burned oil on a regular basis.
A low smoke point means an oil burns and produces fumes quicker, as compared to an oil that has a high smoke point. The relative ‘smoke point’ of some popular and commonly found oils are:
Peanut oil → medium to high
Sunflower oil → high
Coconut oil → medium
Butter → low to medium
Ghee → low
Olive oil → lowest
Almond oil → high
Another handy tip is to remember to store cooking oils in a cool and dark place, because excessive heat and light exposure can damage them.
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