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What Oil is the Best and Healthiest for Frying?

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  • What Oil is the Best and Healthiest for Frying?



    Let's look at what oil is healthiest and best suited for frying. The question is how this or that oil tolerates heat treatment. The main property that matters here is how easily the oil is oxidized or rancid when heated.

    When the oil is oxidized, it turns into a harmful product. Therefore, the lower the oxidation temperature, the less suitable the oil is to cook with. And the oxidation temperature, in turn, depends on how saturated the oil is.

    The temperature of active oil oxidation is also called the smoking point – it is at this temperature that oxidized volatiles become visible to the naked eye.

    Accordingly, the higher the smoking point, the better the oil is suitable for deep frying. This temperature should be taken into account when you cook and select an oil that does not start to smoke at the desired temperature.

    For example, if you are frying vegetables, fish, or omelets, for which a small fire is enough, even oil with a low smoking temperature is suitable, and for meat and poultry, it is better to choose oil with the maximum smoking point.



    Here is the rating of the most popular oils.


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    First place: Coconut Oil

    It is 92 percent saturated fatty acids, which makes it very resistant to heat. The smoking point is from 340°F to 446°F. At room temperature, it's semi-soft, and it stays fresh for months, meaning it doesn't go rancid.

    It also contains useful lauric fatty acid. According to some reports, it improves the cholesterol profile and helps control pathogenic bacteria. Compared to other oils, coconut oil gives a feeling of satiety for a longer period. The main thing is to choose organic cold-pressed oil (virgin).




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    Second Place: Butter / Ghee

    All we know about the dangers of butter is outdated information. Not only it is useful in fresh form, but it is also found to be better to fry on it than on other vegetable oils.

    It, among other things, contains vitamins A and E, as well as related linolenic acid, which contributes to weight loss, reduces inflammation, and in some experiments on mice and has shown itself to be an excellent remedy for obesity (more about this here and here).

    Butter consists of 68 percent saturated fat, 28 percent monounsaturated fat, and its smoking point is between 248°F and 302°F. There is only one problem with it: ordinary butter contains a small amount of sugars and proteins, which quickly burn up and turn black when fried in a hot pan.

    To avoid this unpleasant (and, of course, harmful) moment, you can either fry on a slow fire, or use melted, cleaner butter. The Indian name for melted butter is ghee.


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    You can either buy it or cook it yourself. This is not too difficult and boils down to three points: good butter – from cows who ate grass and not feed - warm up over low heat so that it melts and begins to boil slowly (slowly!).

    First, the water evaporates from it (the bubbles become smaller and turn into foam), then the solid particles – milk sugar and protein – begin to darken and stick together, the butter gets a dark golden hue (usually this happens after 8-10 minutes).

    At this point, you need to remove it from the heat and strain it through cheesecloth into a jar. Protein and sugar remain in cheesecloth; pure ghee gets into the jar, which must be refrigerated and used as necessary for frying.

    In general, it is not too troublesome, and it is worth it: clarified butter is ideal both in terms of taste and in terms of use.

    Why it is important that the butter is from a cow that eats grass and not feed - in short, the butter from the "herbivorous" cow has more useful omega-3, and the butter from the" feed " cow has more harmful omega – 6 fatty acids).


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    Third place: Olive Oil

    This is, generally speaking, a delicate point. Many chefs are sure that you should not fry in olive oil since all its beneficial properties turn into harmful when heated.

    This is not quite true. Indeed, olive oil is only 14 percent saturated fat (75 percent monounsaturated acids and 11 percent polyunsaturated acids), but the smoking point is relatively high – from 390°F to 464°F, depending on the purity.

    The great and powerful Jamie Oliver in his blog strongly recommends using olive oil for both frying and deep-frying. Among other things, he has this recipe: pour the oil into the pan (a layer of about a centimeter), heat it, break the egg and fry, carefully turning it with a spoon.

    It turns out something like a poached egg. Oil is not worth stinging: the Maestro allows you to use the same thing several times.

    Research shows that, despite the fact that most of the fatty acids in olive oil are unsaturated, it is very resistant to oxidation when heated. Only, of course, it should always be the first cold-pressed oil and the minimum acidity (no more than 0.8, ideally 0.3 or less).


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    Fourth place: Fat and other Animal Fats

    The composition of fatty acids strongly depends on what the animal eats. If an animal has been eating grain feed all its life, then its fat contains a lot of polyunsaturated acids (not very suitable for frying), if the animal grazed on green meadows and generally led a healthy lifestyle, then its fat will have more saturated and monounsaturated fats.

    In general, there is nothing bad in cooking with lard, if it is lard from a proven butcher.

    For frying, lard is best suited - fat melted from lard. Such lard does not contain residues of proteins and other unnecessary components.




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    Fifth place: Palm Oil

    Oddly enough, the fifth place belongs to cheap palm oil, about which you can find a lot of contradictory information. Palm oil consists mostly of saturated fatty acids, which means that it can withstand heat treatment with dignity, the smoking point is 446°F (that is, it is not inferior to coconut oil).

    The best approach is the so-called red palm oil (unrefined, cold-pressed). Such oil, among other things, contains a lot of vitamin E.

    The only problem is that palm oil is grown on an industrial scale, so it is not always possible to find out where it comes from and what quality it is.


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    Sixth place: Rapeseed Oil

    If this is an organic cold-pressed oil, then the ratio of fatty acids in is quite good (omega-6 to omega-3 2:1), and the smoking point is 370°F-440°F. But it is not easy to find such oil.

    And refined hot-pressed rapeseed oil goes through a very powerful chemical treatment before it gets to the counter and there is nothing too useful in this because some of the chemicals leave their traces in the finished product.

    On the other hand, it's still much better than plain sunflower, corn, and other vegetable oils, which are widely advertised and make up 90 percent of the average supermarket's assortment. They contain too many omega-6 fatty acids and almost no omega-3, so it is better not to use them at all – neither for frying nor for anything at all.
    Last edited by Simon Locke; 06-06-2020, 04:21 PM.

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