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A few quick guidelines to cooking with unrefined oils and fats

by , 02 October 2015

Unrefined oils and fats are aromatic, flavourful and a far healthier choice than their refined counterparts. There are lots of different ways to use these delicious unprocessed oils too, from non-heated dips and drizzles to high-heat frying and grilling.

So how can you tell which oils and fats will be a healthy choice for what you want to cook? A quick glance at the nutrition facts on labels will tell you whether an oil or fat is predominantly saturated, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. Once you know that, keep these handy tips in mind…

Tips for cooking with healthy fats

#1: Saturated fats are best for high-heat cooking
Want to sauté on high heat? Then opt for a fat that’s mostly saturated, like these:
  • Butter
  • Ghee
  • Palm oil
  • Coconut oil
 
Saturated fats are stable and can withstand high heat without breaking down. Tip: Butter is best suited for medium-high heat since its water content boils at 100 degrees Celsius and will start fizzling and flying out of the pan.

 
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#2: Monounsaturated fats are best for medium-heat cooking
If you’re using medium or low heat, go for monounsaturated fats. Those include:
  • Fruit oils (like olive and avocado oil)
  • Nut oils (like hazelnut, pecan, peanut, pistachio, almond and macadamia oil)
  • Drippings from pork and poultry (like schmaltz and bacon grease)

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You can use these oils for baking, too!
 
#3: Polyunsaturated oils are best for no-heat preparations
Save polyunsaturated walnut oil and seed oils (like sesame, flax and hemp oil) for no-heat preparations. Drizzle them on pancakes, waffles or ice-cream, make salad dressings with them, dip bread in them, or garnish dishes at the table with these intensely flavourful oils.
 
Welcome to the delicious and nutritious world of unrefined oils and fats! I hope you enjoyed these quick tips for cooking with them.
 

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