Monday, March 14, 2011

Smoke Gets In Your Oils

I was recently asked about which oils are best for cooking, so I thought I'd post about it, just for you guys.

 First, let's talk about what a smoke point is.  Have you ever cooked oil till it smoked and made your whole house stink and your eyes and throat burn?  Of course you have.  I have, too.  It's not fun.  But this is what happens when an oil is taken past its smoke point-- the point at which the molecular structure of the oil starts to change, and its components start breaking down.  At this point, the nutritional aspects of the oil you thought was so healthy for you begin to degrade.  It becomes something quite different than what you started with, and free radicals (which can cause cancer) may be released. 

So, that having been said, here's a list of the smoke points of oils you may currently be cooking with.  Depending on what level of heat you're cooking with, choose accordingly:

As a general rule, I tend to use extra virgin olive oil as a cold oil, to spread and drizzle on things; I also use it when I make garlic bread, but I don't cook it above 350 degrees Farenheit.  I often use avocado oil, grapeseed oil, and extra virgin coconut oil in cooking, depending on the temperature of the cooking I'm doing. 

Hopefully, you find this information useful.  Don't forget to invite me over for dinner.  :)

Questions?  Comments?  Recipes?  Post 'em here!

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