Such an interesting and important topic. From About.com in this mornings email, “Just a decade ago it seemed like the only kind of oil available to the home cook was either vegetable or olive oil. Today it seems there’s no end to your options. Sesame, peanut, coconut, red palm, avocado… the list goes on! Here is an easy guide to everything you need to know about cooking oils, from smoke points to storage and more!” And the link to the ongoing article is Cooking Oils 101. And a brief snippet,
This is the first post on a series about plant-derived cooking oils here on About.com’s Produce Channel. We’ll be looking at numerous types of cooking oil in-depth: how they’re made, their uses, their health benefits and risks, and other particular information sensitive to the oil in question.
First, we’ll be doing a two-part breakdown of the numerous oils available on the market, their primary cooking uses, and their smoke points.
Just a decade ago it seemed like the only kind of oil available to the home cook was either vegetable oil or olive oil? Today it seems there’s no end to your options. Sesame, peanut, coconut, red palm, avocado… the list goes on!
But what differentiates each oil from the others? There’s numerous factors to consider.
The smoke point is one major consideration. The more refined an oil is the fewer impurities and the higher heat the oil can withstand before it begins to smoke, lose nutritional value, go bitter in flavor, and eventually catch fire if heated further…
Another consideration is the flavor of the oil. Some oils contain a rather neutral taste such as vegetable oil, while others such as sesame oil remain punchy and strong in flavor…The important thing to realize is moderation. Only use just as much as you need, which in most cases, be it stir-fry or salad dressing, is only a few tablespoons at most. (Deep-frying, naturally, is a unique situation and the unhealthiest option.)