Choosing the right cooking oil:
Different oils should be used for different needs and when choosing an oil there are three things that should be considered:
Flavour: There are lots of mild, neutral oils (such as avocado, canola and grapeseed) if you’re looking for something flavourless that won’t clash with the seasonings of the food you’re cooking. However, there are others – such as sesame oil – that lend a rich, nutty flavour to anything it’s drizzled on. Be sure to consider the flavour of the oil depending on what you’re cooking.
Smoke point: If you haven’t heard of this term before, it’s exactly what it sounds like — the point at which oil begins to smoke and burn. If you oil ever starts to smoke in your pan, discard it! This means the temperature is much too high. When oil is heated at high temperatures, it becomes damaged and potentially forms cancer-causing properties. As a general rule of thumb, refined fats and oils, such as ghee, canola, and olive oil (labeled as virgin or light), have a higher smoke point than unrefined oils like extra-virgin olive oil. You can use these if you’re planning on cooking on a high heat.
Your health: Last but not least, one thing that you will have to think about is your health. With so many oils, there are expectedly some that are high in cholesterol with bad fats. There’s a time for delicious buttery roasted veggies but it might not be everyday.
What oils should I use for…
The general rule of thumb is that you want 1 part oil to 3 parts vinegar. Oils in salad are essential as your body needs oil to help with absorption of fat-soluble compounds from vegetables. You’ll want to pull out a good quality olive oil or splurge on a flavoured oil to use with your salads!
You’ll want an oil that has a high smoke point so it doesn’t burn easily. We recommend safflower or peanut oil – they get nice and hot without burning so you can brown your food quickly!
Many oils are great for sautéing, including avocado, canola, coconut, grapeseed, olive, sesame and high oleic safflower and sunflower oils. You’ll want to find one with a medium smoking point (around 350 degrees Fahrenheit).
For the oven:
Fat is essential when roasting foods – without it, you wouldn’t get that lovely crisp, brown caramelization that makes roasted veggies so amazing. For a mild, neutral flavour use oils such as olive, vegetable, canola, or grapeseed – these are particularly good for baked goods.