Spices are delicious. Nevertheless, they are not the only tool in the kitchen to bring flavour to your table. Various oils can add unique flavour to your dishes. Some of these oils have earned a bad reputation over the years, namely, saturated fatty oils. Is this reputation fair?
Plant based oils come in all kinds. The one thing they all have in common is that they come from seeds and fruits. Even so, not all oils are the same. Not only do different oils have different characteristics, properties and compositions, they also should be used for different types of cooking. The way the oil is produced has a lot to do with how it should be used.
The type of production is the first quality that sets apart types of oils. The quality of the raw materials. Another criteria for oils is how they were grown and how they were treated.
In oil production, there are roughly three types of variants. Refined oils are heated to about 100 degrees Celsius and then pressed. The advantage of this method is that such oils are tasteless, universally applicable and more durable. However, the downside to this method is that the phytochemicals, the characteristic colour and flavour of the individual materials are lost.
Unrefined oils are cold-pressed using a heat of up to 60 degrees. Some of them are also steamed, but this in turn reduces the number of healthy substances in the oil.
Then there is the group of cold-pressed oils. These are pressed without additional heat by pressure or friction and are then usually filtered. All the natural ingredients are preserved in these oils, which is why their colour, smell and taste are top quality.
Many oils such as linseed oil contain a high proportion of essential fatty acids. These polyunsaturated fatty acids are essential for many body functions. Additionally, the body cannot manufacture polyunsaturated fatty acids itself, which is why they must be obtained from food.
In addition to oils that contain a lot of simple and polyunsaturated fatty acids, there are also those which have a high percentage of saturated fatty acids, such as coconut oil. Although polyunsaturated fatty acids are considered to be healthier, saturated fatty acids are far less harmful to your health than is generally assumed. Therefore, it is completely justifiable to use them!
Especially when it comes to cooking, saturated fatty acids are indispensable. The more unsaturated fatty acids contained in an oil, the less heat-resistant it is. If the oil is heated to exceed the so-called smoke point, the unsaturated fatty acids disintegrate and form trans fats, which are potentially harmful. Coconut oil is a perfect example because it consists almost entirely of saturated fat. Even refined oils are heat-resistant and can therefore be used.