Which cooking oil should you choose? There are many oils sold, and some are good for salad dressings, others for cooking – and some people say we should avoid refined oils and just eat whole olives etc. There is evidence that it’s good to eat less oil if you have cancer, diabetes or heart disease. It’s your choice. American chef Bryant Terry says: he likes fat, because it makes food taste good.
How much you use it up to you. You may live longer having no oil, but then you may not wish to! But do keep cold-pressed oils for salad dressings, and avoid deep-fat fryers (fire hazards anyway). A little oil makes life nice, but don’t fall for the myth that ‘olive oil is healthy’, because it’s not. We all need some fats, but you don’t have to live with oil. Years ago, olive oil was only sold at the chemist.
If you prefer to use less oil, some good choices are applesauce, plant-based yoghurt and prune puree (good for chocolate recipes). Brandi has a post on how her cooking/baking without oil helped her husband’s gout. Her book The Vegan 8 is oil-free.
Brandi eats nuts & olives in whole form, and is not a fan of applesauce for baking. She prefers nut butters & almond flour (negates the need for oil). Good cookbooks are Forks Over Knives Family and China Study Quick & Easy Cookbook.
- Coconut oil (not harvested by monkeys – Biona is a good brand) is not good at high temperatures, and flammable. It contains saturated fat (doctors say bad, raw foodists say lauric acid has benefits). If you use it, use 25% less than recommended butter. Some palm-oil-free vegan butters use coconut oil. Don’t give coconut oil to pets without vet say-so, can cause gastric problems in some.
- Chip fryer pans cause house fires. Use an airfryer, for recipes that taste like fried food.
- Olive oil is fine for salad dressings, but the low smoke-point is not good for high temperatures.
- Flax oil again has essential acids that go rancid for cooking (the same reason why cooked fish is no good for fatty acids). Save flax oil for salad dressings or whizz up for smoothies. Or just grind fresh seeds.
- Sesame oil is popular in Asian and Indian cooking. It’s also good to use as a massage oil (don’t add essential oils if pregnancy or nursing).
Local Rapeseed Oils
Rapeseed oil is our ‘national oil’, responsible for the pretty yellow-flowered fields, and growing it helps to preserve our land and native wildlife. Many doctors say it’s not good to have too much oil, and that’s kind of true, as it’s still a refined product (olives are no doubt better than olive oil). And if you have a serious disease, some people say to eat less oil, others say to not worry, which is why people end up confused.
But if you enjoy a little oil on your food or cooking, rapeseed is a good choice. It makes the best roast potatoes (no goose fat required) due to the superior smoke point (even to olive oil) and also is good in salad dressings and general cooking.
- Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil
- Chiltern Cold Pressed
- Cotswold Gold
- Farrington Oils
- Bath Harvest Oils
- Mr Hugh’s also offers infused oils with lemon, vanilla and hazelnut. So you can use these to replace butter (or coconut oil).
Crush Foods (Norfolk) offer a lovely box of infused rapeseed oils. Lovingly handcrafted, this trio of oils is ideal for cooking and dipping. Slow-pressed for flavour, they are infused with garlic, chilli or a blend of garlic, ginger and lemongrass. Ideal for garlic bread to curry to a nice chilli non carne! Packed in a box made from recycled card.
The range includes:
- Garlic is ideal for homemade garlic bread
- Garlic Ginger Lemongrass is ideal to add to a stir-fry
- Pour a glug of the feisty chilli oil for instant eat to any dish like curry.
Don’t Pour Fat Down Drains
This is what caused London’s sewer Fatty McFatBerg. Oil won’t break down, so wrap and bin, and use an oil bin for commercial use. Never give birds leftover foods with fat (oil, buttered sandwiches, roasts etc) as the fat clogs feathers and affects waterproofing and insulation. See how to help our garden birds for more info.