It is no secret that deep frying or simply frying foods is not the healthiest cooking method around. However, this does not have to be the case, especially if you know what you are doing – particularly when it comes to the oil to use.
Choosing the Right Oil for Frying
The oil you use has a large impact on the health content of your food. If you plan to deep fry, this means you will submerge food in oil that is usually around 350 to 375 degrees F. Some oils are able to tolerate this heat and even more than that. Selecting the oil to use is not too complication. However, you have to be aware of the following guidelines as you make your choice:
- The oil has to have a high smoke point. This pertains to the temperature at which you can see the bluish smoke. It is at this point where the oil is decomposed.
- The oil should also be stable, particularly when reacting to oxygen when it is exposed to high temperatures. If the oil you have chosen reacted with oxygen, this process is known as oxidation. Unfortunately, this is not a good thing because this allows the formation of free radicals as well as other harmful compounds. Imagine consuming all those undesirable elements in your food.
- What you choose should have both saturated or monounsaturated fats. If not, at least one of these fats should be present. The more saturated fats the oil has, the more resistant it is to high heat.
- Make sure you stay away from oils that contain high amounts of polyunsaturated fats. This type of fat has double bonds that easily react to oxygen.
- It also helps if the oil you use has that neutral flavor. You don’t want the oil to overpower your food.
So now, the question is: which oil should you use? The best choice, upon considering the factors mentioned above, is coconut oil. Science has proven that coconut oil maintains its quality even after cooking it for eight hours at 365 degrees F. The oil also has more than 90% saturated fatty acids content, so it is very much resistant to high heat.
If you’re not a fan of coconut oil, you have other choices, including animal fat: lard, ghee, drippings, and tallow. These options taste really good and even add more crisp to your food. Plus, they are not easily damaged when used for frying, even if it’s deep frying.