4.2018

Zion Nat'l Park, Columbine

What Oils Do You Have in Your Kitchen?

Twice this week I have been asked “what are the best oils to use for cooking?”, prompting me to share my response with you, devoted reader of HeartMatters News and with the great wide world…

My pantry contains olive oil as my go-to oil for almost all cooking, and coconut oil for baking or any time I crave a rich, flavorful fat. In addition, I keep sesame and peanut oil on hand for a tempeh saute or a Thai dinner.

This disclosure may startle you–after all, isn’t olive oil meant for moderate temperatures and isn’t coconut oil a–gasp!–saturated fat? Yes and Yes. And they are both marvelously healthy, delicious and versatile.

What’s more important to know about what type of oils to keep in your kitchen is in regards to the cultivation: are the plant seeds GMO; is Hexane or a similar toxic chemical used to extract the oil; and are preservatives added to extend shelf-life?

Most commercial oils are routinely derived from Genetically Modified seeds, including soy, canola, sunflower, corn, safflower and other oils. The good news is that there are several companies that produce these oils from non-GMO seeds/plants. I would like to invite you to avoid GMO foods — they are associated with disease and with environmental concerns, not to mention the unconscionable practices of the Ag Industry giant Monsanto, but hey, don’t get me going on that…

Expeller-pressed oil means the oil has been extracted from the seed using the natural process of pressing (squishing) the seeds to press out the oils. About 70% of the oil is able to be extracted using this healthful method. Most commercial oil producers, however, use a nasty petroleum product called Hexane to remove oil; the hexane binds with the oil, pulling nearly 100% of the oil from the seed. AND-get this-since Hexane eventually evaporates, the FDA does not require those companies using this frightening technique to label Hexane as an ingredient. I don’t know about you, but I’ll skip the petroleum in my food oil, thank you very much. This does mean that expeller-pressed oils will cost more, and may I point to this as a perfect example of when investing your food dollar in your own health is wise investment.

Most commercial oil producers add a preservative at the end of processing to extend the shelf life of the product as well as to increase its stability with higher cooking temperatures. First of all, oil is not meant to be stored indefinitely. May I suggest that you consider purchasing a container size will be emptied within a few weeks? The local co-op at which I shop has larger bins of oils that can be accessed to refill those smaller bottles so that your supply at home is always fresh. In regards to the temperature consideration, I simply cook at lower heat to avoid the concern for reaching the smoking-point.

The bottom line is that organic oils will be non-GMO and have no BHT or BHA added to extend shelf-life. A good quality oil is a worthwhile purchase, can be used in small amounts for flavorful cooking, and will provide rich sources of plant micro-nutrients and healthful fats. Enjoy!

Robin Mallery

Robin Mallery

Robin Mallery is passionate about food! Starting from where and how it's grown, to how far that food travels to the dinner table, to how it is prepared and savored...Robin blends shopping, cooking, and eating tips with her unique Kitchen Zen and mindful meals approach to enjoying real food.

While you are waiting for her to finish the upcoming book, "Kitchen Zen: The Journey to Nourish Body and Soul in Our Changing World", you can find Robin's sporadic blog posts here or on FaceBook.
Robin Mallery

4 Responses to “What Oils Do You Have in Your Kitchen?”

  • Robin, this was informative. I pretty much use just olive oil now with some sesame and walnut oils on the side. Can you recommend the better olive oil brands or is it just wise to stick to any that are ogranic? Also I was recently informed that if you are cooking with olive oil for more than a few minutes it becomes altered and unhealthy. Any truth to that?

  • Karen Sowell:

    Thank you, thank you, thank ou Robin. Finally someone made it perfectly clear for us!!

  • robertslinda:

    I just enjoyed reading this, perfectly written. As far as i know olive oil is one of the best choices. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats commonly known as omega 6 and omega 3 which reduce the level of cholesterol. That is why a lot of people choose olive oil. A good quality and pure olive oil is the best choice.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

"The Holiday Survival Cooking and Eating Class exceeded my expectations. It was so enjoyable to learn new ideas for healthy snacks and meals, taste the delicious treats we created and leave with an inspired hope that this will be my healthiest holiday season yet! I am impressed with the knowledge and care that Robin (and Wendy from In the Kitchen) both possess and I look forward to taking more classes in the future. Thanks again!"  --Rose M.   “What a wonderful, yummy class! Not only did we participate in creating several easy-to-make, delicious, nourishing dishes for the holidays and every day, we also learned strategies for surviving and enjoying the upcoming holiday season. Both Robin & Wendy were delightful and imparted their cooking and eating knowledge with love, humor, and enthusiasm. I highly recommend their classes to anyone who is interested in developing a better way to look at food, using thoughtfulness with mindfulness to learn some very valuable strategies for eating any time of the year!” --CAM   “I found the class delightful with great ideas for the holidays. In the Kitchen is a warm and welcoming place and you and Wendy were great teaching collaborators. Good new recipes. I appreciate your healthy eating information. I recommend this class to anyone wanting to enjoy the holidays without stressing over food. Actually, the information isn’t just for the holidays. I want to stay healthy all year and eat well.” --Pat B.   "I’ve participated in several classes at In the Kitchen, enjoyed them all immensely, but it is always a special treat when Wendy teaches a class. The recipes offered in The Holiday Survival class were easy to make and so delicious. And what a plus to have Robin co-teach the The Holiday Survival class with Wendy. Thank you, Robin, for all your great information on healthy eating, which was delivered so professionally, dovetailing beautifully into Wendy’s presentation. Hope you two team up again for more classes of scrumptious, healthy recipes. What a fun evening!!" --Carol B. _______________ I love this positive feedback! How gratifying it is to touch the lives of others in a meaningful way…and to be able to do so around a topic that is so dear to me, is just the icing on the cake (right—pun intended!). Wendy Van Wagner and I will continue to offer seasonal cooking classes in addition to the occasional specialty class…stay tuned!
recipe link
more...balancedlife
more...real food
Blog Categories