Cooking with gas is one thing. Cooking with oil is another. With so many different oils lining the shelves of supermarkets across the country, experimenting with cooking oils couldn’t be easier. However, for most of us, the proliferation of oils has actually complicated our culinary endeavors. With concerns about cooking temperatures and fat content, it’s often easier to reach for the familiar olive and canola instead of exploring the rich possibilities of walnut, sesame, coconut, or even avocado oil. At Native Sun, we encourage you to add some flavor to your favorite meals, just be sure and choose the right oil for the job in order to prevent damaging the integrity of the oil.
What do you mean damage the oil?
Well, when oil turns to smoke, “it releases carcinogens into the air and free radicals within the oil” that destroy the nutritional value of the oil itself (Spectrum 2011). The term “smoke point” (easy to remember) refers to the temperature at which specific oils literally go up in smoke. For a detailed list of oils and their respective smoke points, click here and follow the link to the Spectrum Organic Kitchen Guide!
And what’s all this talk about refined and unrefined?
Refined oils typically exhibit a more neutral flavor and can be used at a higher temperature. In contrast, unrefined oils have a richer color and more robust flavor while retaining more of their natural nutritional properties (Spectrum 2011).
For more information and frequently asked questions about cooking oils, visit Spectrum Organics website!
At Native Sun we stock a plethora of cooking oils in addition to canola and olive.
Almond Oil, Refined: Rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats with a pure, clean flavor.
Apricot Kernel Oil, Refined: Apricot kernels contain a healthy dose of monounsaturated fat. This oil is best suited for high heat applications like sautéing, frying and all-purpose cooking.
Avocado Oil, Refined: A great oil for high heat cooking, loaded with monounsaturated fats, that works perfectly for sautéing, frying and all-purpose cooking.
Grape seed Oil, Refined: A light oil with a neutral taste that works well for high heat cooking.
Peanut Oil, Unrefined: Adds a rich peanut flavor to any sauté or stir-fry.
Safflower Oil, Unrefined: Light, neutral-flavored oil that demonstrates great versatility in the kitchen. Also available in a refined, high heat version that uses organic safflower.
Sesame Oil, Refined & Unrefined: Great for stir-frying. Also available in a “toasted” variety that adds incredible depth to an already flavorful oil.
High Heat Sunflower Oil, Refined, Organic: As noted by Spectrum Organic, high heat sunflower oil is “higher in monounsaturated fat and lower in both saturated and polyunsaturated fats than regular sunflower oil, meaning it’s good for your heart and pure heaven for high heat cooking,” making it both a versatile and health friendly cooking oil.
Walnut Oil, Refined: Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, walnut oil works well when used at medium high heat or simply drizzled over salads or fine cheeses!
(Note: All oil descriptions courtesy of Spectrum Organics)
We hope that you decide to give some of these healthy oils a try in some of your favorite recipes! If you already use one of the above oils, submit your recipes to the comments section! We look forward to hearing from you!
Organics, Spectrum. “Cooking Oils.” Spectrum Healthy Organic, Artisan, and
Omega-3 Supplement Oils. 2011. Web. 20 May 2011.