forum: Food & Drink

#1 Tue 17 Apr 07 12:57am


Occupation Student
From Australia
Member since Thu 12 Apr 07

Different kinds of oils

Hey guys!

im pretty new to cooking, and i really like Jamies recipies, i find that he uses oil in most of his recipies and i hear that it can be a really healthy alternative. So when im shopping, i found all these different oils and that just left me confused. Theres like Virgin, extra virgin, cooking oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil etc, what oils are best to use in salads and dressings? and can anyone tell me what oils are better for you, and which are high in fat?
Thanks big_smile

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#2 Tue 17 Apr 07 1:44am


Occupation Student, Chef on the side
From Philadelphia, PA, USA
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: Different kinds of oils

All oils have the same amount of fat, 120 kilocalories per tablespoon.

However, the nature of this fat is where the flavor and health differentials occur.  There are three primary types of fat: 1) Saturated, 2) monounsaturated, and 3) polyunsaturated.  There is also transfat, though that is somewhat different,  and will be discussed at the bottom of the post.

Saturated fats.

These fats tend to be the worst of the three non-industrial fats for health.  They tend to come from animal products, such as bacon, butter, salt pork, beef tallow, etc.  They are generally solid at room temperature and tend to have the longest shelf life of all fats.  The flavor of most saturated fats are bold and (when used wisely) add greatly to the dish.

Monounsaturated Fats

This group includes most fruit and nut oils.  Olive oil is probably the most well known fat of this type.  These fats tend to be liquid at room temperature, and are highly flavorful.  However, they tend to degrade reasonably quickly and have low smoke points.  However, there are variances in this type of fat.  Less processed versions (ie extra virgin olive oil)  tend to be more flavorful than more heavily processed (light olive oil) tend to be less  flavorful.  This group is best for dressings and finishing dishes.

Polyunsaturated Fats

These are similar to monounsaturated fats, but they tend to have much higher smoke points and are less flavorful.  Canola, safflower,  sunflower and peanut oil all fall into this category.  These are good for sauteing, stir frying, and deep frying.  They are susceptible to ferrous compounds, so Iron pans will degrade these oils most quickly.  Polyunsaturated oils tend to degrade most quickly of all.

In terms of health and utility I like monounsaturated oils,  primarily extra virgin olive oil.  If you find a filtered type it is suitable for sauteing, and adds tremendous flavor to the dish.  However, it is  worth having smaller amounts of polyunsaturated and saturated fats around ( i would recommend granolas oil and butter) for higher temperature, flavor neutral cooking and the thickening power that saturated fats have.

I know  this is a massive block of data, but I hope there's something in here that helps


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#3 Tue 17 Apr 07 5:21am

The White Rabbit

Forum super champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04
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