April 10 2015 – Robert Fiumara
Cooking by frying is a staple in many different cultures, the least of which is the Southern cultures of the United States. Whether it’s chicken, potatoes, or even desserts like doughnuts, we love our fried food. But, it’s not the healthiest way to prepare food. Here are some tips for healthier frying!
First, you should always use oil with a low smoke point for frying or any high-heat cooking. Smoke point is the temperature that any oil begins off smoke: oil that smokes affects the taste and quality of food but can also be very unhealthy as this is when it starts producing dangerous free radicals and other harmful substances. Oil that smokes will give food a bitter, acrid taste and may scorch it. Another reason you don’t want oil to smoke is because at that point it’s very easy to combust and start a fire. If you do see that your oil is smoking, don’t panic, but do remove it from the heat!
Different oils work in different ways and since there are a variety of ways to cook a dish, we’ll break down the best oils for the best ways to cook. First up is Rapeseed oil. Due to its health benefits and subtle taste, it’s the best oil to roast vegetables in. It also has a lower percentage of saturated fat than olive oil and fifty percent more Vitamin E. If you’re trying to make delicious risotto, use Rice Bran oil. Rice Brain oil is high in antioxidants and contains ferulic acid, which is a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory benefits: it helps protect your immune system.
If you’re a fan of Asian food, especially stir fry, you should stock up on Coconut Oil. Coconut oil is a healthier saturated fat and has a high smoke point, ideal for cooking at high temperatures. While it is high in fat, experts say our bodies use up the saturated fat in Coconut quicker than regular saturated fat, making it less likely to be stored in our bodies as unhealthy fat. If you’re going to incorporate Coconut oil in your cooking, be sure to use sparingly. Got a craving for a salad? Pour a little Walnut oil over your greens and it just might lower your risk for heart disease. Walnut oil has a distinct flavor, low smoke point, and is best used for salad dressing, as it’s not particularly adaptable.
The higher a fat’s smoke point the more you’re able to use it for but make sure you keep any oil sealed tight, in a cool, dark place. If they come in a clear bottle, you can even wrap them with tin foil to extend their shelf life!
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