03 Mar Complete oil guide: which one to choose and how to use it
We need a complete oil guide. There are many types of oil that we can use in the kitchen. Each type of preparation requires a different one. Can you tell which one is the most suitable?
Today we have many types of vegetable oils and fats that we can use in the kitchen. In any supermarket we find varieties of olive, sunflower, peanut, corn and seed oils, and normal or enriched vegetable margarine, but which one to choose and why?
I explain the essential ones, the less essential ones, and the uses you can give them.
I put it first because it is the basic in my kitchen, the one that should never be missing.
Of all the oils they sell, extra virgin olive oil is the only one that is essential for me. With extra virgin olive oil, you can cook anything and season any food raw.
It works just as well for browning vegetables as it does for toast (yes, I make them with olive oil instead of margarine). It’s expensive, I know, but using it well it lasts a long time, it doesn’t go bad quickly, it withstands high temperatures and it’s the healthiest we can use.
Make It Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Refined oils are usually cheaper, but the price difference is not worth it at all. Do not look only at the price, take a good look:
That it be “extra virgin olive oil”, not “refined oil”, “olive oil” or “refined oils and virgin oils”. Extra virgin olive oils have more nutritional properties than refined ones. They are also usually denser and darker in color (regardless of the color of the bottle).
The degrees that often appear consigned refer to the number of fatty acids present. An extra virgin olive oil will have around 3º. The rest, much less.
It is not that refined olive oil is “bad”, it is that the refining process eliminates “the bad” but also “the good”. What remains is an oil that is not of much interest at a culinary or nutritional level.
Take Into Account Its Origin
If you also want to reduce your carbon footprint, see that your oil is produced as close as possible to where you buy it (and if possible also the cultivation of olives).
Many times it is difficult to find a local olive oil, but you can look at agricultural cooperatives in your province and surroundings, surely there is one that produces good oils.
The Variety Of Olives
In supermarket oils, it is often not specified, but if you can choose, choose the oils made with the varieties that you like the most according to the uses that you are going to give them.
For example, the oil of the Hoja Blanca variety is softer, while picual is stronger and more pungent. There are many more varieties, if you take a look at cooperatives you will see that there are many types of olives that give rise to different oils, each one with its characteristic aroma and flavor.
My favorite oils to drink raw (salads, toast, etc.) are the varieties with stronger flavors (picual, cornicabra, and local varieties).
The State Of The Oil And The Expiration Date
Always check that the bottles are not broken, that there are no foreign bodies inside, etc.
When it is very cold you can see some solidification of the oil at the top or at the bottom, but this is normal (it usually happens at home on the coldest days of winter).
I put it in second place because it is the second most common.
One bottle will last you a long time. As it is not the preferred oil for cooking, you should only use it for very specific things. A bottle of sunflower oil can last for many months, just keep it closed in a cool, dry place away from the sun.
Sunflower oil, in general, is cheaper than olive oil, but it does not have the same properties, far from it. It should not be our “off-road” oil, but it can be used for some things.
If we are going to make a few batches of fried croquettes or things like that, we can use normal, high oleic, or “special frying” sunflower oil. It has hardly any flavor and is less viscous than olive oil, which is why batter and breadcrumbs are less oily.
If you have tried to make a vegetable mayonnaise with olive oil you will understand this recommendation. In general, extra virgin olive oils have a very strong flavor for these sauces. Better use high oleic sunflower oil.
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