Friday, February 13, 2015

What Fats Are Best for Cooking?

5 gallon bucket of coconut oil
Here are some of the best cooking fats and why.

  • Butter and Ghee, not only is butter great for all of the reasons I talked about in my post on butter, it is a fantastic, stable cooking fat up to medium heats Although ghee can be cooked much higher. Butter is a saturated fat, meaning all available bonds are taken with hydrogen, so it is solid at room temperature. This stability of all the bonds being filled, gives any saturated fat the ability to not go rancid at higher temperature cooking. Some saturated fats are better for medium heats, due to the other types of fat found along with the saturated fat.  
  • Coconut oil, another saturated fat is also heat stable. One of the biggest reasons I do not cook everything with coconut oil is the taste, there are some dishes coconut just does not taste good in. It is wonderful in baked goods, most Primal/Paleo recipes call for coconut flour and some coconut milk, so the oil just adds moisture and healthy benefits. Unrefined extra virgin coconut oil should be for baking and light cooking.
  • Bacon grease, yeah I said bacon grease. When cooking bacon we save the fat and use it in cooking, almost anything tastes better with bacon grease. If you are concerned about nitrites and nitrates, there is a future post coming dedicated to them, hold onto your horses. 
  • Bone broth fat, my first batch or two always gives more fat to my broth than I need. So, I take some off and keep it in the fridge, to add to my later batches and for cooking. This is a pretty neutral flavor, it does not effect the taste of cooked foods like coconut oil or bacon grease. As a side note, this also does wonders for the dry, winter hands. I like to rub it in, especially any extra dry spots, allow it to sit for some time and then wash it off. Your hands will be silky smooth and the dead skin, gone.
  • Palm kernal oil can also be a good fat. Just be sure to find a good quality one, read the ingredient list to be sure there is no hydrogenated oils.
  • Lard, tallow or any rendered animal fat, not only do they provide many vitamins and minerals, they are perfect for medium to high temperature cooking. You do not want to buy lard that is sitting on a store shelf though. This has been hydrogenated to be shelf stable. Hydrogenated oils should be avoided at all possible costs. These oils cause inflammation in the body, lead to heart disease, diabetes, cancer arthritis, weight gain and many more health issues. A post on hydrogenated oils will be in the near future as well. Look for these types of fats in a health food store, from a local butcher or render your own.
Olive oil is NOT a high temperature cooking oil. I know it has been touted as such, but nothing could be further from the truth. Most of the fat in olive oil is monounsaturated. This is not a stable cooking oil, at medium and higher temperatures, it will break down and turn into a hydrogenated oil. Olive oil is best for cold uses, salad dressings and dipping sauces, or for low heating. Many olive oils you find on store shelves are not true olive oil. They might have some in them, but they are combined with other oils to be cheaper to sell. The oils they are combing them with are hydrogenated oils, which we are avoiding. Good, high quality olive oil is expensive. Not something you want to dump into a dish in high quantities to cook with. You want to savior it, taste it, use it sparingly. Do not cook your olive oil.

Saving the world one stick of butter at a time.
God bless,

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