Also Known as
Cooking oil is purified fat of plant or animal origin, which is liquid at room temperature. Some of the many different kinds of edible vegetable oils include: olive oil, palm oil, soybean oil, canola oil, pumpkin seed oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, grape seed oil, sesame oil, and rice bran oil. Many other kinds of vegetable oils are also used for cooking.
How to Select
Oil is available throughout the year to satisfy taste buds. Oil can become rancid from exposure to light and heat; there are some important purchasing criteria you should follow to ensure buying a better quality product. Look for oils that are sold in dark tinted bottles since the packaging will help protect the oil from oxidation caused by exposure to light. In addition, make sure the oil is displayed in a cool area, away from any direct or indirect contact with heat.
· Oil is the basic ingredient for a series of dishes - be it sauting, frying or dressing a salad. Oil is the most essential.
· Oil provides a medium for foods to be cooked and enhances the taste and makes it appealing.
· Oil can be flavoured by immersing aromatic food stuffs such as fresh herbs, peppers and so forth in the oil for an extended period of time.
· While frying foods - If the oil is too hot, the coating will burn from the direct heat of the oil before the food has had time to cook. The longer oil is heated, the more quickly it will decompose. Avoid preheating the oil any longer than necessary. If you're cooking more than one batch of food, quickly add each new batch, unless time is needed to adjust the cooking temperature. Turn off the heat as soon as you've removed the last food batch from the oil. Cool. When the oil has cooled enough that it is safe to handle, strain it through paper towels, coffee filters or cheesecloth into its original empty container or a clear glass jar. Do not mix it with unused oil.
How to Store
Whether refined or not, all oils are sensitive to heat, light and exposure to oxygen. Rancid oil has an unpleasant aroma and acrid taste, and its nutrient value is greatly diminished. It is best to store all oils in a cool, dry place.
Oils may thicken, but if you let them stand at room temperature they will soon return to liquid. To prevent negative effects of heat and light, take oils out of cold storage just long enough to use them
Oil darkens with use when subjected to high/prolonged heat. If the oil has a rancid or "off" smell or if it smells like the foods you've cooked in it, it should be discarded.
· Oil in moderate amounts is beneficial.
· However, excess oil intake is proved to have ill effects leading to weight gain, cardiac arrest etc making one more lethargic and full of fatigue.