The Ins and Outs of Cooking with Various Oils and Flax
Adding extra virgin olive oil to a salad instead of dressing? Great idea. Frying chicken in that same oil? Terrible idea, unless you like rancid foods. Don’t make these beginner mistakes.
Use this quick cheat sheet to make sure you’re getting the most nutritious bang for your grocery buck:
Cooking with Coconut, Olive, Grape Seed and Other Oils
Never use vegetable or canola oil, especially when frying. The best choice is coconut oil because of its superior flavor when frying foods such as chicken, not to mention its health benefits. Olive oil, while just as healthy, tends to make food soggy rather than crispy. A word of caution regarding olive oil: It will turn rancid when heated above 120°F. If it smokes, it has already turned rancid.
To sauté foods, use sesame oil, rice bran oil, extra virgin olive oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil, butter, or clarified butter (ghee). Note: Butter has turned rancid once it browns.
Butter, coconut oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, or olive oil can be used in baking if the temperature is less than 325ºF. In a hotter oven, use only butter, olive oil, or coconut oil. When coating a pan or cookie sheet, use only coconut oil or grape seed oil.
Flax Oil and Flax Seed Meal
Cold-pressed oils, such as flaxseed oil and hemp seed oil, should never be heated or used for frying. But they can be added to foods once they are cooked. These healthy oils can be added to stews, soups, sauces, salad dressings, casseroles, and nut butter to add nutritional value and flavor. They should be refrigerated at all times.
Flax Seed Meal
Although flax seed oil, once extracted, should never be heated on its own, numerous studies have shown flax seeds and ground flax meal (milled flax seeds) is stable when cooked. Even when heated at 350 degrees F for one hour, no changes occur to the peroxide values or fatty acid composition. (Ratnayake, et al, Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 3.) This makes ground flax meal an excellent and acceptable flour substitute in our Advanced Plan recipes.