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TEXARKANA, Ark. –
When it comes to cooking oil, there are so many choices: olive, canola, peanut, sesame,
vegetable, corn – the choices seem to go on and on. How do you choose the best for
your cooking needs?
Knowing how long to keep oil on the shelf is essential to a quality product as oil
has a limited shelf life. Most oils, if unopened, have a shelf life of one year. Once
opened, most stay fresh for about six months. After that period of time, they can
become rancid and develop an undesirable taste and smell. Keep your cooking oils tightly
covered and away from light and heat. Storing oils above or next to the stove is not
the best storage option.
Some questions to ask include: What is the fat content and what type of fat is in
it… What flavor will it give and how heat tolerant is the oil ... Will the oil smoke
and burn if heated too high?
When it comes to total fat and calories, all cooking oils provide about the same 14
grams of total fat and 120 calories per tablespoon. The difference lies in the proportions
of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids that the oil brings
to the table.
Saturated fats tend to raise LDL, the bad or “lousy” cholesterol levels, so it’s best
to limit your intake of these types of fats to less than 7 percent of total daily
calories. These are the fats that are typically solid at room temperature and found
mostly in foods from animals and some plants. Foods from animals include beef, beef
fat, veal, lamb, pork, lard, poultry fat, butter, cream, milk, cheeses and other dairy
products made from whole and 2 percent milk. All of these foods also contain dietary
cholesterol. Foods from plants that contain saturated fat include coconut, coconut
oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil (often called tropical oils), and cocoa butter.
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats may help lower your blood cholesterol level
when you use them in place of saturated and trans fats. They're found mainly in fish,
nuts, seeds and oils from plants. Some examples of foods that contain these fats include
salmon, trout, herring, avocados, olives, walnuts and liquid vegetable oils such as
soybean, corn, safflower, canola, olive and sunflower. Remember that coconut oil,
palm oil and palm kernel oil are high in saturated fat, even though they're vegetable
oils and have no cholesterol. Read food labels carefully.
There are different uses for oils. Extra virgin olive oil, EVOO, as it is commonly
called, is high in heart healthy monounsaturated fat. It has a distinctive flavor,
and is not the best choice for baking or anything that you do not wish to have this
particular flavor. It is great sprinkled over steamed vegetables for added flavor
or mixed in a salad dressing.
Canola oil is the lowest in saturated fat, 6 percent cholesterol per tablespoon, and
is high in heart healthy monounsaturated fat and omega 3 polyunsaturated fats. It
can tolerate high heat like peanut oil and has a high smoke point. The flavor of canola
is mild, making it great for baking and wok or stir-fry cooking.
Peanut oil is generally used when high heat temperatures are required, such as stir-frying
and frying. It is used in commercial kitchens such as Asian restaurants where a lot
of cooking is being done in woks. It has a nutty flavor, and is high in heart healthy
monounsaturated fats. If you are cooking for someone with nut allergies, this one
needs to be avoided.
Fat is a hot topic, especially when it comes to cooking oils, and everyone has their
own opinion of which is best. The choices on the market today seem almost endless.
Become an informed shopper and make the best choice for you and your family based
upon how you will use the product, and its nutrition.
Remember, coconut oil and palm kernel oil is comprised mainly of saturated fatty acids,
which can raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol, while canola, sunflower, and safflower
oils are comprised mainly of unsaturated fatty acids, which may help lower blood cholesterol
levels, when used in place of saturated fats.
For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or
visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at firstname.lastname@example.org,
on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaHaleyHadley, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or
on the web at uaex.uada.edu/Miller.
By Carla Haley-Hadley County Extension Agent - FCSThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Carla Haley-Hadley County Extension Agent - FCSU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854 (870) 779-3609 email@example.com
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.