Cooking fats


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The Whole30 world is enthusiastic about a handful of cooking fats. In no particular order: ghee, clarified butter, coconut oil, beef tallow, and olive oil. These are not the only oils that are okay, but these are the favorites. One note: It is best not to heat olive oil to a high heat as it begins to change its healthiness under the stress of high heat.

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So, I've been wondering....why is extra virgin olive oil better than regular olive oil...and is more expensive extra virgin olive oil even better. How can we tell?

Extra virgin olive oil is a higher quality of oil. Unfortunately, a lot of the extra virgin olive oil in grocery stores is fake. It is lower grade oil that has been processed to make it taste like extra virgin. The more expensive extra virgin oils are more likely to be real. I buy mine at an olive oil specialty store that stocks 20 or 30 varieties at a time and allows you to taste before buying. The different tastes available in good olive oils is amazing.

It is best to use light olive oil when making mayonnaise. Extra virgin olive oil in mayo tastes awful. You can use light olive oil for cooking or for making salad dressings, etc., but it is not as tasty or nutrient rich as good extra virgin oil.

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  • 9 months later...

I have a few questions!

 

1. How do you know if your olive oil is fake? I buy this brand: http://www.amazon.com/Zoe-Extra-Virgin-Olive-Liter/dp/B0060JNAE8 because I can buy it in huge liters (and the in is so pretty, I use the empties as flower vases!)

 

2. Per the graph showing smoke points on this website: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/oil-fat-overheat-smoking-point/#axzz2NoZDVqBJ it appears that "high quality low acidity" olive oil has a HIGHER smoke point than coconut oil.  This really surprised me. I thought you could heat coconut oil to a MUCH higher temperature. So I guess it begs the question, how are they defining high quality oil? 

 

3. What is the best fat for cooking steak on a stove top? All I have is coconut oil and olive oil right now, though I was planning to make some ghee so maybe that is better? 

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lhenkin & Emily T - Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is good in salads, but don't cook with it (it's usually dark green and very tasty, smells like green olives and sometimes kinda fruity - it's cold pressed, so it keeps all the nutritional goodies). Extra light olive oil (pale, barely even yellow, sometimes has no taste or smell at all) has a higher smoke point as it doesn't have all that green stuff in it. But that's no reason to incinerate it or your food ;) Coconut oil when virgin has an unusually high smoke point, for a virgin oil.

Here's an article about fake "extra virgin" olive oil -> http://lifehacker.com/the-most-and-least-fake-extra-virgin-olive-oil-brands-1460894373 If you're not sure, see if any brands are recommended by your local olive grower association, they're bound to give awards.

Locally here in Australia I can get olive oil grown in my own state, Cobram olive oil (comes in Organic too!) and it has a cute little pop-top that doesn't leak oil everywhere :D Not sure if it's a local thing, but in Australia, olive oil that comes in a big metal tin is usually the cheaper stuff (although it can be sold at inflated prices). The good stuff usually comes in smaller containers and in dark coloured glass (to protect it from light). The organic one here is around AU$20 a metric litre if that's any help.

 

mlkirk - It's also called ghee. I can get it easily at Indian grocers or in the Indian section of my supermarket. I've also found grassfed organic ghee in a health food shop. Lots of Americans make theirs from Kerrygold butter, but make sure it's not salted or your ghee will be too salty.

 

Emily T - I love steak cooked in duck fat, ghee, olive oil and bacon fat :D I find some recipes quite different with a different fat choice. Duck fat, bacon fat (adds salty too) and ghee really bring out flavours. I tend to use olive oil more in salads.

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So, I've been wondering....why is extra virgin olive oil better than regular olive oil...and is more expensive extra virgin olive oil even better. How can we tell?

 

I found this at http://www.chefdepot.net/oliveoilfacts.htm

 

What are the differences among extra virgin olive oil, ordinary olive oil, and "light" olive oils?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil. "Extra" is the highest grade for olive oil--the best you can buy. The virgin oil produced from the mechanical pressing described above may be called "extra" if it has less than 1% free oleic acid, and if it exhibits superior taste, color and aroma. Thus, the "extra" in extra virgin olive oil means "premium," or simply, "the best."

Olive Oil. Ordinary "olive oil" is actually a blended oil product. Olive oil producers start with low quality virgin olive oils. For these oils to be fit for consumption, they must be refined using mechanical, thermal and/or chemical processes. The resulting "refined olive oil" is largely colorless and tasteless. Before the resulting product is sold as "olive oil," the producer blends into the refined olive oil a percentage of quality virgin olive oil to provide color and taste.

"Light" or "Mild" Olive Oil. Light olive oil is a variation on ordinary olive oil. Producers of this product use a highly refined olive oil, and add less quality virgin oil than that typically used to blend olive oil. The only thing "light" about light olive oil is the taste and color; it has the same caloric and fat content as other oils.

I prefer Extra Virgin Olive Oil when sauteeing (I know...should use in extreme heat...  :wacko: ) or in salad dressings.  Light tasting olive oil is great when making homemade mayo since the flavor is not as strong.

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I love duck fat.  I also save all of the fat from cooking my pastured pork bacon (I actually made some bacon myself from half of a pork belly I'd ordered for Christmas dinner...couldn't believe how easy it was, and my god, so tasty).  I usually cook eggs in the bacon fat.

 

Has anyone tried the Better Than Butter recipe from Well Fed 2?  I haven't yet, but it looks really good.

 

In my fridge right now I have duck fat (ordered from Amazon), bacon fat (saved), pork lard (from USWellness Meats), ghee (Pure brand), and grass-fed butter (Kerrygold).  I also have avocado oil, EVOO, light olive oil (for mayo only), and coconut oil.  We're pretty much floating in fat at my house.  It's awesome.

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