Fats & Oils
Vegetable oil, olive oil, sesame oil, grapeseed oil, lard, butter… There are so many choices out there! Are you often confused as to what’s the difference? Do you find yourself standing in the grocery store and staring at a shelf full of oils?
Vegetable oil – this oil has a high smoke point* which makes it a great choice for frying.
Olive oil – unlike vegetable oil, olive oil comes in a variety of grades. Sometimes you will also find herb-infused olive oils. Olive oil is a great option for sautéing and for making salad dressings and vinaigrettes.
Extra-Virgin Olive oil – this is a cold-pressed olive oil and is the highest available grade olive oil.
Sesame oil – this oil has a high smoke point. It’s often used in a multitude of Asian dishes. It’s made from extracting oils from sesame seeds. It comes in both a light, and dark, variety.
Grapeseed oil – this oil has a relatively high smoke point and is the optimal choice for high heat dishes. It’s also a great option for salad dressings.
Lard – The quality of lard depends on what part of the pig the lard was harvested from. Therefore, the flavor you will achieve from using lard will vary.
Butter – “Stick butter” is the preferred butter for baking. It burns at a much lower temperature than oil and is available in “salted” and “unsalted.” In baking, unsalted is the preferred choice.
*Smoke point – the “smoke point” of an oil or fat is the temperature at which volatile compounds emerge when a bluish smoke becomes clearly visible from the oil.
Hopefully this helps you understand more about fats and oils.