Edible oils: when is which one used?

Edible oils
When is which one used?

Some oils shouldn’t be heated.

© Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock.com

More and more edible oils can be found on supermarket shelves. But which one is suitable for what? An overview.

They refine the salad and are essential for many when frying meat, fish or vegetables: edible oils. The shelves in the supermarket are now full of different varieties – alongside rapeseed and olive oil, varieties such as linseed oil are currently in vogue. But not every oil is suitable for frying, deep-frying or baking.

Cold pressed or refined oil

A basic distinction is made between cold-pressed and refined oils. In the former, the seeds or fruits of the plants are pressed mechanically and without heat. This method is very gentle and the typical taste and smell, such as the olives, are retained. Usually the label says “native” or “natural”.

During the refining process, the oils are not only pressed out, but also heated. Chemical processes are also used to extract even the last drop of oil from the seeds or fruits. Then the oil has to be cleaned – refined. That means: All cloudy substances as well as flavor and odor substances have disappeared. What remains is a tasteless oil. The process results in a much higher oil yield, which is why refined varieties are significantly cheaper than cold-pressed ones. Heating them also makes them more durable.

Different heat resistance

Cold-pressed and refined oils differ not only in taste. Natural olive oil and Co. can withstand temperatures of 120 to a maximum of 190 degrees. They then lose their taste and can develop harmful substances. Refined oils can withstand significantly more heat – over 200 degrees are usually not a problem. Basically, the higher the polyunsaturated fatty acid content, the less heat the oil can withstand.

Important for both: the smoke point. If an oil starts to smoke, it is too hot. If the smoke stings your eyes and scratches your throat, stop using the oil. Because then harmful acrolein has already formed.

Which oil to use for frying, deep-frying or baking?

Because of their high heat resistance, refined oils are particularly suitable for searing and deep-frying. Coconut oil is currently in vogue and is very heat-resistant due to its fatty acid composition. It is therefore ideal for frying and is mainly used in Asian dishes due to its taste. If you want to fry with it, you should use a refined coconut oil. Cold-pressed oils such as rapeseed or olive oil can also be used for frying. Be careful though, as some can become bitter if the heat is too intense.

Both types are possible when braising, as the temperatures usually do not rise above 100 degrees. But there are cold-pressed oils, such as linseed oil, which should not be heated at all. Always use these for cold dishes or only add them after cooking.

Unflavoured oils are best for baking desserts. Olive oil goes well with bread or pizza dough, as it gives the whole thing a Mediterranean taste. Cold-pressed varieties such as grape seed or pumpkin seed oil are great in salads or dips. Here they can fully develop their aroma and give every dish a very special note.