Day 9 & 10: Fab Fats
I recently began wondering which fat I should cook with the most. Most conventional wisdom has taught us that canola oil is a great oil and margarine is a great replacement for butter. Well, through my last few years of searching for health, I have realized that my stars are olive oil, coconut oil, and good ol’ butter. However, which of these is the best choice to cook with on a frequent basis?
This is a long-standing favorite of mine and plenty of other kitchen-inclined individuals. Due to it’s delicate, superior taste and the process of cold pressing the olives, extra-virgin olive oil is the best of the olive world. So, I am writing about extra-virgin olive oil in this post.
Olive oil has a distinct taste for a salad dressing and can compliment a nice dish. It has great anti-oxidants. The is somewhere between 360-400*, making it a great oil to use for cooking. The downside of cooking with olive oil is that it may lose it’s flavor. Overall, it’s a good cooking oil, but due to the loss of flavor and the expense of olive oil, there may be better options.
Coconut oil has recently come to my attention in the last six months. The basic coconut oil, as opposed to virgin coconut oil, has no taste and a very smooth texture. Virgin coconut oil has a slight coconut flavor and may have flakes of coconut meat in the oil. The thought behind virgin coconut oil is that there is not as much processing to create the finished, edible product. Some argue that the process that the coconut oil undergoes to remove the flavor and the meat is harmful to the product (could be done with a bleaching process). Currently, I use basic coconut oil. However, I might use virgin if our food budget was a little higher. I feel okay with buying the refined oil because I trust that the company refines the oil in a natural, healthful way. At least I’m hopeful…
Coconut oil has so many benefits like the ability to protect the liver, improving blood sugar and insulin levels, helping absorb minerals for teeth/skin/hair, and it has anti-viral, fungal, and bacterial properties. Due to the fat balances, it can also help with weight loss. It has a high-smoke point and is very versatile and able to stand in for butter and many other oils. It’s a great cooking oil, but it’s fairly expensive as well.
Grass-fed and grain-fed butter are very different. Since I found Kerrygold’s pastured butter, I will never return to grain-fed butter. So much flavor. And it’s YELLOW (the color butter should be!), proving that there are still vitamins left in the butter.
Carotene, Vitamin A, and Vitamin K are the prominent vitamins in butter… All a due to the natural cow food (grass). Cows are made to eat grass, making their product better to consume. This natural food also helps the cows to digest well and produce a milk balanced with equal parts of omega-3’s and omega-6’s (that’s a good thing!). Finally, the flavor of grass-fed butter is simply amazing. So rich and creamy. Smoke point is around 300*.
With that comparison, it looks like coconut oil and butter are slightly better than olive oil for health benefits. Coconut oil is probably the best choice for a saute or stir-fry, but the cost holds me back. For me, I think the decision is to use butter. It’s relatively cheap ($2.79 at Trader Joe’s), has good stuff in it, and tastes great. Yeah. I’ll use more butter… Unless, I’m cooking eggs-then I’ll use beloved bacon grease 🙂
What fat do you cook with the most?