Most of us commoners and non kitchen enthusiasts when it comes to cooking and other kitchen oils we tend to pick ones that are cheap and popular. We tend tobuy what the market tells us to get, but that can change with a little wisdom. Kitchen oils come in many types and each has its own specific egde over the other.
There are several ways to classify the oils used in cooking but here are some common ways.
• Smoke point
• Shelf life
Though there are sub categories such as frequency of usage, cost etc., these three are mostly what you need to know when it comes to stocking up your pantry.
The smoke point of an oil naturally determines the application of the oil. Heat intensive cooking such as deep frying, grilling, searing and stir fry call for oils that does not breakdown easily like ghee(clarified butter), peanut oil, soybean oil, sesame oil or palm oil. The mentioned oils all have a smoke point of higher than 210°Celsius.
Using some of these oils may affect the taste or flavour of the food you are cooking like the sesame oil. Though it has a very high smoke point, it is not advised to be used in deep frying. Sesame oil has a very strong flavour and mostly used for brushing in the grill, stir fry or as a final dabbing in cold preparations.
Oils like extra virgin olive oil, butter, sesame oil and nut oils have very distinct flavours that over powers food flavours if not used sparingly. These oils vary in smoke point and have their own applications such as baking, salads, garnishing and/or cooking.
Highly flavoured oils are most of the time unrefined or almost raw. The chemical compounds that give oils flavouring are also the cause of early spoilage.
As mentioned earlier, heavily flavoured oils are prone of going rancid much faster than other oils. Storing these types of oils properly or conforming to storage instructions in labels may help. If you want to have different varieties of your flavoured oils and you do not want them all going bad at the same time, store what you don’t need in the ref and only take out little amounts to store at room temperature.
Kitchen Oil for Everyday Use
When choosing which oils to get for your kitchen, always consider the above classifications. What you want in your kitchen is an all purpose oil; probably with a mid-range smoke point, high shelf life at a low cost. Canola oil and sunflower oil will be your best options as they have high enough smoke point and shelf life.
Next is a small quantity of flavoured oil such as olive oil and/or sesame oil. These are good for flavouring your dishes and also very healthy. Butter or lard is also a must have if you do baking a lot. Two to three oils at a bare minimum will most of the time work with a typical home kitchen.
Oils as Functioning Decors
Oils have different colours and tints and if you have good style and placement skills these oils will serve as great decorative additions to your kitchen. But if you do not have that artistic eye and hands, you could always check kitchen designs online, ask someone with experience or better yet get a professional to include such in your dream kitchen.