Sunday, September 4, 2011

Culinary Oils

It’s time to look at oils in a whole new way. We have been programed by creative marketing to reach for store bought salad dressings. But I am going to encourage you to stop purchasing bottled salad dressings and make your own, using whole ingredients that pack a punch of flavor and health benefits. I haven’t purchased a bottle of dressing in over 5 years and here is why.

Almost all store bought salads dressings contain heavily refined soybean oil or canola oil which are both unhealthy and with an array of incredible culinary oils available there are quick and easy methods to throw together a quick dressing with the added value of antioxidants to your diet.

Soybean oil is really high in omega-6 fatty acids which will throw off your omega-6 to omega-3 balance. Canola oil made from rapeseed which has been used to for industrial uses and is toxic to humans and animals. It’s actually an excellent insect repellent, which isn’t something I want to cook with or put in my salads. And just so you know we haven’t seen any issues with mad cow since rape oil was removed from the animal feed. Now this isn’t scientifically proven but an interesting fact.

High fructose corn syrup is added in large amounts to all those bottled salad dressings unless you are in the health food store. High fructose corn syrup contributes to high cholesterol, liver damage and alarmingly high levels of mercury which can result in brain and nervous system damage.

Think about where the oil comes from and what benefits you will receive by using oil that is derived from a plant form which will provide added health benefits. Everyone is familiar with Olive Oil so I won’t go into the details on using this one; however here is a few that you should start using.

Avocado Oil – Is a deep green color, has a sweet aroma with a buttery texture and is becoming one of my favorites for dressings, mayonnaise, tossing with pasta and finishing oil. Cold pressing avocados produces high quality oil with low levels of acidity and oxidation while maintaining vitamin E properties. It’s lower than olive oil in saturated fatty acid content. The rich green color of avocado oil is high in chlorophyll.

Pumpkin Seed Oil – Nutty, velvety and a greenish gold color oil that is cold pressed and rich with omega fatty acids, vitamin A E K C and zinc. This oil has been around since the 18th century but is gaining popularity because of its added health benefits. It’s great for maintaining smooth skin, increase energy and lower high cholesterol levels.

Sweet Almond Oil – This light sweet and nutty oil is pressed from raw almond kernels and rich in fatty acids, vitamins D and E. It is 74% monounsaturated fat and almost of that is oleic acid and has a high smoke point at 430 degrees.

Grapeseed Oil – This oil is incredibly light with subtle sweet and floral notes with a slight tartness. Rich in vitamin E and low in saturated fat and a very high smoke point at 485 degrees making this a great cooking partner.

Macadamia Oil – Pure and decadent, this oil is cold pressed from macadamia nuts which impart a buttery sweetness that is hard to resist. This is fabulous when infused with herbs and garlic, use on seafood, pasta, vegetables and as finishing oil. It’s one of the most heart healthy oils to use with 85% monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, omega 6 and omega 3, oleic and linoleic acids.

My kitchen counter has a variety of oils and vinegars so I can make a salad dressing quickly using fresh herbs, garlic and seasonings. It’s easy and you should try it. You won’t miss those bottled dressings and you will love the variety of options you have when you grab one of these fabulous oils.

No comments: