There is a myriad of fats and oils stacked up and down the cooking oil aisle. While fats and oils are an integral part of cooking, they’re not created equally. From searing to frying, choosing the right one, for the right dish, can make all the difference.
Some fats and oils are linked to better cholesterol levels and heart health, while others can be highly processed and considered unhealthy if consumed regularly. Eating more ‘good’ fats and oils whilst limiting the others is a wise move that can contribute to better overall health.
But getting your head around fats and oils can be confusing, so we enlisted the help of Purition Founder (and healthy home cooking aficionado!), Edward…
Use the right fat for the right dish
“I like to cook, so I have lots of different kinds of fats for cooking and eating at home. Fats are essential and make real food taste great. The right fat for the right dish makes an amazing difference to the outcome,”
“Personally, I don’t eat rapeseed oil (known as canola oil in the USA), because it’s commercially processed. Instead, I swap it out for ghee (clarified butter) or olive or coconut oil.”
Standard rapeseed oil is often labelled as vegetable oil in the UK. Vegetable oils are highly refined and processed, meaning they can lack both flavour and nutrition. Plus, vegetable oil is oxidised during processing. Oxidised oils can contribute to inflammation and pain in the body, even if the oil looks, smells and tastes fine.
“I never use margarine, vegetable shortening or seed oils. The exception may be sunflower oil if I need to deep fry something terribly bad for me! But I only do this once in a while.”
No margarine? Yes, you heard right! Butter was once demonised for being high in saturated fat—and everyone started loading up on margarine in its place. But butter is a nutritious and natural product, made simply from churned cow’s milk. In contrast, margarine is a highly processed food, packed with an endless list of artificial ingredients and emulsifiers.
The butter vs. margarine battle rages on, but here at Purition, we’re firmly on team butter. Just make sure to choose high-quality, grass-fed butter, which is higher in healthy nutrients like omega-3s and vitamin A, D, K and E.
We like using…
- Virgin olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
However, it’s important to consider that all fats and oils, regardless of whether they are considered ‘healthier’ fats, should be used in moderation.
Choosing your oil
Here’s what fats and oils we’d typically recommend for different cooking methods:
Frying → Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil or ghee
Roasting → Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, ghee, lard or dripping
Stir frying → Virgin olive oil or avocado oil
Searing → Ghee or virgin olive oil
Adding extra flavour → Add a little grass-fed butter, bacon fat or duck fat, or sesame oil for Asian dishes
Here’s what Edward would recommend for popular dishes, with health and taste in mind…
- Ghee (clarified butter) in curries (check out Edward’s go-to chicken curry recipe).
- Coconut oil for pancakes because it doesn’t burn.
- Butter and black pepper on vegetables.
- Coconut oil for Thai/Asian food.
- Olive oil for roasted vegetables.
- Olive oil for pan-frying meat or fish, with a Iittle butter for extra flavour.
- Lard or beef dripping for roast potatoes.
- Sesame oil for drizzling on stir-fries.
- Bacon fat for frying eggs.
- Butter for scrambled eggs.
- Olive oil for omelettes.
- Butter or lard for birthday cakes and baking.