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Which is "healthier" - canola oil or vegetable oil?


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#1 mom2jrcsc

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 10:21 PM

I've always used canola oil, but a friend of mine said she won't touch the stuff because it's bad for you. I had always heard that canola was best. Do I need to switch? I can't afford all the expensive, gourmet ones - we use a lot of oil making breads and muffins. I get it at Costco, and their vegetable oil is soybean. Is that better than canola?

#2 Holly IN

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 10:30 PM

Well Olive Oil is so much better for you. I would go for vegetable oil over canola if all that is avail to me.

I do not use veg. or canola. I only use butter, coconut oil, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
I would stay away from anything that is soybean oil. Soybean oil is known to cause infertility in both men/women and boys/girls.
Holly

#3 Parrothead

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 10:35 PM

I stay away from canola. Here is an article explaining. http://ifitandhealth...s-and-benefits/

Even though it says 2% erucic acid, that is just too much for me.

#4 Lovedtodeath

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 10:36 PM

What about Safflower oil?

#5 Spy Car

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 10:36 PM

I've always used canola oil, but a friend of mine said she won't touch the stuff because it's bad for you. I had always heard that canola was best. Do I need to switch? I can't afford all the expensive, gourmet ones - we use a lot of oil making breads and muffins. I get it at Costco, and their vegetable oil is soybean. Is that better than canola?


Conventional wisdom is Canola oil is healthier that most other "vegetable" oils (not including olive or avocado oil) as it is high in monounsaturated fats vs the polyunsaturated fats in safflower, cotton seed, sunflower, and other common "vegetable oils".

But there is a group called the "Weston Price Foundation" that has declared a internet-jihad on Canola Oil (and Soy beans and other foods) and they have been able to raise "doubts" about Canola.

So Canola is either the "best" (save olive oil) or the worst depending who you believe.

We try to stick with olive oil which is recognized as a healthful fat, and don't eat baked goods.

I'm probably not much help :tongue_smilie:

Bill

#6 Lovedtodeath

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 10:44 PM

I stay away from canola. Here is an article explaining. http://ifitandhealth...s-and-benefits/

Even though it says 2% erucic acid, that is just too much for me.


more info... http://en.wikipedia....iki/Erucic_acid Frankly, these two articles seem to say that Canola oil is just fine.

#7 Patty Joanna

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 10:52 PM

Canola is hard for the body to break down. Safflower is cheap as an alternative, and it is supposed to be pretty good for you.

#8 GretaLynne

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 11:31 PM

But there is a group called the "Weston Price Foundation" that has declared a internet-jihad on Canola Oil (and Soy beans and other foods)


:lol:

As a WAPF fan myself, I would encourage you not to use canola oil. Or soybean oil (that's actually even worse). Or vegetable oil for that matter.

The worst fats you can eat are the hydrogenated (or partially hydrogenated) ones like shortening and margarine. These are stiffer and stickier than naturally saturated fats, so they cause a host of problems when they get integrated into cell walls, deposited as plaque in arteries, etc.

Second worst I would probably say soybean oil, because in addition to the problems with other mostly-polyunsaturated oils which I'll mention below, you've also got the problem of xenoestrogens disrupting hormone balance (this is especially bad for children!).

Polyunsaturated oils, contrary to popular wisdom, are also bad for you. These are very delicate oils which can go rancid very easily. They do go rancid during normal processing, and so the product has to be treated with bleaching agents to make it into a color and odor that isn't repulsive to the consumer. As if that's not bad enough, they are also far too abundant in omega-6 fatty acids and too lacking omega-3 acids. If you're going to use polyunsaturated oils, you need to buy only cold-pressed ones, and use them only for things like salad dressing, NEVER for cooking, because they get oxidized easily with heat. If memory serves, sunflower is best because it has a better omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.

Good quality olive oil is, well, good.

Naturally saturated fats are best for cooking, because they do not go rancid easily or get oxidized easily with heat. And *naturally* saturated fats are very good for you. I use coconut oil, red palm oil, and animal fats for cooking.

So, that's my $0.02 which you are free to take or leave as you see fit. :001_smile:

http://www.westonapr...fats/index.html

#9 Lovedtodeath

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 11:37 PM

:lol: Good quality olive oil is, well, good.

Naturally saturated fats are best for cooking, because they do not go rancid easily or get oxidized easily with heat. And *naturally* saturated fats are very good for you. I use coconut oil, red palm oil, and animal fats for cooking.

So, that's my $0.02 which you are free to take or leave as you see fit. :001_smile:

http://www.westonapr...fats/index.html


Great info Greta! Does animal fats = butter? So where does one get the above oils and how much more should one expect to be spending on them?

#10 Mari

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 11:56 PM

I recently started using cast iron skillets to cook. For some reason I always thought they worked best with vegetable oil or shortening. If I'm trying to make our meals healthier, can I use olive oil with cast iron? What about seasoning them? I've always used shortening to do that. Does this make our meals less healthy if we only season with it and cook with olive oil?

Thanks,

Mari

#11 Matryoshka

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 12:16 AM

I've read all the canola pro/con arguments and came to this conclusion...

I probably don't need to get paranoid avoiding every smidgen of canola, but otoh I'm getting plenty of canola oil in all the foods from the store, as that seems to be the "popular" fat these day. Variety is the spice of life.

At home for cooking, I use olive and safflower (the latter is better for high-heat cooking), and sometimes I do use the oil sprays - olive, sunflower, and sometimes, yes, canola (but I figure the spray isn't a ton, and it's far from the only thing I use).

#12 lovelearnandlive

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 12:50 AM

Another thing to remember is to buy cold-pressed or expeller-pressed oil, whatever kind you decide to buy. Most generic vegetable oils are chemically extracted, meaning chemicals are added to break the oil down and extract it from the food. This process changes the makeup of the fats into harmful fats.

I've used expeller-pressed canola and safflower oils for cooking, but we use olive oil most of all.

#13 Ellie

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 01:18 AM

I recently started using cast iron skillets to cook. For some reason I always thought they worked best with vegetable oil or shortening. If I'm trying to make our meals healthier, can I use olive oil with cast iron? What about seasoning them? I've always used shortening to do that. Does this make our meals less healthy if we only season with it and cook with olive oil?

Just to play with your mind a little, think about this: your cast iron skillet is full of oil and whatnot from every.meal.you.cook. in it. Does that not creep you out just a little? I quit using cast iron for that very reason. I use stainless steel (more specifically, waterless cookware). I use olive oil.

You have to read the ingredients carefully on "vegetable oil" to see what kind of "vegetables" are in it. For example, it might include cottonseed oil. Cotton is not a food crop and so there are chemicals used on it which *could* leach into the seeds, which then are pressed to make oil...which *could* have those chemicals in it. Hm.

#14 Jumping In Puddles

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 06:49 AM

Just to play with your mind a little, think about this: your cast iron skillet is full of oil and whatnot from every.meal.you.cook. in it. Does that not creep you out just a little? I quit using cast iron for that very reason. I use stainless steel (more specifically, waterless cookware). I use olive oil.


Oh, no that doesn't creep me out at all! First of all, I clean my cast iron with soap, salt (as an abrasive) and a sponge every time I use it and it still is black and non stick. The cast iron actually leaches a little iron into your food... which is a good thing!

I prefer to fry or saute everything in cast iron as opposed to stainless steel.

#15 kalanamak

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 06:53 AM

The cast iron actually leaches a little iron into your food... which is a good thing!


Yes, especially if you let some tomatoey thing simmer in it a bit. I recall a study on a hamburger/tomato dish. People cooked their favourite recipe for it and they were analyzed. Only significant difference was iron content up in the samples cooked in cast iron.

#16 tinag

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 06:54 AM

What about peanut oil?

#17 momofkhm

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 06:57 AM

I recently started using cast iron skillets to cook. For some reason I always thought they worked best with vegetable oil or shortening. If I'm trying to make our meals healthier, can I use olive oil with cast iron? What about seasoning them? I've always used shortening to do that. Does this make our meals less healthy if we only season with it and cook with olive oil?

Thanks,

Mari


FWIW, I have a friend who uses cast iron skillets and only uses olive oil. She is one of the best cooks I know!

#18 JFSinIL

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 08:54 AM

We buy extra virgin olive oil in the biog cans from the local market run by a family of Italians (cheapest place to get it as they have their own brand!) and put it into smaller containers - one of which lives on the counter and is used for everything except sweet baked goods. For those I use butter or shortening or canola oil, depending on the item. I'd say we use olive oil for 70% of everything, butter is 20%, bad guys shortening and canola is 10%. We'll live.

#19 GretaLynne

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 09:17 AM

Great info Greta! Does animal fats = butter? So where does one get the above oils and how much more should one expect to be spending on them?


I do use a lot of butter, but not for things that I'm going to be cooking at high temperatures because it can scorch. I know it sounds shocking, but I use lard and tallow for high temps. I render my own from organic (and grass-fed when I can get it) beef and pork fat that I buy at a local butcher's shop. I really believe in the healthfulness of these fats when they come from healthy animals. It's only "factory farm" and "feedlot" animals that result in unhealthy fats. But if you can't bring yourself to use tallow or lard, then the saturated plant fats (coconut and palm) are the way to go. Just be aware that these will add a definite flavor to your foods. I *love* the taste of coconut oil on stir-fried vegetables and meats - it's delicious! Some people that I know love it for their eggs, but I can't handle to combo of coconut and egg. It's fantastic for baking. Personally, I absolutely love the flavor of red palm oil, but most people I know don't care for it. And it adds not only a distinctive flavor to your foods, but also a bright orange/red color!

I'll be honest, these healthy fats are going to be more expensive than the mass produced vegetable oils. There's just no two ways about it. For me, it's worth it because I've seen first hand the difference it has made in my immunity and my hormone balance. And then there's the fact that they taste so much better. I would recommend that you see if there is a local chapter of the Weston A Price Foundation in your area. They will probably be able to point you to some high quality, affordable options in your area. They might even have a buying co-op where you can collectively order large amounts of the oils from good companies such as Tropical Traditions and then split it up among the members. Barring that, you can find coconut oil in health food stores, Asian markets, and often even in the Asian section of supermarkets. Oh, and a wonderful book that I highly recommend which talks about the many health benefits of coconut oil and has lots of yummy recipes is Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Sally Fallon.

#20 GretaLynne

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 09:26 AM

What about seasoning them? I've always used shortening to do that.


Mari, I don't use cast iron, so hopefully others here will be better able to answer your question. But I personally suspect that the amount of hydrogenated fats you get from eating some chips, crackers, or cookies vastly outweighs the amount you'd get from seasoning your pans with shortening. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong!). I think if you consume healthy fats in general, this isn't going to amount to much.

#21 GretaLynne

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 09:31 AM

What about peanut oil?


I wasn't sure, so I grabbed my copy of Nourishing Traditions (my favorite all-in-one nutrition reference and cookbook) and here's what Sally Fallon has to say:

Peanut Oil contains 48 percent oleic acid, 18 percent saturated fat, and 34 percent omega-6 linoleic acid. Like olive oil, peanut oil is relatively stable and therefore appropriate for stir-frys on occasion. But the high percentage of omega-6 presents a potential danger, so use of peanut oil should be strictly limited.

That sounds a lot better than what she has to say about canola, corn, safflower, soybean, and cottonseed oils. So if one of those is what you're using right now, I'd switch!

#22 Holly IN

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 09:47 AM

I do use a lot of butter, but not for things that I'm going to be cooking at high temperatures because it can scorch. I know it sounds shocking, but I use lard and tallow for high temps.


I love foods cooked with lard. My grandmother did that for years. She went to her dr for the first time in years (I am talking many many years). Her dd forced her to go for a check up. Now the dr said she needs to stop cooking with lard and start using Veg. oil or canola oil then start using Splenda. Now when I go for Thanksgiving I have to hold my nose and eat. YUK!! So different in taste. I asked my aunt (this is last year) why grandma's green beans taste different. She said we are now cooking with Veg. oil. I had a shock and said what about lard. She said no more lard. :001_huh: I really miss my grandma's cooking. She is now partially blind so she is not cooking anymore.

So my question is: Where do you buy lard? I know walmart has one but not sure of quaility.

Thanks!

Holly

#23 Spy Car

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 01:58 PM

I wasn't sure, so I grabbed my copy of Nourishing Traditions....


So yesterday, at long last, my branch library got in a copy of "Nourishing Traditions" (which, for the "uninitiated" is the cookbook of the Weston Price Foundation movement).

I found it pretty interesting. While I often feel like I want to wear a "tin-foil hat" when visiting the Weston Price website, I was never-the-less struck by how closely my approach to healthful eating gibed with "Nourishing Traditions".

The two areas where I remain unconvinced (but will keep an "open mind") are the advocacy of "tropical oils" (such as coconut and palm) and the hostility to Canola. I do feel like I'd like to learn more about these items and willing to listen.

We barely use Canola so it is not a huge issue, but won't use other solvent extracted vegetable oils (agreeing with "Nourishing Traditions" that these are unhealthful fats). So there is a small hole for us of a bland high-smoke point oil to use when olive oil is unsuitable (which the way we eat is quite rare).

For butter fans, using ghee or clarified butter to saute removes the elements that scorch, and raises the "smoke point".

On the cast iron front, I think animal grease is the best for initial seasoning, but olive oil works fine for "upkeep" and while you could not pay be to use hydrogenated shortening I highly doubt it presents a risk as a one or two time use in the initial seasoning a cast iron pan.

And using cast iron is good for you, supplying trace iron (not aimed at Greta, who knows this :) ).

Bill

#24 5Youngs

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 02:57 PM

Just to play with your mind a little, think about this: your cast iron skillet is full of oil and whatnot from every.meal.you.cook. in it. Does that not creep you out just a little? I quit using cast iron for that very reason. I use stainless steel (more specifically, waterless cookware). I use olive oil.


Interesting. I too used to think that cast iron was yucky. I have a $$ set of stainless steel that we cook with all of the time. And I mean 3 times a day.
I am allergic to nickel, and after removing all jewelry, etc from my life, I was STILL breaking out in rashes. Did you know that Stainless steel is high in nickel content?
So, I was eliminating it externally, yet consuming nickel with every meal.
I'll take the extra 'stuff' in my cast iron skillets. I clean it out with a damp paper towel and a scraper after every use, so I know what has been in there......I am now rash-free. ;-)

NOW, to the oil question.
Don't use canola. It's a genetically altered plant.
It was developed in Canada, and was touted as healthy for the last 15 yrs.
FYI, Wikipedia is NOT an authority on anything.
Anyone can delete and/or change whatever they choose to.
If you are cooking, use peanut oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil or butter.
They can take higher temperatures without altering their makeup and rendering their nutritional content void.
Yes, it's more expensive than the other junk, but how much oil are you seriously needing to use?
Olive oil is fantastic, but if you are heating it, you are destroying the very compounds that make it healthy.
Add it after cooking, before serving.
Do not cook with it.

#25 Holly IN

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 03:34 PM

Olive oil is fantastic, but if you are heating it, you are destroying the very compounds that make it healthy.
Add it after cooking, before serving.
Do not cook with it.



So what do you use to cook?

Holly

#26 tinag

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 04:32 PM

I wasn't sure, so I grabbed my copy of Nourishing Traditions (my favorite all-in-one nutrition reference and cookbook) and here's what Sally Fallon has to say:

Peanut Oil contains 48 percent oleic acid, 18 percent saturated fat, and 34 percent omega-6 linoleic acid. Like olive oil, peanut oil is relatively stable and therefore appropriate for stir-frys on occasion. But the high percentage of omega-6 presents a potential danger, so use of peanut oil should be strictly limited.

That sounds a lot better than what she has to say about canola, corn, safflower, soybean, and cottonseed oils. So if one of those is what you're using right now, I'd switch!

Thanks for looking that up for me! :)

#27 GretaLynne

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 07:17 PM

I love foods cooked with lard. My grandmother did that for years. She went to her dr for the first time in years (I am talking many many years). Her dd forced her to go for a check up. Now the dr said she needs to stop cooking with lard and start using Veg. oil or canola oil then start using Splenda. Now when I go for Thanksgiving I have to hold my nose and eat. YUK!! So different in taste. I asked my aunt (this is last year) why grandma's green beans taste different. She said we are now cooking with Veg. oil. I had a shock and said what about lard. She said no more lard. :001_huh: I really miss my grandma's cooking. She is now partially blind so she is not cooking anymore.


Your poor Grandma. Sometimes doctors make me livid. My Grandma made it to 90 in excellent health, and now ever since she started following her doctor's idiotic nutrition advice, she's getting worse. But I think I'll stop talking about that, to keep my blood pressure at a healthy level!

So my question is: Where do you buy lard? I know walmart has one but not sure of quaility.


The packaged lard in stores is usually partially hydrogenated and, to me, smells rancid, so I would avoid it like the plague. Do you have a butcher's shop where you could buy some pork fat? That's what I do. And then I heat it on VERY low heat either in my oven on it's lowest setting or in a big covered stockpot on very low heat, strain out the connective tissue and other "stuff" and what you're left with is the lard.

#28 5Youngs

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 08:11 PM

So what do you use to cook?

Holly


I use coconut oil and grapeseed oil for cooking.
I bake with 1/2 butter 1/2 grapeseed oil.
And I use olive oil on our food after cooking it.

#29 Lovedtodeath

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 09:33 PM

I use coconut oil and grapeseed oil for cooking.
I bake with 1/2 butter 1/2 grapeseed oil.
And I use olive oil on our food after cooking it.


You have been very helpful. What kind of things do you use olive oil for specifically?

#30 Peela

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 04:37 AM

I'm in the "canola oil is toxic, don't touch the stuff" camp, although sometimes I buy processed foods, like ready made chips, that have canola oil- not often though and if I have a choice, I wont.

I use olive oil, butter, ghee (clarified butter) and sometimes coconut oil for cooking. If I had to really watch my pennies with oil- I would still use olive oil, butter, ghee or coconut oil, because its pretty important to me that I dont eat or feed my fmaily oils that are basically not good to consume.
I like to look at what traditional cultures used to eat, because the recent inventions (polyunsaturated oils for example) havent been around long enough, and people have lost touch with their inner knowing and given up their authority to food manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies. It takes work and time to soft through and find what is true and what is lies amongst the information spread through the general media.

#31 cillakat

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 06:24 AM

all of the plant based 'seed' oils are too high in omega 6 to be nutritionally beneficial - canola, safflower, sunflower, corn, soybean etc.

The processing to which they are generally subjected is a whole additional issue.

I'd encourage anyone to avoid all of them if possible, sticking with buttter, olive oil and coconut oil (unrefined) as needed. better yet would be to avoid 'free oil' in general, using oils only as they occur in the food itself (ie avocado, coconut, meat, fish etc) but that's not very fun:P or tasty so I for sure don't do that.

Sticking with butter, EVOO and coconut oil though will pretty much get you anywhere you need to go.

:)
K

#32 TraceyS/FL

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 06:36 AM

OK, i can't stand coconut - i'm assuming that i'd not like Coconut oil? Just the thought makes me want to puke! LOL!!!

I'm pondering all this.... can i use applesauce in place of oil in baking?

#33 Lovedtodeath

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 09:12 AM

OK, i can't stand coconut - i'm assuming that i'd not like Coconut oil? Just the thought makes me want to puke! LOL!!!

I'm pondering all this.... can i use applesauce in place of oil in baking?


Cream, sour cream, cream cheese and yogurt work fairly well. I have used coconut milk in baking as a sub for milk and could not tell. When using coconut oil in baking, I don't think it had an off flavor, but the texture was not good. Coconut oil did not work as a sub for shortening or butter. HTH

#34 Mamagistra

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 10:16 AM

My random thought...canola is heavily genetically-modified, and I strive to avoid GMO foods. While I feel quite sure that there are health issues associated with the use of GMOs, I am outraged that mega corporations such as Monsanto are utilizing GMOs to essentially control the world's food supply, thereby destroying small, local, accountable, and sustainable farming.

FWIW, we use organic butter (raw when possible), lard rendered from mostly-pastured pigs, organic coconut oil, and EVOO. :001_smile:

#35 Ishki

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 10:31 AM

Okay, from someone who knows very little about this and is now more confused than ever: when baking with olive oil (say quick breads like cornbread) does olive oil leave any flavor. I use primarily olive oil outside of baking when I use canola oil. I use butter mostly but do have a tub of Smart Balance in the fridge.

What do you use coconut oil for? Baking?

Oh, and how about pie crust with olive oil. Any flavor of the olive oil?

Janet

#36 5Youngs

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 10:53 AM

Okay, from someone who knows very little about this and is now more confused than ever: when baking with olive oil (say quick breads like cornbread) does olive oil leave any flavor. I use primarily olive oil outside of baking when I use canola oil. I use butter mostly but do have a tub of Smart Balance in the fridge.

What do you use coconut oil for? Baking?

Oh, and how about pie crust with olive oil. Any flavor of the olive oil?

Janet


It is pretty sad that it takes so much effort to shop and eat healthy now.
Ridiculous, if you ask me.
Still, my family's health is important enough to me that I am finishing up my B.S. in Holistic Nutrition.

Olive oil does lend it's flavor to whatever you are cooking.
I personally despise it's taste for baking.
I use grapeseed oil or butter, my preference is a mixture of both, when I'm baking.
Or in pancakes, biscuits, cornbread, piecrust, whatever.
Peanut oil is fine, but you'll probably only want to use 3/4 of the amount of fat called for in the recipe.
It converts just fine in every recipe that I"ve tried.
Coconut oil is yummy in baked goods, smoothies, eggs, etc.
It has a very clean flavor, as long as you use a good quality oil that has not been heated or chemically processed. Nutiva is my personal favorite.
You can get it online, at Whole Foods, and even at the Walmart here.
I "fry" very rarely, but when I do, I save the leftover oil in a jar, just like grandma did.
It saves up just fine in the fridge......
HTH

You have been very helpful. What kind of things do you use olive oil for specifically?


I use olive oil on pasta, before serving.
The flavor is absolutely fantastic this way!

I use it to make a balsamic vinegarette: splash of olive oil, splash of balsamic, freshly ground pepper and sea salt. Whisk in a bowl and pour over your salad. It takes 10 seconds and is perfect.

I use it on homemade pizza, just as it comes out of the oven.

I add it to my homemade soups, as I am serving.

It just adds a perfect finishing touch, especially to anything that contains tomatoes!
HTH~

#37 5Youngs

5Youngs

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 11:38 AM

Easy Pie crust recipe
makes two 8 or 9 inch pie crusts

1 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, grapeseed oil, or butter (cut into small chunks)
3 tbsp. cold water

mix flour and salt in a bowl.
Add oil; mix with fork until oil is absorbed and crumbly.
Sprinkle with water; mix.
(add more water if too dry)
Divide into two small balls.
Wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate until ready to us.
Just press it into your pan with your fingers~ no need to roll out!:001_smile:
Be sure to randomly prick the crust with the tines of a fork a few times to prevent the crust from making bubbles and cracking.....

This is super fast if you have a food processor!

Use for tarts, quiche, pie or just roll out and sprinkle with a little cinnamon and sugar for a fun winter treat for kids!


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