Fats, Oils and Vinegars can be confusing – what is good and what is bad?

Fats, Oils and Vinegars

This has to be the most confusing ingredient to choose for most consumers.  For many years, Americans were told that hydrogenated fats like margarine were better for us.  Then polyunsaturated vegetable oils were given the big thumbs up as an answer to high cholesterol.  We hear butter is good, then it is bad.  So far no one has bashed olive oil.  What is right?

Traditional fats and oils that have nourished populations for thousands of years are preferred for cooking.  Historically, most cultures have cooked with fats that are stable and less likely to go rancid and this our primary criteria.  Whenever possible, organic is preferred.  Top picks:

Butter is 66% saturated fat, 30% monounsaturated fats.  It is stable, has fewer rancidity problems and maintains its integrity when cooked.  Butter contains lauric acid, lecithin, vitamins A & D.  If the butter comes from cows allowed access to pasture, the possible presence of omega 3 fatty acids increases.
Ghee is clarified butter. It is made by heating butter, scooping off the protein solids and allowing the water to evaporate.  Ghee can hold a higher temperature than butter.  This is the traditional fat used in Indian food; thought to magnify all of the good qualities of the food surrounding it.
Unrefined Coconut Oil is a saturated fat that is stable at room temperature and contains lauric acid.  Its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial properties make it the perfect fat for rapidly decomposing foods in tropics, so it is definitely not a local or seasonal food. Works well in baked goods for those choosing to be vegan.
Cold-pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil must be mechanically produced with no heat according to standards set by International Olive Oil Council of Madrid.  Extra virgin oil comes from the first pressing of the olives and is only 1% acid or less. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats which are cholesterol-free and help with its stability.  The deeper the color, the more intense the flavor.
Unrefined Sesame Oil is a traditional oil from the Asian culture.  It is 46% monounsaturated and 41% polyunsaturated.  The poly part is protected from rancidity by “sesamol” an antioxidant naturally present in the seed.  This oil has a distinct, delicious flavor.
Refined Expeller Pressed Oils For very occasional high heat cooking we use refined, expeller pressed grapeseed, safflower, sunflower or peanut oil.  Not recommended for regular consumption.
Balsamic Vinegar Nobody can afford the real deal on this product but most of us really enjoy the robust flavor of the less expensive, less aged versions of this vinegar.  Simple homemade vinegar and oil dressings are cheaper and healthier than bottled dressings
Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar Adds a sharp bright flavor and friendly bacteria to food it is served on/in.  A few sprinkles really brightens up beans.


Fats and oils need to be kept in cool dark places in sealed containers.  The fats we have chosen are quite stable and most can be stored in small quantities on the shelf and used up quickly (within a few weeks).  Butter, however, needs to be kept in a butter keeper (if you want it soft) or in the refrigerator.

Vinegars can be kept indefinitely on the shelf.

By cookusinterruptus.com

Here is a salad for you to try using healthy oils and vinegars…
           Grapefruit, Fennel & Chicken Salad with Citrus Ginger & Chili Dressing

Crunchy, crisp salad, the perfect balance between sweet, sour, salty & hot. Fennel lends a liquorice flavour which is balanced with the
citrus flavours.

Serving Size  : 6    
    1                    fennel bulb — sliced finely
   2                    grapefruit — red ruby,segments
   1                    apple — granny smith, finely sliced
   2      cups          snow  peas — julienned
  1/2                cucumber — english, julienned
   1                    head romaine lettuce — shredded
   2                    medium carrots — shaved
   4                    chicken breast — cooked, shredded or rotisserie chicken, shredded
   1/2  cup           coriander — rough chopped
   6                    spring onion – julienned
     1/2  cup           fresh orange juice
     1/4  cup           apple cider vinegar
     1/4  cup           extra virgin olive oil
   1      tsp           chili sauce
     1/2  tsp           stevia
   2      tsp           fresh ginger — finely grated
     1/2  tsp           sea salt

1. Whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Peel the
grapefruit, and working over the bowl with a small paring knife remove the
whole segments. Squeeze the remaining juice into the bowl. Adjust dressing
for sweet or salty. Using a mandoline slicer or sharp knife finely slice the
remaining salad ingredients and toss through the dressing immediately. Add
the shredded cooked chicken. Add the romaine leaves and cilantro right
before serving. Serves 6

Web Page: chefcarolgreen.com
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 Need help shopping?  I do one-on-one grocery shopping trips where I show you how to read labels, pick foods that are actually good for you and show you how to save money even at Whole Foods.  Contact wendy@fitfoodcoach.com


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