Which Oil?

Aug 29, 2013 by

This title reminds me of Which magazine that my father used to pour over prior to making any big purchase. But honestly you would need to do your research before; “God forbid” you would believe a label!

That Guardian article was the final straw for me. I was not going to line Mafia coffers ever again.

Pork lard and olive oil contain oleic acid

Olive oil adulterated with cheaper oils and passed off as extra virgin, first cold pressed and the rest.

Now the way to overcome this is probably to buy the uber-expensive, single estate oils that cost a king’s ransom. I don’t know about anyone else, but to me it’s a huge waste – if you are going to fry with it.  I have no problem using it for a dressing but……

So I have changed from using all olive oil to using the really good stuff for making dressings. I’m a bit of a traditionalist in that I like the taste in dressings. I use sunflower oil in mayonnaise. I tried organic sunflower oil and it was vile. Apparently the non-organic is filtered and refined and most of the flavour removed. Maybe if I had persevered I would have developed a palate for it, but it was very strong and overpowering.

For frying and roasting I use rapeseed oil. I usually buy it from my fruit and veg man at the farmers’ market over at Sheridans. He only sold a Dutch brand and when I asked him why, he told me none of the producers in Ireland are organic.  But apparently Second Nature Oils based in Kilkenny are producing organic oil so I must try to source some.  I prefer to buy organic and use less than use lots of non-organic.

I also use my pork fat rendered down for frying and roasting. It makes the most amazing roast potatoes as it has a very high melting point. This basically means it does not burn at roasting temperatures and become denatured or degrade into nasty toxic and carcinogenic chemicals (see here). It also means food cooked in it does not absorb as much fat as would normally be the case. Horray!

Lard (read this link, it’s fantastic) from organically reared and free range pigs is probably one of the healthiest saturated fats. It is beginning to enjoy a revival of sorts although official bodies have yet to wake up and smell the roses. But you know granny knew best and probably still does.

Nearly half the fat in lard is monounsaturated. This is the type of fat that is good for you and is 90% oleic acid (a fatty acid), the same as found in olive oil. Oleic means derived from olives. If you read the article it even goes so far as suggesting, if you replace the quantity of carbohydrate in your diet with an equal quantity of lard you actually reduce the risk of heart attack.

I have also tried it in savoury pastry and can confirm it gives a really delicious flaky texture.  I’m pretty sure it can be used in a sweet pastry as well, I just have not tried it yet.  I suppose some of that old brainwashing that all animal fat is bad is still a bit of a hurdle to overcome for most and some of it still lingers in the back of my head, but I’m getting there.

I’m even going to try out the Lardy cake recipe in The Independent link above.

Which magazine might not be consulted as much any more, but for oils and fats an equivalent really should be.

Buyer beware. 
Tags: Which cooking oil  Adulterated olive oil Organic rape seed oil  Second Nature Oils  Organic and free range pork fat

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  1. Going to try it when my cooking apples are ripe 😉

  2. You should try using half lard/half butter for your pastry 🙂

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