Cooking with fats and keeping them healthy

Olive oilI’ve been spending some time looking into cooking with fats and what is going to be healthier for my family.

My starting point was with olive oil because everything I read in the general media screamed it is ‘better’ for you. Then I became aware of cooking temperature and it’s affect on fats. Basically heat causes fats to break down into free-radicals which bounce about and can damage cells (also causing ageing) antioxidants which you hear a lot about, mop these free-radicals up which is why they’re a good thing. Anyway, certain fats are more stable at high temperatures than others, as a rule of thumb the more solid a fat is at room temp the higher the temp it can handle before it starts breaking down, so actually your Nan who cooks with lard and butter was onto something.

Then the juggernaut of coconut derivatives hit and I got into using coconut oil (which is actually solid and looks like lard) which does not taste of coconut, although certain brands do smell of it when it’s heated. This is a great fat to use in cooking but sadly it is also expensive.

I then started reading about ghee, which is essentially the pure fat from butter without the additional milky bits. Ghee is health wise considered to be considerably better for you than straight butter.

This is a great article on the health benefits of ghee and if you skip to the bottom it tells you how to make it

Then I discovered you can mix ghee and coconut oil together, 50/50 and it works brilliantly for cooking everything from stir-frys to soup. I keep it in the fridge and just scoop out what I need when I need it.

This is a great glance at chart for what fats work at what temps:

The reality is most people and recipes require cooking with fats but there choices that can make it a little healthier.

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