When an oil you’re cooking with smokes (reaches the smoke point) it actually begins to decompose and will lose some of its nutritional value. That’s why it’s so important to match your oil type with your cooking method. 1. In high heat applications (445 to 510 degrees Fahrenheit) such as frying, wok cooking, or popping popcorn you want to use a high smoke point oil such as safflower, sunflower, sesame, avocado, almond, or canola. High heat oils allow the true taste of your food to come through. 2. In medium-high heat applications (360 to 440 degrees Fahrenheit) it is best to use canola, grapeseed, walnut, safflower, coconut, or soy oils. These are great for sautéing because of their neutral flavor and work well with general purpose baking. 3. In medium heat applications (280 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit) it’s best to use oils with a fuller flavor like sesame, peanut, olive, corn, or coconut oil. They’re best used for sauces, salad dressings, or sautéing where the oil is intended to part of the flavor of the dish. There are also other oils that are considered “nutritional oils” such as flax. These have very low smoke points with robust flavors so they’re normally poured over a dish after cooking is complete or they can be taken directly. By using the right oil for the right cooking method your food will not only taste better, but you will preserve the healthful benefits.
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