1001 Sorts of Oil, And What You Should Use Them For
It's time for an oil change
Ever found yourself confused by the vast variety of available oils in the supermarket aisles—asking yourself whether you should grab walnut, coconut, or sesame oil? Don’t panic! We will introduce you to the most exciting types of oil and how to use them for cooking.
The Classic: Olive Oil
Olive oil is the one with the biggest selection. You can compare it with wine: There are oil tasters, which can distinguish the quality and taste of hundreds of varieties, and even competitions in which the best droplets are awarded. Depending on variety of olive, region of origin, climate, and harvest year, olive oils can have huge differences in taste.
Gourmets rely on different native varieties, which can taste more and less fruity, bitter, or spicy. For example, Italians love to drizzle a few drops of freshly pressed oil over the spicy winter stew called "ribollita." With a mild, yet fruity variety, you can even give creamy desserts or frozen yogurt a special touch.
What’s more: Olive oil can be divided into refined and extra-virgin oil. While refined olive oil is extremely heat-stable and therefore suitable for frying, extra-virgin olive oil is highly sensitive to heat and should not be used for searing. However, it’s an excellent choice for roasting at moderate temperatures up to 180°C/350°F, stewing, and steaming.
The Omega-3 Superstar: Flaxseed Oil
In terms of a healthy fatty acid ratio, flaxseed oil scores best. So, if you want to do yourself a bit of good, mix a tablespoon of flaxseed oil into your morning smoothie or a delicious dip for vegetables. The oil is nutty and sometimes slightly bitter in taste. Since it is very sensitive, you should only buy small amounts of light-protected jars and store them in your refrigerator. Chia, hemp, camelina, and walnut oil are also rich in Omega-3 and should be used and stored the same way.
The Regional: Rapeseed Oil
Rapeseed oil sounds far from exciting at first. If you’re only familiar with the almost transparent, flavor-neutral rapeseed oil, you’re missing out and should definitely give virgin and natural rapeseed oil a try! It scores with a perfect balanced ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, looks golden yellow, and has a slightly nutty flavor. It tastes especially delicious when used in homemade mayonnaise and aioli, or even in a mustard-rapeseed oil dressing for potato salad.
The Nutty Ones: Oils from Walnuts, Almonds, and Co.
Whether hazelnut, walnut, macadamia or almond: Oils from nuts are extremely healthy and taste exceptionally aromatic when toasted and made into oil. The flavors of almond and hazelnut oil are reminiscent of marzipan and nougat, making them ideal for baking. Try replacing a portion of butter in your cookie and cake recipes with it. Toasted walnut oil, on the other hand, pairs perfectly with beetroot—try sprinkling it over roasted beets or drizzle it onto a beet soup for a nutty finishing touch.
The Intense Ones: Pumpkin Seed Oil and Toasted Sesame Oil
Dark green pumpkin seed oil makes a great impression, and not only when drizzled atop pumpkin soup. The spicy yet nutty oil also tastes great in pesto, dressings for salads or dotted onto crackers with roasted vegetables and cheese. In Austria, you can even find vanilla ice cream served with this aromatic oil. Since it is strong in taste, you should use it sparingly. Oil which is pressed from toasted sesame is also very robust in taste. Only a few drops are enough to give Asian dishes the final touch.
The All-Rounder: Coconut Oil
Many people use this tropical oil for their skin- and haircare but, of course, it’s also well suited for cooking. Its fatty acids are particularly digestible and can even fight viruses and bacteria.
Another plus: It can withstand high heats and is therefore suitable for frying and baking. Even at these high temperatures, it will retain its fine coconut aroma. It’s excellent for preparing savory coconut fried potatoes with a dusting of curry powder, but also for sweet pancakes and crêpes!
Which oil do you prefer to use for which recipe? Tell us in the comments!
Published on March 6, 2018