Cooking Oil – A Source of Improved Health and Convenience
Cooking oil is known to be used primarily in the kitchen but can also be used for various other purposes which make it extremely advantageous. The market today also has several healthier options that the health-conscious people can opt for. The different flavours of the oils are also used as deciding factors for the type of dish they can be used in – like how coconut oil is mostly used to prepare seafood dishes.
Basic Properties of Cooking Oil
Extracted from different sources such as plants or synthetic fat, cooking oil is used for multiple purposes such as frying, baking as well as to make salad dressings or dips. The fact that the oil is mainly used as a consumable product also gives it the term edible oil. Every oil that is extracted contains fatty acids, which when consumed by the human body are broken down and are eventually released into the body as energy.
Assortment of Cooking Oils and Their Uses
The market has a variety of cooking oils available today that are extracted from different seeds belonging to different plants. With time, many healthier versions of cooking oils are being discovered that are helping expand the market. As per the latest report by Research Dive, the global cooking oil market is predicted to rise from $1,67,600 million in 2020 to over $2,56,200 billion by 2028, at a steady CAGR of 5.5% from 2021-2028.
Mostly used in the process of cooking, each dish requires a different type of oil in order for it to be cooked perfectly. Some of the prominently used cooking oils are given below:
- Ghee – Also known as clarified butter, ghee is the resultant product of boiling butter. In the process of its making, milk protein is eliminated from ghee to make itsuitable for those who are lactose intolerant. Ghee is mostly comprised of full fat, and hence it is advised that only a small quantity of about one tablespoon should be consumed on a daily basis. This popular source of good fat is mainly used in the preparation of several sweet dishes as well as a topping on savoury food items.
- Coconut Oil – Coconut oil has been used for centuries for several purposes including cooking. As the name states, the oil is extracted from dried coconuts and is full of nutrients that can help boost an individual’s health. The fat in coconut oil is easier to break down and hence the body finds it easier to convert it into energy. Due to this, the body does not store it as extra fat, making it a healthier source. It can be used for shallow frying or sautéing food which adds a slightly toasted flavour to dishes. But it’s important to note that coconut oil solidifies at room or cold temperatures and isn’t advisable to be used as a marinade or in the form of vinaigrette.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Discovered by the Mediterranean people, this oil quickly gained popularity due to its flavour and its quality to be used in every dish irrespective of region. Olive oil is normally devoid of any external chemicals as its extraction process is extremely natural which helps preserve the nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. It is mostly used in the making of pastas and pizzas along with being a dominant element in several salad dressings.
- Sesame Oil –Sesame seeds are a prominent source of nutrients which can also be found in sesame oil. It contains antioxidants which are known to help cells grow at a slower pace while letting them replicate. This ensures better skin health while also making sure the blood sugar levels are lowered. The oil also contains over 17% of Vitamin K, a nutrient, that enhances bone health and prevents harmful blood clots within the body.
- Avocado Oil – A fairly new introduction into the market, avocado oil has a very distinct creamy flavour, almost similar to guacamoleand can be used to prepare a variety of dishes. The oil that contains healthy fats is also good for the heart as it assists in prevention of heart disease while controlling the blood pressure level.
Cooking oils are indeed a great way to ensure that the dish is cooked perfectly while adding not just flavour but nutrition as well. They need to be used in controlled proportions to ensure that it doesnot have an adverse reaction on an individual’s health.
Other Unconventional Uses of Cooking oil
The process of cooking always results in leftovers which also includes the oil that has been used to cook the dishes for the day. Most of the times on a domestic level, it is either reused or poured down the drain which could end up causing blockages in the drain. It is also extremely harmful for the environment which makes it important to reuse it in the best way possible. Due to its versatility, cooking oil apart from its original purpose can also be used for several other reasons as well.
- Polishing and Conditioning Wooden Furniture –Upon repeatedly using furniture, it tends to lose its lustre which can easily be brought back byusing oil. All one needs to do is mix equal portions of cooking oil and vinegar in a spray bottle, shake and spray it generously on the wooden surfaces of the furniture, and then wipe it with a clean cloth. This brings back the shine and even reduces the appearance of any scratches.
- Household Lubricant – Most of the householdsdo not necessarily have industrial grade lubricants at hand. In such cases, cooking oil of any type can be used on the rusty surface to ensure smoother movement of door hinges or loosening locks.
- As a Catalyst for Compost – Houses that make their own compost can help speed up the composting process by adding a small quantity of oil to the soil. This provides the earthworms more energy to break down the compost at a faster pace. But it is extremely necessary, that one uses vegetable-based oils and not animal-based oils as the latter could attract rodents.
- Easier Pain Removal –The process of painting especially with latex paint can be messy and difficult to remove. One of the simplest methods to do so is by rubbing some used cooking oil onto the hands and letting it rest for 5 minutes. It will gradually loosen up and emulsify with the oil. This makes it easier to wipe it away and then wash the paint off the hands.
Though they’re known as cooking oils, most of them can be used for several external applications as well. Coconut oil for instance, can also be used as hair oil as it helps in providing strength to the hair follicles. It can also be used to moisturize the skin in the colder seasons. This versatility of cooking oils has ensured their rising demand among people and in the market.