What is acrolein used for?

Which cooking oil is the right one?

As of: 03/29/2020 9:08 pm | archive

Whether made from rapeseed, olives or pumpkin seeds - edible oils are excellent flavor carriers and refine vegetables, fish and meat. But which oil is particularly suitable for cold dishes? Which one is ideal for frying?

Rapeseed oil is the most commonly used

There are many edible oils, but which oil is suitable for what?

The various edible oils differ in terms of type, quality, production and heat stability. Until a few decades ago, rapeseed oil was only used as a lubricating and lamp oil. It contained bitter substances and so-called erucic acid, which is reputed to be harmful to health. Both were largely bred out. Rapeseed oil is by far the most frequently used cooking oil in Germany, followed by sunflower oil and olive oil.

Production: Native means natural

Edible oils are either cold-pressed or refined. Cold-pressed means that seeds, kernels or fruits are pressed out purely mechanically. They are also called native - left in their natural state. "The good thing about cold pressing is that the vitamins and other ingredients are retained," explains Dr. Bertrand Matthäus from the Max Rubner Institute, the Federal Research Institute for Nutrition and Food. The smell and taste of the oil are retained during this process. The cold-pressed oils are very aromatic and particularly recommended for cold dishes or for preparing salads. In terms of heat stability, cold-pressed oils have disadvantages. Although they can withstand temperatures between 120 and 190 degrees, the taste and healthy ingredients are lost at even higher temperatures.

Pay attention to the smoke point

The so-called smoke point is important: if an oil starts to smoke, it is already too hot. Although this reduces the quality of the oil, it is harmless. However, if the smoke leads to watery eyes or a scratchy throat, acrolein has been created. And that's poisonous. This oil should be disposed of.

Some cold-pressed oils, such as linseed oil, shouldn't be heated at all. These aromatic edible oils are only added after cooking to improve the taste. Linseed oil is also the oil with the highest omega-3 fat content, so it is particularly healthy.

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Refined oils can be used universally

Refined oils are very heat resistant. During their production, the seeds or fruits are not only pressed, but also heated to a high temperature, or the oil is extracted from the seeds in a chemical process. Both processes are more productive than native production. The oil has to be cleaned afterwards - i.e. refined. The filtering removes turbid substances from the oil, but also taste and odor substances. Refined oils are therefore tasteless, but can be used universally. Refined olive oil can withstand temperatures of up to 230 degrees Celsius.

For high temperatures, e.g. when deep-frying, there are so-called high oleic oils. These are oils from special sunflower, rapeseed or thistle varieties. Coconut oil is also very heat-stable and versatile.

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Grades for olive oil

EU law regulates the quality classes of olive oil. If the bottle says "Olive Oil" or "Olio di Oliva", it is a mixture of refined and cold-pressed oil. "Virgin olive oil" - also called "vergine" - is of higher quality. It is exclusively cold-pressed. "Extra virgin olive oil" is the highest grade. This oil must not have any sensory defects. According to a study by Stiftung Warentest, however, not all manufacturers adhere to this regulation: A test from 2017 showed that ten out of 24 supermarket oils tested did not correspond to the specified quality class "extra virgin". Almost all olive oils in the supermarkets are mixtures from different EU countries.

How do I know if an oil is still good?

Whether cold-pressed or refined: once opened, cooking oil likes it cool and, above all, dark. Refined oils last around six months, cold-pressed oils around two. The oil should not smell rancid or musty. A bitter, pungent and fruity taste indicates good quality.

Palm oil - inexpensive but controversial

Palm oil has a particularly long shelf life - an inexpensive oil that is used in the food industry for many finished products. It comes from the fruit of the oil palm. "The interesting thing about the palm oil plant is that it has a very high yield," says Bertrand Matthäus from the Max Rubner Institute. "And the other important aspect is that the fatty acid composition is interesting and gives the food a certain firmness and structure. This means that palm oil is incorporated into many foods." However, there is also a lot of criticism of palm oil. Experts warn that palm oil could be involved in causing cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In addition, according to the WWF, forests are cleared and orangutans and tigers are displaced from their habitat to extract palm oil.

Oily helpers

Some edible oils can also be used to care for bicycles, furniture, shoes or the skin. For unpainted wood that comes into contact with food, vegetable oils are even recommended because they seal the surface. Refined edible oils can be used for leather care. Edible oil is also suitable for skin care and massages. Edible oil, on the other hand, should not be used on metal, because it becomes resinous, i.e. the liquid oil becomes more and more solid over time.

What to do with old cooking oil

Old and excess oil should on no account be dumped down the sink or into the toilet, because fat deposits clog the sewer pipes and cause millions in damage. It is better to dispose of the oil in the general waste. Oily dishes should also be wiped off with kitchen paper before they go into the dishwasher, otherwise there is a risk of constipation in the long run.

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Know more - live better | 03/31/2020 | 3:15 p.m.