For years, low-fat diets have been preached as the answer to losing weight, managing cholesterol and health problems. There is more to a good diet than the amount of fat you consume, it’s about the types of fat you eat that are important, as good fats actually work to protect your heart and support your overall health.
Trans fat fall under the “bad fats” umbrella, while monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are the “good fats”. Saturated fats are fine to consume in small amounts, but can however be problematic in large quantities- coconut oil is a beautiful example of a good saturated fat, and is one that frequently features in my recipes. There are a range of natural foods and fresh produce that offer good fats, such as nuts, avocados, olives, fatty fish or tofu, and there are also a huge variety of oils that can deliver these good and beneficial fats to your diet.
The list of oils is long and it seems to be getting longer and more confusing with new products and labels coming to market every month. When choosing which oil to cook with, key points such as consistency, burning point, flavour and rancidity should all be considered. Read what oils are good for you to use in the kitchen.
Once you know which oil you’re cooking with, here are five things you should look for when picking a brand to buy:
1. Local production
While you might have the taste of past Mediterranean travels alluring you to purchase an imported product, the key to a quality oil is to actually buy locally. The further your oil has to travel, and the more it is handled, the more likely it is that the quality and freshness of the oil is impacted.
2. Harvest and/or best before date
Make sure you check the dates! As it is a natural product, this oil is going to deteriorate over time. A truly high quality oil will present its origin and lifespan to you.
3. Dark glass
The reason so many oils are packaged in dark glass is because it protects the oil inside, not because production thinks it looks good! The dark glass means that light and temperature changes are less able to penetrate the glass and affect the oil. Be wary of oils in clear glass, as they may possess preservatives to extend their shelf life.
The supermarket shelf can be an overwhelming place with so many brands to choose from, and to the average shopper, so few differentiators. If you’re in this situation, look for brand names you know, trust, and have enjoyed before. Additionally, look for endorsement from an Australian association or industry peak bodies such as the Australian Olive Association for example.
Nothing assures quality than having it recognised and awarded among other oil producers and industry bodies- this is an excellent and obvious indication of which brands are best!
Now you know what’s what in the world of oils, how to use them, and how to buy them, hope you enjoy my beautiful oil-inclusive recipes below.