Hi Mrs T,Mrs.Tigersoap said:In Belgium, we have something called Blanc de Boeuf (Ox white) or Ossewit. It's beef fat. Belgium is well known for French fries. It's because they are cooked in Blanc de boeuf. That's what gives the fries that particular taste.
So, I guess one could use Blanc de boeuf to cook as well?
As others have pointed out, this would need to be organic, since toxins are stored in fat.
May I ask where forum members buy their lard/duck fat? From organic markets/butchers?
HEATING OLIVE OIL AND SMOKE POINT
One of the questions we are asked most often is what happens when olive oil is heated and/or used for frying. The important thing about cooking with any oil (olive or otherwise) is not to heat the oil over its smoke point (also referred to as smoking point). The smoke point refers to the temperature at which a cooking fat or oil begins to break down. The substance smokes or burns, and gives food an unpleasant taste. But what is the smoke point of olive oil? Depending on where you look for an answer, you may get vastly different ideas.
Relationship between Smoke Point and Quality of Olive Oil
The smoke point of oil varies with its quality. High quality extra virgin olive oils (with low free fatty acids) have a high smoke point. They are an excellent choice, but an expensive one. Mass produced, low quality olive oils have a much lower smoke point.
At the Olive Oil Source, we believe that extra virgin olive oil smokes roughly between 400 and 365ºF (204 and 185ºC) depending on its free fatty acid content. Here is what the International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) has to say about frying food with olive oil:
When heated, olive oil is the most stable fat, which means it stands up well to high frying temperatures. Its high smoke point (410ºF or 210ºC) is well above the ideal temperature for frying food (356ºF or 180ºC). The digestibility of olive oil is not affected when it is heated, even when it is re-used several times for frying
As a reference point, the table from the IOOC shows standard cooking temperatures:
Type of Food Cooking Temperature
High water content: vegetables, potatoes, fruit … Medium (266-293ºF or 130-145ºC)
Coated in batter, flour or breadcrumbs, forming a crust Hot (311-338ºF or 155-170ºC)
Small, quickly fried: small fish, croquettes Very Hot (347-374ºF or 175–190ºC)
How does Olive Oil Compare with Other Cooking Oils?
The table below shows the smoke point of a few other cooking oils. Keep in mind that the smoke point for a vegetable oil will vary according to the variety and growing conditions, and how the oil was produced. Various manufacturers and sources cite different numbers.
Type of Oil Smoke Point Temperature
Grape Seed 485ºF or 252ºC
Avocado 480ºF or 249ºC
Sesame 410ºF or 210ºC
Canola 400ºF or 204ºC
Macademia 385ºF or 196ºC
Having read all of the above, you may be fairly confused by now. Dr. John Deane wrote the following excellent article about the smoke point of olive oil and various cooking considerations. This is the most comprehensive discussion of smoke point that we know of.
Smoke Point of Olive Oil by John Deane (updated 09/20/2007)
Pumpkin seed oil, avocado oil, borage and camellia oil; it used to be that a choice of oil for cooking was simple. You used a liquid canola or corn oil for frying or sautéing and a hardened oil such as Crisco for baking. We now live in the age of boutique oils. All seeds have oil in them as the energy source for the growing seedling. Man's ingenuity and desire to create a niche market has led to the extraction of many unusual oils.
The marketing angles on these oils are manifold. Some claim to have health benefits, others to have flavor. Buyers of argan and shea butter oils may be supporting women's cooperatives in developing nations. Hemp seed oil diehards are sticking it to the man. Grapeseed oil has the romance of the vine. JoJoba oil is a earth friendly alternative oil. While it is hard to compare or argue some of these points, there is one point which should be easy for comparison: the smoke point.
A high smoke point is desirable for a cooking oil. When frying, best results occur when the oil is very hot. The food is placed into the hot oil and the natural sugars caramelize and proteins denature into a thin shell which protects the food from soaking up the oil. The outside is crisp and the interior is just cooked. One of the bibles of cooking, Irma Rombauer's The Joy of Cooking recommends frying at 365ºF for best results.
When heated oil smokes, it is not just a nuisance. Besides coating your home interior with a varnish like substance, where there's smoke there's fire. An oil at its smoke point is closer to its flash point - the point where it will burst into flame.
So a high smoke point is one yardstick for a “good oil” If you go to the internet or the market to look for smoke points you will see something interesting. Every oil claims to have the highest smoke point. One website for macadamia nut oil puts their oil at the top of the list with a smoke point of 410ºF. On their chart, olive oil comes in at a measly 190ºF. This is below the temperature of a hot cup of tea! Avocado oil sites say their oil has the highest smoke point and claim nut oils are terrible for frying.
The smoke point for a vegetable oil will vary according to the variety and growing conditions, and how the oil was produced. The smoke you see may be impurities in the oil which are burning. Unfiltered olive oil has small bits of olive in it. When the oil is heated these bits will burn and smoke before the oil itself. A well-filtered or clarified oil will have a higher smoke point generally.
Oil which has oxidized because of exposure to air, heat and light will have a lower smoke point. Using oil repeatedly will also make it smoke sooner. When looking for the smoke point of an oil you should expect a range of values. The Olive Oil Source claims that extra virgin olive oil smokes from 400 to 365ºF, according to its free fatty acid content. But the macadamia nut folk say that olive oil smokes at the temperature of hot water out of the tap. When I suggested to the macadamia people that it seemed unlikely that olive oil smokes at temperature lower than boiling water and that maybe they were confusing centigrade with Fahrenheit they insisted they were right.
So who do you trust for the real smoke point? The industry group which is advertising and promoting the oil, a random website or a food chemistry text? Here is what some research yielded:
The International Olive Oil Council: 410ºF
Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils: 420ºF
Or why not get some olive oil off the shelf and heat it up in a saucepan with a frying thermometer. This is properly done in a lab with special lighting which shows the first hint of smoke. My stovetop experiment yielded 350ºF for a jug of discount store oil which had been sitting open in the garage for a few years and 380ºF for a premium fresh extra virgin oil. Olive oil is fine for frying.
It is annoying to counter these conflicting claims when most people would not fry with olive oil anyway. A cheap, flavorless oil with a high smoke point is usually recommended - something like canola, soy or peanut oil. Avocado, macadamia and premium olive oils can cost up to a dollar per ounce. It is unlikely that you are going to deep fry that Thanksgiving turkey in 5 gallons of oil at that price.
Besides, if we are so worried about our health, why fry at all? Better to talk up the flavor qualities of olive oil, an area where it shines compared to bland seed oils.
An excellent resource with voluminous bibliography is a monograph entitled "Frying Food in Olive oil" by Gregorio Varela, Professor of Nutrition, Madrid University. It is available from the International Olive Council (IOC).
MYTHS ABOUT COOKING WITH OLIVE OIL
There are some myths that have recently circulated about olive oil that we are constantly answering via email and our newsletter. Following are the two most common.
Myth: Heating Olive Oil Will Make it Saturated or Trans-fatty.
One common myth is that heating olive oil will make it saturated or trans-fatty.
This is not true. As far as making a saturated fat, according to Dr. A. Kiritsakis, a world renowned oil chemist in Athens, in his book Olive Oil from the Tree to the Table -Second edition 1998, all oils will oxidize and hydrogenate to a tiny degree if repeatedly heated to very high temperatures such as is done in commercial frying operations. Olive-pomace oils and virgin olive oils are both highly monounsaturated oils and therefore resistant to oxidation and hydrogenation. Studies have shown oxidation and hydrogenation occurs to a lesser degree in olive oil than in other oils. But in any case, the amount of hydrogenation is miniscule and no home cook would ever experience this problem.
The large refinery-like factories that take unsaturated vegetable oil and turn it into margarine or vegetable lard do so by bubbling hydrogen gas through 250 to 400ºF (121 to 204ºC) hot vegetable oil in the presence of a metal catalyst, usually nickel or platinum. The process can take several hours. You cannot make a saturated product like margarine at home by heating olive oil or any other vegetable oil in a pan. We don't know where this weird notion has come from. For more details, see Olive Chemistry.
Changing a cis-fat to a trans-fat does not occur on a home stove.
Myth: Cooking in Olive oil Diminishes The Nutritional Value of the Food.
Another myth is that cooking in olive oil diminishes the nutritional value of the food. This a misconception. The fact is that heating food will break down its nutritional value. High heat such as frying is worse than moderate heat such as steaming, which is worse than eating vegetables raw. It is not the cooking oil per se, but the high heat of frying. We are not aware of any edible cooking oil which by itself diminishes the nutritional value of the food cooked in it. Most nutritionists recommend lightly steaming vegetables or eating them. A touch of a flavorsome extra virgin olive oil added at the table will add taste and healthful anti-oxidants. Such is the Mediterranean diet which has been shown to help prevent coronary disease and have other health benefits.
I understand it has a high smoking point, but I don't know which one is it.Heimdallr said:Is it not possible to fry using grapeseed oil? I cook with that just as often as I do olive oil, and I thought it had a higher burn point.
Fried food is regularly pummeled in the village square by CW because of the fat content. We Primal types know better of course. Although we eschew the carb-based foods (potatoes, donuts, corn chips, battered/breaded everything) that disgrace fry pans and deep fryers everywhere, we get along fine with the fat itself. I get a lot of questions from readers about frying foods – whether frying is a truly Primal practice and how frying can be done properly to avoid oxidation and retain nutrients. I know there are a lot of fried fans at MDA, and I hope they’ll share their tips as well.
Is frying Primal?
I’d give that a solid yes. With the right oils under the right conditions, fried veggies and meats are perfectly acceptable Primal delicacies. Are there better cooking methods? Yes. But again, with the right fat, temperature and food (no traditional batters in sight), frying is an an acceptable cooking method.
How does it work?
When the food comes in contact with the oil, the heat essentially activates the food’s moisture and steam cooks it from the inside. In a delicate equilibrium of deep frying, the steam keeps the oil from permeating the food, and the oil keeps the food’s moisture inside.
Ideal deep frying temperatures are generally 350°-375°. Lower than 325° and the oil will be absorbed into the food, making for gross, greasy fare. Much higher than 375° and you run the risk of additional oxidation in the oil as well as dried out food.
How does frying compare with other cooking methods when it comes to nutrient value?
Cooking almost always has some impact on the nutritional profile of a food. In cases like lycopene for tomato, cooking has a positive effect. In other cases, cooking diminishes nutritional content. Some research suggests that deep frying retains more antioxidant capacity in some vegetables but less in others when compared to boiling or pan frying. (Pan frying fared the worst.)
Speaking of pan frying, the difference is more than the pan itself. Pan frying is a shallow frying method, meaning the oil doesn’t cover more than half of the food you’re cooking. Some research suggests that pan frying results in more oil decomposition than deep frying. Pan frying generally takes longer, which may contribute to this difference. Although the oil in both methods is basically the same temperature, pan frying is more likely to produce carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) when the surface of the meat (or – to a lesser extent – vegetable) is burnt or overcooked. Although low and slow cooking methods (like braising) are great in preventing the formation of HCAs, deep frying or flash sautéing of small pieces are also good options, since they avoid any charring or scorching of food.
What are the best fats to use for frying?
You’ll want to choose oil with a smoke point of at least 350°F. (Personally, I like to err on the side of caution and go for a smoke point of 375° or above.) Oil, if heated beyond its smoke point, chemically deteriorates and forms toxic compounds associated with oxidative stress markers and degenerative illness in the human body.
Some folks swear by palm oil, which works well at frying temps because of its high smoke point (425°) and low toxic volatile emission rates. Beyond that, I would recommend animal fats: tallow, lard, lamb fat or other animal fats. My personal favorite is tallow, which is an incredibly stable fat source with a very high smoke point (420°). A side note: if you’ll be eating the fried food cold, use lard to avoid the coated tongue feeling.
I know some folks use olive oil for frying and stand by its stability in high heat because of its high monosaturated content. If you’re going to use olive oil, I’d recommend virgin olive oil (420° smoke point) as opposed to extra virgin olive oil (320°).
How do restaurants fry their food?
Although I think it’s entirely possible to do Primal frying at home, I wouldn’t touch the typical restaurant’s fried food. The most commonly used oils for commercial frying are hydrogenated vegetable oils (whether it’s labeled trans fat free or not) or canola oil, neither of which I eat or recommend. A few old school places still use lard, but they’re becoming fewer and fewer over time. Restaurants (being naturally profit-driven) also reuse their cooking oil time and again, which leads to continual decomposition. Although there are health protocols, who’s to say how well some of these places adhere to any guidelines when the inspectors aren’t around. I’ll skip the partially oxidized oil, thank you. Finally, some restaurants are taking advantage of new nanotechnology devices that allow them to use oil longer. The jury is still out on nanotech, and I for one would rather skip the experimental phase.
Let me wrap this up by saying that while frying food under just the right conditions can be a Primal endeavor some fat at these high heats will still oxidize. That for me is reason enough to not make frying food a daily occurrence. I play it safe and go low and slow for most of my meals.
My thinking is this: why bother with something so processed and unhealthy when there are umpteen other, better options out there? Olive oil, coconut, palm oil, lard and ghee are suitable for most cooking applications. And for salads and other “no heat” dishes, you have dozens of tasty (non-deodorized) choices, including avocado and nut oils. As for canola, who needs it?
You are very right.Laura said:Ya'll PUH-LEEEEZE get over your fear of fat that has been inculcated into you by the propaganda of the AMA and the surgeon general. Please note that since they started the "anti-fat campaign" that the rates of the diseases they claimed to be fighting have gone through the roof!Gertrudes said:Sweet potatoes revealed, for me, to be the perfect snack. They are delicious and quite filling. Your deep fried version in duck fat sounds very tempting Psyche.Psyche said:Occasionally, we eat them deep-fried in duck fat... It is quite a treat! ;)3D Student said:Yeah thanks Psyche, I didn't know sweet potatoes were so healthy. I had stayed away from them because I thought they were related to regular potatoes, but they aren't even nightshades.
Though I have to admit having some resistance to eating food that is fried, I suppose occasionally won't hurt :D
Figure it out!
You need to learn about fats. Read Sydney MacDonald Baker's book "Detoxification and Healing" and pay close attention to the part about fats. Also notice that our bodies evolved to handle animal fats.
Frying in olive oil is not optimal because the oil breaks down when heated. The best oils for frying are lard and duck fat. You just need to balance them with other fats. NEVER use vegetable oils for cooking!!!
Gandalf, that's an interesting article on the smoke point of olive oil, but I think I would still avoid using it for high temperature cooking. I think we need to distinguish between an oil's smoke point and the temperature at which it's safe to use it. Oils will start to undergo damage at temperatures below the oil's smoke point. As an example, any polyunsaturated oil used for cooking is going to be damaged, regardless of whether or not it hit its smoke point. Because olive oil is made up of some polyunsaturated fats (it is mostly monounsaturated fat but few if any fats are entirely one category) I think we need to play it safe and not use too high a heat.The Fat Rules: Which Fat For Which Job?
Fats are split into three categories as determined by their molecular structure. All three of these categories have a right way and wrong way to be used and knowing the “Fat Rules” is essential to attaining true health.
Polyunsaturated Fats – These are usually from nut and see oils. You can tell an oil is mostly made up of polyunsaturated fats if it stays liquid even when it's put in the fridge. They are often referred to as “essential fats” or “essential fatty acids” (EFAs) because they are needed for the proper functioning of our bodies but we cannot make them from other fats. However, polyunsaturated fats should never be used for cooking or otherwise heated. These fats are quite delicate and can easily go rancid, turning them into harmful oils which promote disease. As such, they need to be protected from heat, light and too much air. Polyunsaturated oils should be sold in a dark bottle, only be “cold-pressed” (ie., no heat used in the extraction process) and should never be used as a cooking oil. Unfortunately, all the “grocery store oils” sold in clear plastic bottles for the express purpose of cooking are all polyunsaturated oils!
Monounsaturated Fats – These fats are found in some vegetables and fruits and make up part of the fats found in meats. They are a little bit heartier than polyunsaturated oils and can be used for some light heat applications like light sautéing or baking. The most common monounsaturated fat is olive oil. You can tell if an oil is mostly monounsaturated fats because it becomes gelatinous and sludgy when put in the fridge.
Saturated Fat – Don't believe the hype – saturated fat is good for you! Despite almost a century of dietary recommendations against intake of saturated fat, mainstream scientists are finally starting to catch up to what holistic health professionals have known all along; that saturated fats actually promote health! Saturated fats are found in meats, dairy products, eggs as well as some tropical vegetables. Saturated fats are ideal for cooking as they can stand up to much higher temperatures than other oils. You know a fat is saturated if it is solid or semi-solid at room temperature. Ironically, hydrogenation of oils, the artificial process that solidifies polyunsaturated oils and results in the creation of detrimental trans fats, was created to mimic the high smoke point and long shelf life of saturated fats. It's too bad we went down this road; we never needed to replace natural saturated fats in the first place.
Polyunsaturated Fats include – sesame oil, safflower oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, hemp seed oil, flax oil, borage oil, fish oils
Use for – cold applications only; salads, smoothies, supplements (as with flax or fish oil)
Look for – dark bottles, sold in the refrigerator section, cold pressed, organic
Monounsaturated Fats include – olive oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, hazelnut oil
Use for – cold applications like salads, dips or pestos; light sautéing or some baking
Look for – glass bottles, cold pressed, organic
Saturated Fats include – coconut oil, palm kernel oil, butter, ghee, duck fat, tallow, lard
Use for – all high heat applications including searing, stir frying, deep-frying, baking
Look for – organic
Fats to avoid – all polyunsaturated oils sold for cooking, anything sold in clear or opaque plastic bottles, margarine, any hydrogenated oil, vegetable shortening, “vegetable oil” (often cottonseed oil)
I just bought a package of suet at the grocery store in the meat case. :/Mrs. Peel said:I use oil oil but not at high temps, mostly just med-low. Don't think I can easily find duck fat around here, but is "lard"just the Crisco stuff? Okay after a quick search, Crisco has got some nasty stuff in it. Seems lard comes from a pig. Hmmm, I don't suppose it's readily available on the local grocery store shelf unless you ask for it at the meat counter. I wonder if they'd give it to you though. I'm going to the store later and I'll find out.Laura said:Frying in olive oil is not optimal because the oil breaks down when heated. The best oils for frying are lard and duck fat. You just need to balance them with other fats. NEVER use vegetable oils for cooking!!!
Nienna,Nienna Eluch said:I'm a little uncertain of how to use it as grease to cook with. It just sits in the pain and fries! It doesn't melt, it just sits there and looks like cooked fat! Until I can figure this out, I'm cooking with ghee.
Thanks RyanX. That explains a lot. :)RyanX said:Nienna,
It sounds like you need to render the lard. Vulcan briefly describes how to do this here:
I've done this myself. Basically you want to cut it up into inch size cubes and cook it in a pot on a low heat for 8 hours or more. After it's done, it should be a golden/tan color. Then you want to strain out the little chunks of fat that are left and pour off the liquid into containers to be refrigerated. The liquid is what you want to use for cooking.
Laura said:Here is OUR version of the Ultra-Simple Meal Plan. We have deleted rice and legumes and a few other things from the Mark Hyman version because of the added research on lectins that we have discovered.
FOODS YOU WILL ENJOY!
• Filtered water (6-8 glasses a day)
• Fish: sardines, herring, wild salmon, black cod or sable fish, sole, and cod. No tuna (because of possible mercury contamination)!!!
• Lean white meat chicken breasts or turkey breast.
• Fresh or frozen non-citrus fruits, ideally berries only
• Fresh vegetables – (no cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts for a period - later, you introduce the cruciferous veggies - the reason being some people are sensitive to sulfite containing foods)
• Fresh vegetable broth (3-4 cups a day) – make this once or twice a week. In a large pot full of filtered water, boil several carrots, spinach, pumpkin or hard squash, whole head of celery. Boil gently covered for a couple of hours. Let cool and strain into a large glass jar. Drink cold or warm. Salt to taste. Later, when cruciferous veggies have been tested and included, they can be added to the broth.
• Quinoa, buckwheat
• Ground flaxseeds
If it is not listed above, don't even ask about it, it's not on the diet. No other meat than the chicken and turkey breasts (organic) and/or the fish. Fish can be fresh. You can have canned sardines, salmon or mackerel. You can eat it with a bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of herbs on it. Hold the lemon until the testing begins because some people are sensitive to citrus and you may be one of them. You won't know unless you can get your body to settle down so you can test for it.
No other condiments than lemon juice and olive oil.
THE ULTRASIMPLE MEAL PLAN
• Ultrashake and/or Hot quinoa or buckwheat with flaxseeds and/or fruits (apple or banana peaches or berries). D-ribose to sweeten. Or, leftover meat and veggies from last night's dinner, or chopped up apple, peaches, banana with flaxseed sprinkled on top.
• 1 cup ultrabroth
• Ultrashake (if hungry)
• Steamed veggies
• 4-6 ounces of fish or chicken breasts or turkey breasts cooked with olive or grapeseed oil. (Spices: rosemary, cilantro, ginger, turmeric, black pepper and sea salt)
• 2 cups or more of steamed (or lightly
sautéed veggies (avoid raw for awhile)
• ½ cup of quinoa or buckwheat groats
• ½ cup split peas cooked with carrots
• ½ cup fruit or berries for dessert
(either here or at dinner, not both)
• Ultrashake (optional)
• 1 cup Ultrabroth
• Ultrashake (if hungry)
• 4-6 ounces of fish or chicken breasts or turkey breasts cooked with olive or grapeseed oil. (Spices: rosemary, cilantro, ginger, turmeric, black pepper and sea salt)
• 2 cups or more of steamed (or lightly sautéed) veggies
• ½ cup of quinoa or buckwheat groats
• 1 cup Ultrabroth
Veggies you can eat: carrots, celery, beets, cucumbers (these you can have raw), bok choy, spinach, squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, chard. Keep the list short and simple because the object is to get the body/inflammation to settle down so you can begin to test foods for sensitivity.
Notice that it says "Two cups or more" of veggies at all meals. This means you can pig out on them if you need to in order to satisfy your hunger.
THE ULTRASHAKE RECIPE
• 2 scoops of rice protein powder
• 1 tbsp. of organic flax or borage oil
• 2 tbsp. of ground flaxseeds
• Ice (made of filtered water) if desired
• 6-8 oz. of filtered water to desired consistency
• ½ cup of frozen or fresh berries or peaches, pears
• Banana to sweeten - you can also use a scoop of D-Ribose to sweeten
Extra goodies: spirulina, ascorbic acid, specific nutritional supplements according to your needs.
Note: use the flax seeds in up to two shakes a day, no more.
Notice: absolutely no gluten containing foods, no dairy. These are the main foods that need to be tested and if you slip and have even one taste, you have to start at the beginning again.