I Welcome you to another exciting time with me on GOURMET GUIDE WITH LYDIA, it is a unique FOOD and NUTRITION interactive programme aired on UNILAG RADIO 103.1FM, that tells you all you need to know about food, drinks and everything edible including Agriculture.

Over the years, I have noticed that it is quite impossible to discuss Christmas without looking at food, they are really interwoven!

Since the yuletide season is here,  so many blogs, websites, newspapers, magazines, televisions as well as radios would surely  discuss different foods that make the celebration of Christmas worthwhile.

However, I believe it is necessary to discuss what I choose to  call  ACCOMPANIMENTS OR ADD – INS!

Without these, gourmet delight cannot be complete. These groups are not food per say. They may not be directly seen as consumables but they are added to food to make the food delicious. I choose to call them accompaniments or add ins because they cannot stand on their own. Rather they are provided for and used with something else! The list is endless – Well, this edition is focusing on COOKING OILS!

They literally litter the markets today. Some times, it’s difficult to know which one to choose. Funny enough, many do not know the basic difference in these oils. Below is a run down of some of the types in the market and their value!
PEANUT OR GROUNDNUT OIL : This also known as arachis. It has up 60 percent high oleic acid content and up to about 35 percent linoleic acid.
This oil is non-drying and can keep liquid at room temperature. Its usually clear and odourless. It’s better stored in a cool, dark place at room temperature. It’s perfect for deep frying foods.
OLIVE OIL is made from olives and makes it easy to press and release the oil without heat or chemical action.
The origin of this oil can be traced to the sun baked olive groves of the Mediterranean countries like Spain, Italy and Greece.
This oil is suitable for salads and any other cooking. Although it’s more perishable, it must always be refrigerated or kept in a cool dry place in your kitchen or else it will stick.
It is available in various grades. This oil contains 10 percent linoleic acid and rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which health experts say is do not contribute to heart disease.
It is lower in acidity and higher in quality. Its rich oleic content makes it completely digestible and it has been found to increase the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
Some nutritionists have even opined that a combination of olive oil and oil that is high in linoleic acid, such as safflower will make a good salad combination.
These grades include Extra Virgin, Pure Olive Oil, and Olive Pomade and many other types. These blends perfect flavour, colour, aroma and pulpy. It however highly depends on which is preferable.
SUNFLOWER OIL is great for salad dressing and it contains more poly un-saturated fat than any other oil. This is because it is not always solid when refrigerated.
SESAME OIL is the most flavoured of all. A light version made from untoasted seeds is slightly nutty in flavour. It is good for sauces and would be better used sparingly because of its strong taste.
CANOLA OIL is used for salad dressings and cooking. It about six per cent lower in saturated fat than any other oil.
CORN OIL has no real odour or taste. It has a high smoke point and this make it excellently appropriate for frying. The oil compressed from the grain corn is high in linoleic acid, about 40%, which makes it 60% saturated. It also contains some oleic, linolenic and arachidic acids. It is a rich source of phosphorus and the fat soluble vitamins A, D and E.
Today one major source of corn oil is the United States of America.
Corn oil is a popular addition to margarine and other foods. As a cooking medium, it is light and easily digested. The oil has also been found to correct over alkalinity of the body and restore it to its correct balance.
Doctors also recommend it in cases of bad eczema and skin disorders, for which it is either taken internally or applied to the skin. This oil is best kept in a cool, dark place.
However this oil is not very common in this part of our world, but big shopping centers and supermarkets are the places where you can get them.
VEGETABLE OIL is extracted from oily vegetables. Its usually clear and odourless and can also be used for frying and cooking like any other oil. Here in Nigeria, vegetable oil is the commonest type of oil that is used in most homes in this country. Of course, there are different types of this oil.
COCONUT OIL is extracted from coconut. It is ideal for cooking and frying, like any other oil, although, some people use this oil as body cream. Some mix it with their cream, while others apply it to their hair. Coconut oil has two percent linoleic acid and is heavily saturated. LINOLEIC ACID IS A POLY UNSATURATED FATTY ACID THAT IS FOUND IN MOST OIL.
SAFFLOWER OIL is bland oil that is almost without odour. Its linoleic acid level is about 80 percent.
PALM OIL has a distinct red, rouge colour. Its also very rich in vitamin A, this makes the oil good for bright eyes and good shiny skin.

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