Learn how to buy the healthiest oils and when to cook with them.
Fat isn’t just a nutrient essential to your body, it’s also a key player in cooking.
Fat carries heat, helping to cook foods quickly and evenly.
It also coats your taste buds, making flavor linger longer. This buyer’s guide outlines some of the most common oils—and helps point out the nutritional benefits of pantry staples. A few notes:
Top Picks: Our favorites include olive and canola oils and butter—take a closer look at those in detail.
Note the Smoke Points: The oils listed here have different smoke points–the point at which an oil literally begins to smoke. Oils begin to break down at smoke point or when they are reheated repeatedly.
Beneficial compounds start to degrade in that process, and potentially health-harming compounds form. Get your oil hot enough for cooking by just heating it until it shimmers.
How to Store Your Oils: Heat and light can damage oil and may alter its taste, so store oil in a cool, dark place for up to a year.
Be sure to read labels carefully, though, because some oils have specific storage requirements (grapeseed, for example, should be refrigerated).
—Holley Grainger, M.S., R.D.
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