All posts filed under: Fats

FATS

Twenty first century man dreads fat in a rather irrational way. Contrary to what we have been led to believe by the medical establishment, nutritionists, government authorities and the media – fat is vital to our diet. Without natural fats our body ends up like a bike chain lacking lubrication – scratchy, whinny and sub-optimal. The consumption of natural, traditional fats is vital if our bodies are to absorb the fat soluble vitamins essential for our overall well-being. No natural fat. No nutrients. Fat is the bête noire of twenty-first century man. No wonder – rates of obese people are being seen in levels unknown and unheard of in previous eras. Weight-gain creeps up on the best of us. Few are immune from the curse of the bathroom scales. The most obvious culprit for these modern blights is fat– saturated fat in particular. From a visual point of view this is easy to believe.  Saturated fats, being solid, look like they might just line the arteries and clog the heart-valves. Fat makes us fat. End …

ANIMAL FATS

Animal fats are referred to as saturated fats for the simple reason that they contain, as a percentage, more saturated fats than vegetable oils. In cooler climates – particularly those of northern Europe – saturated animal fats are solid at room temperature not liquid. A saturated fat is a more stable fat meaning that it is less likely to go rancid when exposed to light, oxygen and heat and thus is suitable for frying, roasting and baking. All of the traditional animal fats listed below have been used by populations since time immemorial, unless religious belief required them to abstain from eating one particular animal. In kosher food, for example, the pig is not eaten hence lard is forbidden but goose fat has always been a prized ingredient. In India the Hindu never eats suet and tallow drippings from rendered beef – but they are happy to eat ghee (derived from butter). To the list of animal fats should also be added the oils that derive from fish. For those populations living close to seas, …

VEGETABLE OILS

The most important thing to remember about vegetable oils is that they are unstable and far more prone to turning rancid when exposed to oxygen, light – far more so than saturated animal fats. For this reason liquid vegetable oils should always be stored in dark bottles, away from sunlight in a cool spot and are best consumed unheated in salad dressings or mayonnaise-style sauces as they traditionally always were. Vegetable oils are best used for gentle sautéing rather than high-heat frying because of their propensity to turn rancid. One key distinguishing feature between traditional vegetable oils and fake, new vegetable oils is that the former derive from the fruit of the plant (such as the olive or the coconut) whilst the latter derives from the seeds of the plant (such as sunflower-seed, rape-seed, seeds of the soya-bean plant, cotton-seed, grape-seed). Most seed oils (though not all) are fake foods and are best avoided. (For a complete list of real food and the fakes see below). Vegetable oils are referred to either as polyunsaturated or …

TRADITIONAL ANIMAL FATS – REAL FOOD

Butter Butter contains a high concentration of naturally occurring vitamin A, D, E and K especially from grass-fed cows; the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega 6 appear in a natural ratio, trace minerals including manganese, zinc, iodine and selenium. It can be used as a spread or for frying, roasting and  baking. Lard Lard refers to the fat derived from the pig. It has high traces of vitamin D and the anti-microbial palmitoleic acid. It can be used for frying or as a spread. Suet Suet is the fat found around the kidneys and loins of beef and mutton. Many British recipes call for the use of suet – from pastry baking to traditional mince-pies and Christmas pudding. Suet is a good source of antimicrobial palmitoleic acid. If sourced raw, like meat, it must be refrigerated and eaten fresh within a few days. Since it is not pure fat but contains sinews and tissues it is typically shredded before used in baking. To make it more stable and in order to extract the fat …

TRADITIONAL VEGETABLE OILS – REAL FOOD

– : extra-virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, coconut oil, palm oil :-  Extra-virgin Olive Oil Huge clay vats found at Knossos in Crete testify to the fact that populations in the Mediterranean have traditionally relied on olive oil to form a major part of their balanced diet for millennia. Unusually for a vegetable oil, 75% of olive oil is in the form of a monounsaturated fat, 10% omega-6 and 2% omega-3 fats (a natural, healthy ratio). It is also rich in naturally occurring antioxidants and enzymes. Best of all no European olives on sale today derive from genetically modified plants. Because it is liquid at room temperature (meaning the hydrogen carbon bonding is looser than saturated fats) olive oil is prone to turning rancid if exposed to heat, oxygen and light. To avoid the freshly harvested fruit from turning the olives are crushed as soon as possible – certainly no later than two days after harvesting. To qualify for the label “extra virgin” the oil must be extracted at a temperature below 27 degrees centigrade. …

NON-TRADITIONAL VEGETABLE OILS – THE FAKES

-: sunflower-seed oil, rape-seed oil, soya-seed oil, grape-seed oil, cotton-seed oil :- One molecule away from plastic? The process of refining seed vegetable oils into either cooking oil or hydrogenated vegetable fat for either domestic or industrial use is a classic example of how the industrial cook has managed to bastardise fresh produce into a fake food product to suit their economic purposes not our nutritional needs – and then present it to the everyday cook as healthy and fit for purpose. It is perhaps a bit of a misnomer to suggest that margarine and vegetable shortening derived from seed vegetable oils are one molecule away from plastic – but the sentiment (if not the science) is sound. HOW NEW SEED VEGETABLE OILS ARE REFINED: There are three problems associated with the relatively new seed vegetable oils: Firstly, when cold pressed they taste bitter and unpalatable resulting in a small if non-existent market for them.  Secondly, being polyunsaturated they are highly unstable and prone to turning rancid when exposed to oxygen, light and heat. Thirdly, most …