Time for an Oil-Change?

Just before Christmas I was doing a lot of reading about oils. Not facial or body oils, this time, but cooking oils. I have always used Olive Oil for absolutely all of my cooking needs, thinking that it was by far the healthiest and most convenient choice, but over the last couple of months I have gradually changed to Rapeseed oil for most of my cooking. I still use a very good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil for my drizzling and indulgent cooking, but if I’m frying or taking the pan to higher temperatures, I now use the Rapeseed.

Apparently, it has a higher smoking point than most of the cheaper olive oils (the ones that we invariably grab from the shelf if we need large glugs of them!) and so it’s safer and healthier to use for many cooking methods. If you take an oil past its smoking point, that’s when you get that really grotesque smell from the pan – it makes even the nicest olive oil smell like some old crud from the bottom of the deep-fat-fryer. So if you’re looking to sear that steak or stir-fry the veg, Rapeseed could be a better choice.

All of this, of course, just comes down to personal preference. There are so many opposing facts out there about every single ‘health’ issue that you just have to decide for yourself, I think. I am, however, impressed that Rapeseed can contain ten times the amount of Omega-3 as olive oil and also that it can have up to half the amount of saturated fat. It doesn’t taste at all bad, either – it’s a little nutty, but perfect for making curries and oriental food. For Italian and French I stick to my Extra Virgin!

This is the one I’ve been using: www.borderfieldsrapeseedoil.co.uk. It’s £3.99 from Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, but I’ve seen another much cheaper one called “Mazola”. I have no idea whether it’s the same type of Rapeseed oil behind the (unattractive) label, I shall endeavour to find out!

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