Tuesday, April 26, 2011

52 Week Food Storage - Week #16

Week # 16: 6 Quarts of Oil - Be sure to store the kind you already use


There are so many oils on the market to choose from. Simply store the kind of oils which you use and rotate them because Oil doesn’t last very long (max 1-2 years check the expiration date). The following information is here to guide you and if you already know what kind of oil you need then don’t even worry about reading the rest, however if you’re not sure what kind you want/need or would like to switch then read on.

Types of Oil:

Natural fats contain varying ratios of three types of fats: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
Saturated fats are hard at room temperature. They’re stable, resist oxidation, and are found primarily in meat and dairy but also in palm and coconut oil.

Polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and the least stable. They oxidize easily and are found in seafood and corn, safflower, soybean and sunflower oils.

Monounsaturated fats are more stable generally than polyunsaturates. They’re found in canola, nut and olive oils.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting saturated fats in the diet due to their association with cardiovascular disease. The AHA also recommends relying more on monounsaturates than polyunsaturated fats.


The oils at PCC may be less familiar than brands in mass-market grocery stores — for good reason. PCC buyers seek out natural oils that are mechanically pressed from the seed without using chemical solvents.
Olive, avocado and walnut oils, for example, are from soft fruit or nuts that need only expeller pressing and centrifuging; they may be labeled “cold-pressed.”

Hard oilseeds such as soy or canola usually require some pre-treatment such as steam before pressing but still do not rely on chemical solvents.

In contrast, mass-market oils generally are extracted with toxic solvents such as hexane. These oils then undergo harsh treatment to remove the solvent. More chemicals, very high heat, and straining are used to deodorize and bleach the oils — rendering them inferior in taste, fragrance, appearance and especially nutritional quality.


Unrefined oils are filtered only lightly to remove large particles. Some, such as sesame or olive oil, may appear cloudy or have visible sediment after sitting. This does not compromise quality.

Unrefined oils are “whole” oils and their flavor, color and fragrance are more pronounced than in refined oils. Like unrefined whole grain flours, unrefined oils are more nutritious and have a shorter storage life than refined.

Unrefined oils are best used unheated in dressings or in low heat, sautéing or baking. Their natural resins and other beneficial particles burn easily and develop unpleasant flavors and unhealthful properties if overheated. If you choose to bake with unrefined oils, expect the flavor to be more pronounced.


Naturally refined oils are more thoroughly filtered and strained than unrefined, usually with some additional heat, but without harsh or damaging chemicals. Refining reduces the nutrient level and flavor. It also removes particles and resins and makes naturally refined oils more stable for longer storage, more resistant to smoking, and a good choice for high-heat cooking and frying.

Refined oils recommended for high heat cooking and deep-frying are “high oleic” forms of safflower and sunflower oil. These are from plants bred to be high in monounsaturated fats instead of polyunsaturates, which oxidize easily and aren’t suited for high heat. To check if it’s “high oleic,” read the nutrition panel on the bottle. It lists polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats separately.

The info above was found on: PCC Natural Markets (They also have a great chart to help you choose.

Storing Oil:

All oils, especially unrefined oils, should be refrigerated after opening to prevent oxidation and rancidity. Natural oils should smell and taste fresh and pleasant. Can’t tell? If in doubt, throw it out. Studies indicate that rancid fats may promote cancer and heart disease. Oil that’s firmed up in the refrigerator will liquefy at room temperature in a few minutes. Place the bottle in a container of warm — not hot — water for five minutes. The quality will not be harmed. So you have to make sure you rotate your oils, and not store them longer than a year, the expiration date. In a nut shell, don’t sit on your oil supply for years without rotating it. Just a little bit rancid is just a little bit poisonous. Because of this difficulty in storing fats and oils for any long period of time many books and articles on the subject of food storage make only passing mention of them, if they say anything at all. This is unfortunate because fat contains nine calories per gram compared to the four calories contained by either carbohydrates or protein. This makes fat a valuable source of concentrated calories that could be of real importance if faced with a diet consisting largely of unrefined grains and legumes. For small children, infants and the elderly, they may not be able to consume the volume of food that would be necessary in the course of a day to get all of the calories they would need to avoid weight loss and possible malnutrition. Additionally, fats play an important role in our perception of taste and texture and their absence would make many foods more difficult to prepare and consume. Furthermore, a small amount of dietary fat is necessary for our bodies to properly absorb fat soluble vitamins like A,D,E and K. Long term storage of fats may be problematical, but it is not impossible. There are some general rules you can follow to get the most life out of your stored cooking oils and fats.
  1. Exposure to oxygen, light and heat are the greatest factors to rancidity. If you can, refrigerate your stored oil, particularly after it’s been opened. If possible, buy your oils in opaque, airtight containers. If you purchase it in plastic, particularly clear plastic, then transfer it to a gas impermeable glass or metal container that can be sealed airtight. If you have a means of doing so, vacuum sealing the storage container is an excellent idea as it removes most of the air remaining inside, taking much of the oxygen with it. Transparent glass and plastic containers should be stored in the dark, such as in a box. Regardless of the storage container, it should be stored at as cool a temperature as possible and rotated as fast as is practical. Oils and fats with preservatives added by the manufacturer will have a greater shelf life than those without them, provided they are fresh when purchased.
  2.  Unless they have been specially treated, *unopened* cooking oils have a shelf life of about a year, depending upon the above conditions. Some specialty oils such as sesame and flax seed have even shorter usable lives. If you don’t use a great deal of it, try not to buy your fats in large containers. This way you won’t be exposing a large quantity to the air after the you’ve opened it, to grow old and possibly rancid, before you can use it all up. Once opened, it is an excellent idea to refrigerate cooking fats. If it turns cloudy or solid, the fat is still perfectly usable and will return to its normal liquid, clear state after it has warmed to room temperature. Left at room temperatures, opened bottles of cooking oils can begin to rancid in anywhere from a week to a couple of months, though it may take several more months to reach such a point of rancidity that it can be smelled.
  3. Although darker colored oils have more flavor than paler colored, the agents that contribute to that flavor and color also contribute to faster rancidity. For maximum shelf life buy paler colored oils.

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