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This might seem like a poll, but I would really like to get as many opinions as I can.
I made some gravy tonight to go over some leftover rice. The only fat I had was canola oil and some fat back grease leftover from frying fat back for cabbage. I chose the fat back grease.
I lightly browned flour in the grease, then stirred in water to which had been added, black pepper, half a seasoning packet from Ramen chicken noodles (basically bouillon) and a teaspoon of non dairy creamer. Actually, it was pretty good, considering the ingredients I used. The reason I didn't use the canola oil was because of its taste (don't tell me I should have used chicken stock and fat, I didn't have any).
I used to buy Walmart's shortening blend (animal and vegetable). It made the best biscuits. The one they carry now is not the same. To me, it is not good...it has a heavy, sweet taste.
I have lost count of all the cans of shortening and bottles of cooking oil I have given away because of their taste and smell. I keep buying different brands and different fats hoping to find a palatable one.
Canola, safflower, sunflower, and soybean oil, all, when heated, end up smelling like old enamel paint or linseed oil. The solid shortening blends have a nasty, sweet odor and taste that (I think) is due to the preservatives used in them.
I really don't use much cooking fat, but when I do, I don't want it to stink up the house. So, my question is directed to members who have tried a variety of different cooking fats. Which have you found to have, or impart to your food, the least taste...and to have the least scent when cooking?
You can choose from the above mentioned fats and you can include coconut, peanut, olive, avocado, or any other fat.
Until I can find a relatively taste free fat, I will be using clarified butter. It ain't cheap and its use is limited, but at least it doesn't taste like rancid linseed oil or some foul, sweet preservative.
Do comment, please. The fat I buy next will be the one that is favored the most.
(I'll still use fat back grease to fry cabbage, bacon grease to flavor black eyed peas and butter to make cornbread. My, my, my).
I have had the best luck with avocado oil. I get the big bottle from Costco. I use it for most cooking and roasting. It's great at a high heat and doesn't seem to have any discernible flavor. A lot of cooking magazines call for using grapeseed oil for the same properties.
For baking, I look for recipes that call for butter instead of shortening. Recently, I have been experimenting with coconut oil. It's great for making popcorn and for roasting vegetables. It is very solid so it might be a good substitute for recipes that call for shortening.
And you can easily clarify your own butter at home for less than buying it prepared. Once you remove the milk solids, the clarified butter (or ghee) lasts a long time.
Hope this helps! Let us know what works the best. :)
"Canola, safflower, sunflower, and soybean oil, all, when heated, end up smelling like old enamel paint or linseed oil."
This is because they oxidize, or burn, at that temperature. This causes a change in the molecular structure, releasing free radicals that cause damage to your body. Avoid them.
"The solid shortening blends have a nasty, sweet odor and taste that (I think) is due to the preservatives used in them."
It is due to hydrogenation. Hydrogenation is the use of gasses to change the molecular structure of fat and make it shelf stable. It isn't good for you, either.
I personally use rendered beef suet, or tallow. It must be rendered at a very low temperature.
Knowing that BHT has long been used as a preservative in solid shortening, I decided to do a little research. I found that it is a derivative of phenol. So, what does phenol smell like?
I read one article where a group of people were discussing phenol. As to the scent of phenol
one says phenol stinks
another says it smells like old circuit boards
another says It has a kind of sweetish aroma
I also found that BHT as a food additive, is banned in some countries.
My local Safeway sells the hard white beef fat you have to render to make this.