How do I know what cooking oil I should use for what when there are so many?! There are lard, vegetable oil, corn oil, pecan oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, EVOO, peanut oil, rapeseed oil, sesame oil, canola, and sunflower oil to begin with. What is healthy? What burns easily? So many choices, so little time...
Good Monday morning, everyone! This week, we will talk about all of the different cooking oils there are. When I was growing up, there was Crisco vegetable oil and Wesson vegetable oil. Those are the two TV commercials that played on TV constantly so the biggest question was which brand of vegetable oil will I buy, not what kind of cooking oil will I buy for this or that. Back then, everyone used vegetable oil because they assumed it was healthier than lard.
It seems everyone is decorating for Christmas. The church was decorated yesterday and our next door neighbors just put up icicle lights that appear to dance so it looks like their whole house is moving up and down and bobbing around. They are very pretty. We have not done anything. We have been too busy pulling orders because our staff was off for the holiday weekend. This week, one of them comes back.
Later in the week, we will set up the business decorations, but orders come first. Not sure I even want to decorate because that is a lot of work that no one will even see.
I have to go get ready for the day and be out in Fulfillment in 38 minutes to close orders.
I first went to feed the fish and found my fish food container eaten through and half of the fish food gone. For the past week, I have found a small container that I usually have out on the gazebo either missing or dumped and in a different spot but could not figure out why. Now we know--a racoon has been molesting it and last night, she had herself a good ol' time.
It was great today to have Angelica back from some PTO last week. She is quick and accurate at pulling orders, quick at closing them, plus she knows how to work the seed counting machines and does a nice job with them.
It is now 2:30pm. We have had several customers in and out. The Encino Pest Control team was here today taking care of business. The mailman has already been and I am still closing website orders. David had three different customers come to buy some plastic bins that he is selling. Many more orders to close. I had better get a move on!
It got up to 78° and it was bright and sunny, a very nice day. However, most of the time, I was stuck in Fulfillment, filling seed orders since we have a skeleton crew again this week.
As stated above, when I was a kid, it was all about Crisco oil or Wesson oil. Vegetable oil was promoted as being healthy and tasting good for frying food. So what is vegetable oil? It is mostly a blend of oils from different vegetables and other plants that are considered to be vegetables, even though they are not. You can find corn, sunflower, palm, soybean, canola, cottonseed, soy, and safflower. All are considered by the industry to be vegetable oils. These cooking oils are highly processed and lack real flavor and nutrients. In processing, oil is heated beyond what it can tolerate which makes it lose nutrients. Sometimes, the heat makes it rancid. Sounds so appetizing, right? If I have ever run into brand new rancid vegetable oil, I was not aware of it.
Vegetable oil comes from cottonseed or soy oil. It has been hydrogenated to give it a stable shelf life. Cottonseed is not a food product. Canola comes from rapeseed, another non-food product. Rapeseed oil was used as a lubricant on ships back in World War II. It comes from Canada. The word canola comes from Canada Oil Low Acid which is its official name. It is a bad tasting and smelling product but by highly refining it, they can make it into a cooking oil that Americans use. It is refined, bleached, and deodorized with chemicals.
Vegetable oils have a high smoke point (400° to 450°) which make them good for high heat cooking such as frying. This is why vegetable oils are so popular. They typically have a long shelf life, unlike some of the cooking oils below on this page.
Vegetable oil is also good as an ingredient for baking and for salad dressing, although I would rather use olive oil in salad dressing.
In baking, instead of Crisco (shortening or oil), try using butter or lard for some good flavor. If the recipe calls for oil, melt the butter.
Good Tuesday morning. I woke up at 5:30am, hungry. I got up and made myself a cup of HEB K-cup Christmas chocolate covered cherry coffee. Oh my stars, it is so good! I need to go back to HEB and get some more before they are all sold out for the season.
I hope today will be a bit calmer than yesterday so I don't have to spend the entire day pulling orders. Don't get me wrong. I love the fact that the orders are coming in but we have a skeleton crew this week because it is the end of the year and everyone is trying to take vacation days before they lose them. They should have been taking them throughout the year so we are not left in a lurch again. While they enjoyed a long week off, we got Thanksgiving Day only because the orders would have been overwhelming had we ignored them.
Sometime this week, we will start decorating for Christmas. I finally got the scarecrow and gourds down from the Farm Store porch. I still need to move all of those pumpkins back to the chickens. They will love eating the pumpkins.
The low this morning was 67° and it should get up to 82° today. Can you believe that? It is overcast and sort of hazy out there. It should rain here soon, but you never know. Right now is 8:25am and 70°. The orders are lower than they were so we can get some other things done instead of rushing to get orders out. There are four of us today to do the work.
We had a lot of customers and visitors today. One lady is doing Green Santa in Poteet and the first 100 kids to the event will get a free garden basket. Not sure when it is but we donated quite a few seeds to it today.
It is currently 3pm and it is 82°. The orders are getting big. I have been pulling and filling them all day long. Thank you to everyone who is ordering their seeds for the holidays and for spring! We truly appreciate your business!
My favorite cooking oil to use in cooking is olive oil. It has a great taste and high nutritional value. The smoke point is not high like with vegetable oil, even though olives are a vegetable. This means you will not be using it in the deep fryer to cook up a batch of fries. It is best used for low and medium heat cooking, such as sauteing vegetables. I like to saute cut up veggies in it like mushrooms, potatoes, onion, garlic, squash, zucchini, etc.
You want to use Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or as Rachael Ray puts it, EVOO because it is not refined. EVOO is also good for roasting veggies in the oven, in baking, and in salad dressing and bread dipping. It has a good amount of monounsaturated fats as well as
polyunsaturated fatty acids
which are healthy for you. If a bottle is marked as Pure or Virgin (not extra virgin), then it has refined olive oil in it. It is okay but the EVOO has the flavor that everyone wants in an olive oil.
Olive oil is the main cooking oil in Mediterranean cooking and in Italian dishes. I grew up eating lots of authentic Italian food because of where I grew up. We lived in Poughkeepsie, New York until I turned 16. Many of my neighbors, friends, and family were Italian and they could cook. However, my mother was never into olive oil so she always used vegetable oil because that is what all of the cooking oil TV commercials recommended at the time.
I was married before I ever started cooking with olive oil and I love it. We go through a lot. I like to chop our garden fresh vegetables as well as potatoes and drizzle olive oil on them. Then I salt and pepper the veggies and roast them in the oven for about 30 minutes or so. The flavors are magical, so delicious when cooked this way.
Good, cold Wednesday morning! It is 47° but the sun came up so beautifully as you can see above. It is windy out there. I just came back from opening the store and feeding the fish. Bundle up if you are coming out to the farm to see us today.
Today, Clean Up With Michelle, a cleaning service from San Antonio, will be coming out to clean our business. Our team does some cleaning but it has not had a professional cleaning ever in its almost 2.5 years out here in the country. I think they will have to come back for a second day because we have a lot of dusty buildings.
Well, it is the last day of November. This year went by quickly although, when we were in the middle of that awful heat and drought this past summer, it just dragged by.
Michelle came to clean the business. There was so much dirt and dust in Production that she only got that building completed. She will be back later this week to do the rest of the buildings.
One person came by for some of the plastic bins David has been selling. The large ones are about gone but we have some of the next size down. She took about ten of those. You can come out and see what we have left if you are interested. Most are completely sold out by now. These are used bins that we were keeping seeds in but they are like new. No, we don't deliver. We are selling them very discounted as it is and some have asked us to drive them into San Antonio and meet at a neutral public place. We are a public business. LOL!
Everyone is getting ready for the holidays. Prices have skyrocketed and now you can't get propane. Our barbecue grill takes propane but there is none available anywhere in the area. This is getting ridiculous.
We finally located some at a propane company for about $20 a tank. We bought it because it is for the greenhouse to keep it warm when it freezes. Everything has gone up in price.
David's second pair of glasses was finally ready so we went into Pleasanton and picked them up. The first pair no longer worked after he started taking medication for diabetes.
We also did some grocery shopping while we were in town. I made a delicious chicken soup today because it was cold. It is 7:45pm and it is 50°. It should get down in the high 30s tonight.
I just baked David a no sugar cake and for the first time in my life, I used lard in it instead of oil. It looks amazing and smells delicious. I can't wait for it to cool off so I can see how the lard did. David bought lard a few months ago to try but I was against it. Yes, I was fully indoctrinated as a kid watching all of the TV commercials that were on during the day playing for housewives as they watched their soap operas. But I decided to give it a try.
The chocolate cake came out tasting delicious with a wonderful flavor and texture. David really liked it, too. Yes, Grandma was right. Lard is the ticket, not some horrible overheated plant oils.
Because lard comes from animals, many consumers will not use it for home cooking. I think it is mainly because of all of the pushing away from lard to vegetable oil in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. So called experts deemed meat fat as unhealthy and bad for your cholesterol so people were afraid to keep using it.
Lard can be used in baking, grilling, sauteing, frying, and roasting, just like any of the other cooking oils. It tastes way better than vegetable oil and now they say it is healthier for you than butter.
Lard comes from the fat of a pig. Farmers used to take the pork fat when they butchered a pig to save for cooking and candle making. Now, homesteaders do that if they raise pigs. If you would like to try lard and you don't have any pigs to butcher, you can find it at the grocery store in the same aisle where you find oils. It is usually on the bottom shelf. Your baked goods and pie crusts will come out much tastier if you use lard instead of Crisco. Go on, give it a try.
If you are a homesteader raising pigs, you will probably be putting a pig in the freezer. Don't forget to render the lard from the pig and put it in jars. Lard is not bad. Remember that back in the olden days, people used lard because Crisco, which is hydrogenated cottonseed oil, did not exist. Now, we have vegetable oils and more people are obese and/or sick than back then. It does not take a genius to figure out that something is wrong with our whole "don't eat fats, eat this other stuff" mentality. When I was little, obesity was the exception. Now, let's face it, it is the rule.
Lard has a high smoke point. Lard is what makes pie crusts flaky and fried chicken crispy. Great Grandma had it right when she used lard in her cooking. American marketing know how made the country think it was unsafe by using TV commercials saying so. They wanted to push the vegetable oils because they were cheap to make and there was a whole industry to make money by making them edible. Lard does not need to be hydrogenated to stay stable on your shelf. You don't need to add chemicals. Lard is not unhealthy. This was just a marketing ploy.
Happy December! Our temperature got down to 43° instead of 39° like the weatherman said. It is still plenty cold and breezy out there. Nacho, Matt, and David are trying to replace the expensive plastic once again on the greenhouse because it is full of holes and tearing. Someone screwed in a bunch of holes on the outside and it is being shredded out there. For some reason, people do not listen to what David says. This time, he has to stay out there with them to make sure it is done right.
Meanwhile, we have one person here to pull orders today. I need to go out and close them. I am trying to get some articles written in my home office where I am comfy but I don't think that will happen this morning. We have zero decorations up for Christmas at this point. Lots of stuff to do and no time to make it happen but it seems that is how it always is in December, right? It is only 8:30am so let's all try to make it a productive day.
Nacho finally got all of the plastic off of the greenhouse that was torn. David and Matt, as well as Angelica and myself, were out there for a while. Then I tripped over something and hurt the same foot that was in the cast so I went in and stayed in pain for the rest of the day. Fun times! They got the new plastic put on and fastened down without putting holes in the plastic. When you put holes in $3000 plastic, it rips in the strong winds we have out here.
Then Nacho had time to put up our new Santa and Mrs. Claus on the deck between the kitchen and the Farm Store. They look good. He is supposed to come back on Saturday and put up the rest.
This evening, I finally put together some DIY fabric softener sheets on my DIY laundry soap page. Click the blue link to check it out.
Avocado oil is not refined and has a high smoke point. The first time I tried cooking with it, David brought some home with him when he went to a trade show in San Antonio. It has a neutral flavor which makes it good to use. The food you are cooking will not be overpowered by the flavor of the oil.
Avocado has a good amount of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids
along with vitamin E so it is a nice choice to cook with. The downside is that avocado oil is expensive.
Hi there! It is already 12:30pm and it has been a busy, wet morning. It is 63° but it started out at 49°. It has been misting all day long.
Michelle is here cleaning the house. I have been working on the websites, printing orders, folding laundry and cleaning up in the kitchen.
We haven't had any customers today but then again, why would we on such a wet day?
Mr. and Mrs. Claus did well on the deck overnight and are still working in the mist so I think we are good. The mist has finally stopped but everything is wet and the sky is overcast. The pumpkins have finally made it from the front porch of the Farm Store as fall decorations over to our back porch here at home. Now I will cut them up and feed them to the chickens. Pumpkin is supposed to be very good for chickens and helps de-worm them along with hot pepper flakes. You are supposed to de-worm your hens every month so I have been giving them natural things instead of medications.
As far as eggs go, I am getting from two to seven a day, mostly two...I wonder how long this will last until they start laying a good amount again.
After Michelle left, I made some DIY laundry detergent. I will be using it in the morning to try it out. Too much else to do this evening.
It stayed wet all day long and humid. Now it is not supposed to get cold in the night, only down to 64°.
I have used peanut oil and pecan oil to cook with but I have never tried walnut oil. Peanut oil is best known for frying turkeys. We did that one year and the turkey was incredibly delicious!
We went to a pecan farm early in 2022 and bought some pecan oil. It has a nice flavor and is incredibly expensive. It is also tasty in salad dressing and for flavoring your popped corn, like butter. Pecan oil has a lower smoke point.
Peanut oil has a high smoke point and a delicious taste so it is popular. It is not expensive the way pecan oil is.
Walnut oil has a low smoke point so it is not really good for cooking, a nice flavor for using in food prep, and has omega fatty acids. It is not cheap so instead of cooking with it, you may want to flavor foods with it instead. It can be used to flavor waffles, pancakes, etc., in place of butter when eating.
Good morning. The air stayed warm all night. It is now 7am and 64° but it is wet outside. I fed all of the indoor animals and soon I will have to go outside but it is still dark so I guess it is cloudy. I don't want to run into a snake or a spider I can't see so I will sit here and drink coffee for a while.
Nacho and Michelle are both supposed to come and work here today. I need to pull orders and mail them out. I really just want to stay home today and have a normal weekend, decorating for Christmas but that won't happen because we have no one to cover the weekend shift again.
This evening, we will be making beef wellington a la Gordon Ramsay so it should be fun.
I pulled and filled all of the website orders this morning. There were not too many. We have had four customers so far, more than I ever dreamed we would have today with this wet weather. It is noon now. Michelle is here cleaning. Nacho decided not to come out today. Those Christmas decorations won't hang themselves. LOL! Santa was lying down on the job three times this morning on the deck. I repositioned him and he seems to be doing fine now. Mrs. Claus is doing a great job of waving at folks going by.
At 1:30pm, the mailman came and Michelle told me she had to leave for a family emergency situation. She left and Nacho decided to come out after all. He got here with one of his sons and fixed Santa because he fell down a few more times. They put up a bunch of lights and two more of our new blowups. They look pretty good--Santa with some goats and a giant Christmas rooster. The store did not have any chickens.
Sunflower oil has a high smoke point and is high in vitamin E. The flavor is not strong which is good but it has omega 6 fatty acids which are not the good omegas that we need. I have used sunflower oil.
Sesame oil has a strong flavor so it is often used when sesame flavor is needed in a dish. It has a higher smoke point. I have used sesame oil.
Flaxseed oil has a low smoke point so it cannot be used in high heat cooking. It is high in omega 3 fatty acids, making it healthy. It needs to be stored in the refrigerator. I have not used flaxseed oil before.
Happy Sunday. It is 6am and 56° outside. I am enjoying a cup of coffee in quiet since everyone else is still asleep. I woke up because my nose was once again clogged due to fun allergies.
We were supposed to make beef Wellington yesterday but we had people here for most of the day plus customers at the store and I pulled orders. We just didn't have time. So today, we will attempt it, hopefully.
I went out and fed everyone. I just finished making French toast for David and me. You will be happy to know that it is raining/sprinkling on and off again.
After church, we ate lunch and then I started prepping for the Beef Wellington. It is a lot of work and I should have done the prep part last night.
Anyway, the Beef Wellington came out delicious after many hours. It was about 6:30pm before it was ready but it looked beautiful.
The puff pastry is so good and the meat was tender and so yummy. We have enough for dinner tomorrow night as well. I will be sharing the recipe on here soon.
Coconut oil is excellent for baking and cooking. It is certainly more expensive than vegetable oil but it is very versatile. You can put a spoonful in your coffee and it tastes really good. It has a highly saturated fat content but not everyone agrees that it is harmful when used in moderation. It has a high smoke point because it is highly saturated fat.
Coconut oil can be used for skin care, cleaning teeth, hair care, and it is great for seasoning all of your cast iron pans.
Coconut oil comes as a solid or as a partial solid when you buy it because of its saturated fats. It melts when heated. It melts at about 76° Fahrenheit so if you are in Texas during much of the year, it might be in liquid form before you get it home. The oil is separated from the delicious coconut meat. Sometimes, it leaves a bit of coconut smell and taste. Other times, it does not. It is good for both sweet and savory cooking and baking. Vegans use it as a butter substitute in baking.
Refined coconut oil has a higher smoke point of 400° F. but the cold pressed coconut oil retains its nutritional value and has a lower smoke point of 350°. Any oil that is cold pressed will cost more than the refined (heated) oil.
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