Thursday, April 12, 2012

My Favorite (and most flavorful) Fats

I love to cook; and what adds richness and flavor to food, well fat of course!  Just over a year ago, my favorite fat to cook and season with was olive oil.  That was about it.  But since discovering the wonderful world of whole foods and educating myself on the role that fat plays in nutrition and what are good and bad fats, I use a wide variety of fats.  Boy oh boy, does my food taste immensely delicious!

I know, I know fat is fat right?  Not really.  But if you haven't done the research, I recommend starting with Nourishing Traditions here and/or In Defense of Food here.  The Weston A. Price Foundation has a wonderful website as well here.  I believe that the type of fat in my is much more important than the amount of fat in my diet.  So, I choose not to buy hydrogenated fats like margarine and shortening and opt for traditional, natural fats.  In my quest for healthy fats, I've fallen in LOVE with ghee and coconut oil; and have strengthened my love of olive oil. 

Ghee is basically refined butter.  It is butter that has been heated and the solids have been separated out, leaving just the pure butter fat.  Ghee has a wonderful rich flavor and a high smoke point, which makes it great for frying and cooking.  It is also shelf-stable, so it can be stored in my pantry and is always soft.  The versatility of ghee is just the big old cherry on top.  I've used it to cook with, to spread on toast, melted over popcorn, as a flavoring for vegetables, and even baking in a pinch.  I get my on amazon, as I've been unable to locate it at any of the stores I frequent.

Coconut Oil is probably the oil I use the most.  My favorite use is for scrambled eggs.  I know it sounds crazy, but that light coconut flavor just tastes great with eggs.  Don't knock it before you try it.  It is great for sauteing vegetables and chicken.  It's chock full of nutrition and is often put in smoothies.  The only "downside" to coconut oil is that is is solid at about 70 degrees and cooler, so when using in baking as a liquid fat, it has to be melted or it will clump and not incorporate very well.

Olive Oil, well, it's olive oil.  Delicious, healthy, versatile, what's not to like?  I even found a great store that sells about a hundred different olive oils in as many flavors as you can imagine (and an equal amount of balsamic vinegars).  In my cupboard now is a wild mushroom and sage, lemon, and rosemary flavored oils, yum!  I use olive oil mostly for salad dressings, dipping, and sauteing meats and veggies. 

I thought my journey to whole foods would limit the foods I ate, when it has really expanded my repertoire.  I've replaced processed junk that, though edible, is not food, with healthy, nutritious whole food.  And greatly increased the variety of foods in my family's diet. 

What kinds of fats are in your diet?


  1. I adore coconut oil and use both flavored and unflavored varieties of it almost every day. I still haven't tried ghee. Apparently, I'm missing out. I had it in my head that I'd have to make it myself and I just haven't been up for that. I might buy some and see how we like it first. Do you know how long it is shelf stable?

    1. Ghee is good forever it seems. My jars last forever, even after opening them and don't need refrigeration. I get mine from Amazon, or you can get it directly from Purity Farms here: The shelf life is 2+ years from what I've read. Mine never seems to last that long before we've used it all. But a jar usually lasts me 2-3 months depending on how often I use it.


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