Tips&TricksReusing cooking oil safely: How to fry without the guilt and health risk

Reusing cooking oil safely: How to fry without the guilt and health risk

The woman is frying in deep fat.
The woman is frying in deep fat.
Images source: © Getty Images | ©fitopardo

2:23 AM EST, January 27, 2024

We know that American cuisine ranks among the world's top culinary delights. Regrettably, it's also relatively rich in fats. Americans have a fondness for dishes fried in deep fat. However, this is detrimental to both our health and our weight. Foods fried in oil typically contain substantial amounts of trans fats, which contribute to an elevated risk of heart disease, among other conditions. Consuming such meals frequently increases harmful LDL cholesterol levels and a decrease in good HDL cholesterol levels. Thus, if we're going to fry something in oil, it’s essential to handle and store it appropriately. It has been found that it is possible to reuse the exact oil multiple times, provided certain conditions are adhered to.

How Often Can the Same Oil Be Used?

According to experts, reusing cooking oil is possible as long as the oil isn't overheated. To clarify, if the oil is heated to its smoke point, the point at which it starts to burn, it must not be reused. This is because the reactions that occur at this extreme temperature can be incredibly harmful to health. However, if you fry your dishes at lower temperatures, the oil can be reused. Be aware though that each subsequent use reduces the quality of the oil and its smoke point. The type of food you're frying is also a factor, as the oil may take on the taste of the previously cooked dish.

Cleaning Oil Before Reusing

Before reusing oil, it's essential to remove any food residues left from the previous frying session. The simplest way to do this is by straining the oil, which helps remove small bits of food sticking to it. However, make sure to have a bowl ready to collect the strained oil. It's important to remember that the oil should be cooled before straining. Another effective method can be found on the "America's Test Kitchen" YouTube channel. The trick involves using corn starch. To clean the oil, mix corn starch with water, then add this mixture to the previously used, cooled oil. Heat the mixture on low heat to collect the residues. Finally, strain the cleaned oil through a sieve.

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