How to cook with palm oil is something that many people are searching for. Palm oil is a type of fat that has become popular in recent years. People are starting to use it instead of other fats, such as butter or olive oil. It's been shown that palm oil can be beneficial for the body when it comes to heart health and cholesterol levels. Still, some people worry about overconsumption because high amounts may raise the risk of certain diseases. However, cooking with palm oil doesn't have to be complicated: there are plenty of ways you can incorporate it into your diet without worrying about overdoing it!
In this guide, I'll cover how you can cook with it and what other health benefits might come along with eating more palmitic acid found within this vegetable-based product (which is why so many vegans love using it).
What is palm oil, and where is it found?
If you've landed on this page, you may be wondering what palm oil is and where it comes from. Palm oil is a type of edible vegetable oil derived from the fruit of the African oil palm tree. The reddish colour of palm oil comes from carotenoids, a form of vitamin A that gives many red and orange fruits their colour. Because these carotenoids are found in red palm oil, it has a higher nutritional value than regular palm oil.
Palm and coconut oils are widely used in cooking, but they get their nutrition from different sources. Coconut oil gets health benefits like fibre, vitamins C, E, and B-complex, iron, selenium, sodium, and calcium solely from coconuts. Palm fruit pulp (red palm) and the kernel part of the fruit (palm kernel) are rich in antioxidants like beta-carotene that aren't found in coconut meat or coconut milk.
Health Benefits of Palm Oil
There are many benefits to palm oil, and especially in recent years, it has gained a reputation as a healthy oil that can replace more processed oils and fats. To be sure, both the health effects of palm oil on humans and the environmental impact of harvesting palm oil are complex subjects.
There's a good amount of research pointing to the positive effects of palm oil on heart health, weight loss, brain function, vision health, and even cancer prevention.
But there have also been studies indicating that palm oil can be harmful when consumed in large quantities over time—the same could be said for any food product.
What is palm oil used for in food?
You may be wondering why palm oil is so widely used in food. The truth is that palm oil serves a massive role in the cooking industry. Not only is it used as a cooking oil and baking ingredient, but also as a common ingredient in many manufactured foods, including:
- Snacks (e.g., potato chips, cookies)
How to cook with palm oil
Palm oil is a versatile fat. The oil has a smoke point of 450°F and can be used for baking, frying, or sautéing. Because it's solid at room temperature, palm oil is best used as an alternative to butter or shortening in baked goods. However, because it has a mild taste and bright yellow colour, it's essential to choose the right recipe for palm oil.
When using palm oil for cooking, start by heating the pan on medium heat until the solidified chunks become liquid. Use a high-quality pan that's not damaged or warped so that your food won't stick to it during cooking. Once your food is browned or cooked through (depending on the recipe), remove it from the pan and add more ingredients if needed. You can also add herbs or spices at this time for some extra flavour to your dish.
What other substitutes for palm oil are there?
As a vegetable oil, palm oil is used in many processed foods and cosmetics, so it seems like finding an alternative would be difficult. But, other oils can work just as well!
You're probably already familiar with coconut oil. While it doesn't taste the same as palm oil, it has a delicious flavour on its own and is commonly used in baking. Olive oil is another good substitute. It's easy to find at any grocery store or market, and while you might be concerned about the price tag, remember that because you'll use very little at a time (the bottle will last for weeks or even months), this cost adds up to only pennies per serving.
How to remove palm oil from clothing and fabrics
Removing palm oil from clothing and fabrics can be tricky. The first step is to avoid the heat, which will cause the oil to set into the fibres of your garment. Try soaking the soiled area in a solution of dish soap and hot water, squeezing the garment gently after several minutes to work out any residue. If this method fails, pour boiling water directly over the stain, but be aware that this may cause damage to certain fabrics. If using dry-cleaning solvents, like rubbing alcohol or acetone, remember that these must be carefully diluted and washed away with warm water after application.
Regardless of what type of fabric you are working with, it's essential not to use harsh cleaners because they can damage delicate materials or colours. For example, ammonia is too alkaline for most applications and could ruin your favourite silks or wools, but it works beautifully if you're cleaning a hard surface like glass or plastic.
How to cook with coconut oil
You can use it during baking and frying foods, but it may not be the best choice for dressings or sauces. Coconut oil has a melting point of 78 degrees Fahrenheit, so when you buy it at room temperature, you want to make sure your house isn't too warm or the coconut oil will melt into a liquid state. You don't want that to happen because it's tough to measure when in a liquid form.
Coconut oil is easy to cook with. Its primary disadvantage is that its taste might interfere with food flavours if you're cooking with any spices like turmeric, cumin, and chilli powder. Otherwise, coconut oil is an excellent substitute for palm oil in savoury dishes and baked goods.
How to cook with olive oil
Olive oil has a high smoke point, making it an excellent oil for cooking at high temperatures. It's suitable for both savoury and sweet dishes, and as it contains healthy fats, this is one of the best choices you could make in terms of palm oil substitutes. Olive oil is commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine, but its popularity makes it easy to find.
How to cook with lard
Lard is one of the oldest cooking fats and has been used for centuries to cook, fry and bake with. Lard gives baked goods and fried foods a crispness that rivals butter or margarine. It can be used in some recipes in place of butter or margarine, though it is not as healthy as other oils.
It's best to use lard sparingly. Also, while it may have been used extensively in the past, there are healthier alternatives available today, such as coconut oil, palm oil, vegetable oil, etc.
How to cook with butter
The best way to cook with butter is by heating a pan until it gets very hot before adding the butter (or oil). Once the butter has melted and starts to foam, add your food (beef or chicken, for example) and cook evenly on each side for two minutes for perfect searing.
There are alternatives available if you do want to avoid using regular unsalted butter, such as ghee which tastes similar but has a much higher smoke point and will last longer in storage without going rancid. You can also use palm oil instead of ghee: it's a great substitute that's just as good!
There are many substitutes for cooking with palm oil
There are many different replacements for palm oil, but each contains its own range of benefits and drawbacks. Some have a strong taste that might not work well with specific recipes, while others may have a shorter shelf life than you would like. Take some time to think about what is most important for your recipe before you decide.
If your dish requires oil with a high smoke point, coconut oil is probably the way to go. However, it might not be the best fit if it has more complex or nuanced flavour profiles. If you're looking for something that tastes less like coconut than other options (like peanut butter), try using almond milk instead! It doesn't have all of those nuances at play but still adds richness without adding any sweetness to your meal—and it's lower in calories too.
Now that you know what can be used as a substitute for palm oil and how to cook with palm oil, it's time to get busy! Start experimenting with your new culinary knowledge. This is an exciting opportunity for you to create new recipes and learn how to use some of the most versatile cooking ingredients.
If you've never given much thought to cooking oils before, I hope this article has inspired you to think about your cooking differently.