I think canola oil (besides being a newly invented, industrial oil) is smelly and tastes awful. Have you ever tried a spoonful of the stuff? It also smokes up my cast iron pans like crazy, so it's useless when I cook in cast iron (which I've been trying to do more). I can smell a canola-fried food a mile away, and it's a bitter, awful odor. I just really don't like it anymore!
So, instead of canola, I've been using a lot more healthy fats like coconut oil, which is the topic of this post. I love me some real butter too, and use it often. This is not a post about replacing butter! Butter is also full of healthy yummy goodness, and I think it's a great real food to use. I just wanted to share some of the ways I use coconut oil, and why I love it so very much!
By way of introduction, coconut oil is solid below 76 degrees or so, and it is liquid around 80 degrees. It is a very stable oil that doesn't go rancid easily. There are apparently lots of really science-ey reasons why it's healthy -- but I don't like having to be a biologist to understand my food. If LDL/HDL cholesterol, lauric acid, medium chain fatty acids, and such things excite you, you should probably look it up. Coconut oil is full of healthy saturated fats, and it helps our bodies absorb the nutrients it's eaten with.
Coconut oil is a little pricey, at least seemingly so - but it's an incredible multitasker, and it's healthy, so that makes it a much better use of our money than a smelly, newly invented oil with no health value. I buy my coconut oil from Amazon, usually using my points from my Amazon Rewards card. Watch for deals on it, and stock up! I purchased a 54oz tub in mid-December, and still have 1/3 to 1/2 of the jar left. I really like being able to use it for so many different things, which cuts down on the stuff I have to keep around.
Here are some of the things I do with coconut oil:
- The obvious cooking purposes: sauteeing, frying, baking, cooking (it has a medium-high smoke point, and a subtle flavor)
- I replace Crisco in any recipe calling for it with butter or coconut oil, one-for-one
- Throw some in a smoothie - it freezes and adds little nubs of flavor
- As a facial moisturizer and lip balm
- To help the little spots of eczema that pop up on my hands in the winter
- As an incredibly softening hair serum/smoother -- just a dab does the trick
- For seasoning my cast iron pans
- As a quick-absorbing, super-moisturizing hand and foot lotion
- For cooking popcorn the old-fashioned way -- gives it a great flavor
- And my latest discovery...oiling my wooden cutting boards and spoons!
- Shaving oil (I use olive/almond oil, but I'm sure this would work too)
- Make a Hershey's "Magic Shell" - melt, mix with cocoa or peanut butter powder, and drizzle over ice cream (going to try this soon...YUM!)
- Leather conditioner
- Antibacterial cleaner for small cuts and sores
- Deodorant (I had bad luck with this, but many people report better experiences)
- I've heard it makes some killer sweet potato fries...