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Cooking oil – everything you need to know about the kitchen’s liquid gold

Ever wondered which of the oils in your kitchen is best for frying, baking or roasting? We examine the different flavours of oil, and discover which is best for frying, baking and salad dressings.

Are you still using sunflower oil to cook and bake with? Would that change if we told you sunflower oil is best used with cold cuisine? Today we take a closer look at the ten more popular kitchen oils and reveal which ones are best suited to your style of cooking. Olive oilOlive oil is a key ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine with its strong flavour the perfect accompaniment to savoury dishes. It also tastes delicious in salad dressings. However, olive oil has a how smoking point so don’t use it for frying. To ensure your oil is high quality look for the term “native olive oil”.

Rapeseed oil

Richer in Omega 3 than other plant-based oils, rapeseed oil can help reduce cholesterol levels. It’s produced by gently pressing rapeseed and has an equally mild flavour. Unlike other oils, rapeseed oil is suitable for frying and baking at high temperatures.

Sunflower oil

Sunflower oil is one of Europe’s most popular cooking oils. It’s made by pressing sunflower seeds and has a neutral taste. This oil is best in cold dishes, such as salads or raw vegetables. Once opened, use the oil as soon as possible as it can quickly turn rancid.  

Safflower oil

Just like sunflower oil, safflower oil has a mild flavour and tastes best with salads and raw vegetables. It can be used to briefly sauté a dish but is not suitable for cooking at high heats.

Sesame oil

There are two types of sesame oil. The lighter variety is made by pressing untreated seeds and has a neutral flavour. Its darker cousin is pressed from roasted sesame seeds and has a stronger taste. Use to prepare both cold and warm Asian dishes.

Walnut oil

Pressing walnuts produces a delicious oil with a distinctly nutty flavour and high levels of vitamin E. Nuts are often roasted prior to pressing to intensify the nutty taste. The oil’s colour varies from pale yellow to green-yellow. Store in a cool place and don’t heat.

Argan oil

This fine, nutty oil is made from the fruit of the argan tree. It’s great for preparing marinades, cooking meat and fish dishes or a whipping up a healthy salad dressing.

Pumpkin seed oil

A dark green oil made from the seeds of the oil squash. The rich flavour is intensified by roasting the seeds before pressing, making it ideal for dressings and sauces. It’s one of the more expensive oils though so store in a cold, dark place to prevent it becoming rancid.

Grapeseed oil

This cold pressed oil is made from seeds left over after the wine making process. It has a hearty, nutty flavour and tastes fantastic drizzled over a salad.

Linseed oil

Pressing linseed produces this golden oil, which is commonly eaten with new potatoes and quark. As the oil doesn’t keep for long, it’s usually sold in small bottles. Store in the fridge and use as quickly as possible as it turns rancid and bitter after a few weeks.

So there you go. Proof that no two oils are quite the same!  Now think about your own cooking habits and which oils your kitchen would benefit from. We say – the more, merrier!