• Mar20
  • Is This the Most Durable Cooking Oil Known to Man?

    For commercial kitchens (and high-volume household kitchens, too), frying presents significant logistical challenges. Aside from the safety issues surrounding the use of open vats of hot oil, durability and flavor consistency rank high on the list of concerns. Different oils rise to these twin challenges with varying levels of success. Here’s why cottonseed oil is a cut above on both counts — and why growing numbers of chefs are trading out other cooking oils for cottonseed oil recipes.

    Impressive Shelf Life

    According to a landmark study that looked at the chemical properties and subjective attributes of cottonseed oil, including its palatability relative to other cottonseed oil flavors, cottonseed oil’s shelf life is longer than just about any other non-hydrogenated oil’s.

    What does “shelf life” mean in this context? In short, the length of time that an oil container can sit at room temperature without compromising the subjective quality or physical integrity of the oil. While there are a range of factors that affect a particular batch’s shelf life, including unique attributes of the surrounding environment, cottonseed oil outperforms other oils on a consistent basis. That means less wasted oil for infrequent cooks.

    Stability in the Fryer

    Perhaps even more importantly, cottonseed oil appears to be more stable than other oils in repetitive frying operations. The chemical reasons for this are fairly technical, but the takeaway is that cottonseed oil lasts about half again as long in the fryer as other popular frying oils. That’s important for several reasons:

    • It allows restaurants to keep food costs under control, buying less oil to produce the same amount of food
    • It keeps diners happy by reducing the rate at which the flavor of cooked food seeps into the oil and compromises its taste
    • It keeps kitchens running smoothly, reducing the frequency of oil changeovers that can interrupt operations during busy periods
    • It improves worker safety, limiting contact with open vats of hot oil during changeovers
    • It’s great news for home cooks who want to produce restaurant-quality meals in their personal kitchens

    Durable oil has another benefit: consistency. This is one of the biggest “wins” for cottonseed oil fans: The oil’s impressive durability ensures that successive food batches cooked in the same oil taste roughly similar to one another. If you’re frying up potato chips in a factory, you want an oil that keeps the chips produced for Peoria on par with the chips destined for Denver. Ditto if you’re presiding over a Friday night fish fry that’s churning out pound after pound of cod or whitefish.

    Cook to Your Heart’s Content

    Some kitchen-dwellers and diners love cooking science. Others prefer to, well, cook and eat. But whichever side you come down on, it’s hard to ignore evidence right in front of your eyes. Cottonseed oil recipes achieve impressive consistency of flavor thanks to the oil’s above-average durability. If you’re looking to control your frying oil flavors, you may have your answer.