Jun 2, 2015

Good Fats in My Kitchen

Thankfully the skinny is out on the low-fat diet trend.  People are opening their eyes to the wisdom of healthy traditional cultures who eat great amounts of saturated fats.  

Fat is what makes food taste good.  And it's what helps stabilize your hormones and blood sugars.  Oh, and did you know if you dehydrated your brain, half of it would be ...wait for it...FAT.  Growing children need lots of good fat.  Hormonal women need fat.  Want to think clearly?  Eat fat.  Trying to loose weight?  Eat fat.

As I was making pancakes one day, it dawned on me to write a blog post about the different kind of fats I use in the kitchen. (However, putting that thought into action has taken a month...or two.)

In no particular order, here are a few pictures and reasons I use each of these fats.

Pork Lard is excellent for frying as it lends itself well to high heat.  I don't recommend lard from the grocery store, as it has been hydrogenated for a longer shelf life.  This industrialized process deems it very unhealthy.  

Buy lard from a local farmer or render some yourself, it isn't difficult. Pigs that roam outdoors absorb vitamin D from the sun and this vitamin D is passed along to me (as opposed to industrial pork that never sees the light of day).  Eat lard and don't feel guilty.  Freckle Face Farm is usually at the Hillcrest Farmers Market on Saturdays.
With lard, I like to deep fry falafel, fry pancakes on the griddle, frying potatoes, making tortillas, pie crusts and even biscuits.  Some people like to pop their popcorn in lard.  However, I prefer to pop mine in a combination of coconut oil and palm oil (below, palm oil is the reddish orange oil).  Movie popcorn originally used palm oil (thus the nice orange color of popcorn at the theater).
Coconut oil can be used in baking or frying.  Unrefined coconut oil will impart a bit of a coconut flavor, whereas lard is a neutrally flavored fat.  I have purchased gallons coconut oil from Tropical Traditions and Mountain Rose Herbs and prefer the latter.

Schmaltz is rendered chicken fat.  If you roast a chicken, or cook one in a crock pot, the fat that rises to the top of the broth is schmaltz.  It can be skimmed and used for frying and lower temperatures.  I like to sauté veggies, especially onions in schmaltz.
Butter - oh man, do we eat some butter.  In the winter it seems we eat almost twice as much as the rest of the year.  It is not uncommon for our family of 5 to eat 2 pounds a week.  We slather butter on most anything (my husband has been known to put it on bananas!)  One of the many benefits of butter is that it is already packaged in handy proportions.  You will find conventional butter (not organic) in my fridge most days because I'd break the bank buying organic butter.  The way I figure it, the majority of my family's fats are from clean, local sources so I don't feel guilty about buying conventional butter.  I buy organic butter occasionally - esp. if it is on sale.

Not pictured:
Tallow - rendered beef fat can be used similarly as pork lard.  Currently I do not have any in my kitchen but when I do, we like to fry potatoes in it.

Bacon grease -  It's like gold.  I save it in a jar in the fridge - it will keep for months.  My favorite application is to flavor sautéed kale or fry eggs (lard is good for eggs too).  I've even used bacon grease to make a maple/bacon salad dressing.  Bacon is good on everything. 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil - I buy at least a gallon a year from Chaffin Family Orchards and use it for salad dressing and mayonnaise.

For salads, we also add nuts, cheese and avocado for more satiating power.

Toasted Expeller Pressed Sesame Oil - frying Asian inspired foods at higher temps and in salad dressing.  I use it sparingly because the flavor can be quite strong.

Grapeseed Oil - this isn't a super healthy oil but it has a neutral flavor and I feel it is better for me than canola oil.  I use equal portions of grape seed and olive oil when making mayonnaise.

Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Butter Oil from Green Pasture.  These are used as supplements (aka vitamins). 

Which fats have I forgotten?  Do you have a favorite?

Eat some healthy fat at every meal,

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1 comment:

  1. I LOVE FAT, and especially because it does make food taste so much better. FAT is FLAVOR!!! But anyway, I couldn't help but notice the pancakes in the background of that lard photo. *LOL* They look so fluffy and perfect!!! :-) Do you have recipe for those??

    P.S. I love your blog, I was looking for a way to use some fresh banana peppers that came in my CSA box this week and came across your recipe for lacto-fermented peppers. Definitely going to do that!! THANK YOU :-)



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