Coconut oil and deep frying and the low smoke point and its health effects
Hey there. I searched and I searched to get a clear answer to my dilemma but I can't find find it. I wanted to get into deep frying so I enthusiastically bought a fryer and a few expensive buckets of virgin coconut oil with the assumption that i could use it many times over because of how heat resistant coconut oil is.
But then I read about its relatively low smoke point. 350 Fahrenheit or 175 Celsius. A lot of food needs to be deep fried at least at 375 Fahrenheit or 190 Celsius because otherwise the foods soak up too much oil.
But what exactly are the bad effects it could have on your health if the oil exceeds the smoke point?
Now I have read about someone whose piece of meat was set on fire because he said that he used coconut oil beyond its smoke point. I can't risk that. I couldn't find examples of this happening anywhere else though. I also don't want to ruin my expensive coconut oil, I'd rather keep it stored and use it in normal cooking since it has a long shelf life.
I also read that going beyond the smoke point, oils release free radicals. But I also read that this only happens with PUFAs (polyunsaturated fat). So is going over the smoke point with Coconut oil really harmless?
I couldn't find out why else bringing coconut oil above its smoke point could be a bad thing.
So I have been debating with myself to get some palm oil for deep frying instead, because it is also high in saturated fat but has a much higher smoke point. And it is apparently much cheaper. But I have seen people write that this oil isn't very healthy because of its 11% PUFA (polyunsaturated fat).
I read about using lard or tallow for deep frying but I can't buy that here anywhere here so I would have to make it myself and look for a butcher that is willing to sell me his pork fat and then make it. I might do that later when I become more experienced with deep frying and I have found some recipes that I really like.
Thank you for your time. If you know anything that could help me in my choice (and others that come across it) I would highly appreciate that you share it. If I have made any bad assumptions I would love to know as well.
I've deep fried stuff in pure coconut oil before without a problem. Yes the virgin variety. The oil didnt smoke and neither was my food greasy. I'm very fond of deep frying sweet potatoe chips in it. Works a treat. Why not try a very small test batch? Chop up bit of potatoe, use a small pan and fry it up in an " of your oil. Then you can decide for yourself.
On a related note, I've observed that different brands(all labelled as "extra virgin coconut oil) are less prone to smoking than others. Nutiva Coconut oil seems less prone to it than EFA Gold, in my experience, for example.
I'm talking about cold-pressed/processed coconut oil, as virgin as it gets. Maybe where you live, they are allowed to call it extra virgin because it isn't regulated to mean that it is cold-pressed. Do the packages of the coconut oil that you guys use say that? At what temperatures do you deep fry?
I would really appreciate some more input about what I said in the first post, especially.
I'm im Australia, we label it as virgin, simply meaning unrefined. The one I use is Banaban brand which is a cold pressed, unrefined oil from fiji. I have no idea of the actual temp at which I fry as I use the old method of dropping an item in the oil and if it immediately floats, the oil is hot enough. I confess I dont tend to be very scientific when it comes to cooking.
Last edited by Claraflo; 12-18-2011 at 03:40 PM.