Tell me about OIL : LUSENET : Country Families : One Thread

Last year at Cs there was a lot of discussion about canola oil, so I have quit using it. I use mostly olive oil, corn oil, and I found sunflowere oil last week. What do you use? What are the benefits and weaknesses of these tyoes of oils? What should one look for? Tell me all about it, I want to be educated!!!

Also what about shortening? I know it isn't good for you, but what about for a pie crust??? Are there any that are better than otheres? I only make pie with crusts, maybe once a month, but I want to make it as healthy as possible.

-- Melissa in SE Ohio (, February 21, 2002


You may ave opened a can of worms here and may get some heated opinions.

there was a post some time back here or on CS about the dangers of canola oil, so I quit using it. Later, I find there are two kinds of canola oil (different seeds, crops, etc.. as best I can recall). So....

As for me, I use corn, canola , a mix, but sparingly. I prefer olive oil or butter. But now that I know canola oil is safe, I do use it some. It is not good for you, but I do use shortening in pie crust. That's the way I learned to make it. Tried lard once, but did not like the taste. I strive for moderation. I think it is quite difficult to change from what we grew up with and are accustomed to. Not that we shouldn't try to be healthy. Seems the "rules" change every few months. I try to apply the motto " Is this totally man- made, or did it come from something God created?" That's my plumb- line more or less, but it does rule out shortening............

-- connie in nm (, February 21, 2002.

Right Connie, that is what I try to think.

But what is canola??? I read it was a genetically altered plant and I have never seen one???

I have seen corn!!!! and sunflowers!!! That was kind of my reasoning, if it is real I would use it.

I don't want to start any debate, but was really wanting to learn more.

Does anyone use plain butter in pie crust?

-- Melissa in SE Ohio (, February 21, 2002.

I use butter in pie crust.

I don't understand the scientifics of it, but apparently, the hydrogenation (sp) process is what makes shortening bad. Same with margarine.

Through our food buying club, I once ordered expeller-pressed shortening. It worked well in pie crusts, pastries, etc. Stuff like this might be available through local health food stores.

-- Cat (, February 21, 2002.

I found a recipe on the Martha Stewart website that uses pure butter for pie crust, and it is wonderful! I also saw her make it on TV, and when she did, she substituted 2 tablespoons of shortening for 2 tablespoons of the butter (no explanation). If you want to try it, it was listed in the recipes on the website under Pate Brisbee (I think - it was Pate B...something) Not low fat, but if you don't make pie but once a month, it wouldn't be too bad, I shouldn't think!

This was the first time I made pie crust from scratch, it was one of those things I just never learned, and it took rave reviews filled with home-picked blackberries.

-- Christine in OK (, February 21, 2002.

I am still experimenting with pie crust. I have used butter, but at 3.19/lb. and no cow, that is too expensive for me. My son tried a mayonaise recipe, but some of us didn't care for it. I have also used oil, less than the amount of shortening called for.

As for oil, I currently use canola. I hadn't heard until now that it wasn't good. Guess there's one more thing for me to research:o)

-- Cathy N. (, February 21, 2002.

Oh, one more thing. Some people use lard in pie crust. Animal fat is supposed to be easier for your body to process than solid vegetable fat. Don't know about liquid or cold pressed vegetable fat. I use bacon grease to oil my iron pans when cooking; adds flavour and things don't stick. Also use bacon grease in things like cornbread. I keep a jar on the stove and add to it whenever we have bacon. It doesn't ever go rancid like other fats--could be the salt keeps it good?

-- Cathy N. (, February 21, 2002.

Cathy, I can get butter for $1.69 a pound at Aldi's so it wouldn't be that expensive for me. Did you just substitute it equally for the butter?

In the CS archives there are several threads about canola, but I don't know for sure where.

-- Melissa in SE Ohio (, February 21, 2002.

Sorry, I meant to say did you substitute the butter equally for the shortening?

-- Melissa in SE Ohio (, February 21, 2002.

We use butter in pie crust. YUMMM

As for oil, I use ONLY olive oil. I know that some people think it leaves a "taste" in breads, cakes, etc. But we don't notice it at all. Also, we just love olive oil to dip our bread in. If your olive oil is leaving a "taste" in your baking, see what kind you're using. For example, there are "extra virgin," "virgin," and just "olive oil" - has to do with the processing. The extra virgin is the strongest "olivey" tasting.

Another option, (Some of you may already know this trick) if you're making cakes or sweet breads is to use applesauce instead of whatever kind of oil it calls for. If recipe calls for 1/4 cup of oil - then you just add 1/4 cup applesauce. It does the same job as the oil; keeps the cake moist & NO it doesn't make it taste like apples. ;)

This is making me hungry..........

-- hmm (, February 21, 2002.

Melissa, I miss Aldi's!!! I used it cup for cup; makes a nice, buttery-tasting, rich crust. Took it to a church fellowship and it was snapped up in a hurry! Maybe the contents (a cranberry cheesecake type of pie) had something to do with it as well?

-- Cathy N. (, February 21, 2002.

Canola -- the name is from Canada Oil. It is from rape seed which, if it weren't hybridized would be poisonous because of the erucic acid content. Please, please, everyone do an internet search on the negative effects. According to some researches, it is still poisonous.

It's Canada's way of exporting an inferior oil. But then, most oils on the market are inferior oils.

We use butter, extra virgin olive oil and a little raw unrefined sesame oil (for making peanut butter).

We don't consider lard to be a healthful fat, mainly because the Good Book says no livestock fat, but approves of butter. We don't worry about poultry fat as it is soft and buttery, not hard like lard.

You can get lots of good fats with fresh nuts, seeds, etc. Love that hummus with sesame seeds! And love that muesli with fresh ground hazelnuts!

You'll be surprised what your research will turn up about Canola!

-- HV (, February 21, 2002.

Interesting articles about Canola:

"Canola -- Canada's Oil Spill Onto The American Market"

"BIOWATCH: Say no to Canola" by Athalie Russell, Johannesburg, S. Africa.

"The Health Effects of Canola Oil - None Dare Call It Rape" by Don Harkins.

There are lots more, but these might get you started.

-- HV (, February 21, 2002.

I don't know if this belongs here but . . .

The latest Countryside (March / April) had a short article on the dangers of using COTTENSEED oil. If I remember correctly, the article mentioned that cotton is sprayed with many herbicides, and using it in mulch and cooking should be some cause of concern for family health.

-- j.r. guerra in s. tx. (, February 21, 2002.

Yes, j.r., cottonseed is another of the inferior oils. Canola oil is the cheapest oil on the American market, so you find it in just about everything. Cottonseed would probably be the next cheapest. The "health" food industry has even been sold on Canola! But then, the health industry was also sold on soy by-products (of the inferior soy oil processing) which we are finding are very UNhealthful. Traditional soy was always sprouted or fermented to make it edible.

Check labels! Looks like they've even taken the peanut oil out of peanuts and replaced it with Canola oil, in making peanut butter!

-- HV (, February 21, 2002.

I recently asked this same question at my health food store where they are very "up" on these things. They told me canola itself is not bad but rather the way it is processed. It is processed with a petroleum product or expeller pressed. Obviously, expeller pressed is the better of the two. I use Spectrum organic canola oil for baking however it is expensive - about $6.00 a qt. I use organic extra virgin olive oil also and I do use butter to make pie crusts and also biscuits. I never use shortening or lard. This might kind of explain why I spend so much on groceries for 2 people but we feel our health is worth it. If I had a large family of kids though, I couldn't afford it!

-- Barb in Ky. (, February 21, 2002.

Canola doesn't taste good to me. We use peanut oil, corn oil, or butter.

Olive oil tastes like something died.

-- Rose (, February 21, 2002.

According to Dr. Mercola ( some blindly advocate Canola based on its monounsaturated fat content. He says it contains other fatty acids which are harmful, and that olive oil is always the preferred mono fat. (I think it is delicious, but olive oils are about as varied as honey or wine!)

Bottom line to me is that if the rape seed oil is known to be inedible and the plant must be altered to be edible (tolerable?) then it should never have been considered for food use. (Canadian marketing is what it's all about.)

Studies show that the Chinese using unrefined rape seed oil in their wok cooking have a very high rate of lung cancer just from breathing the fumes!

-- HV (, February 21, 2002.

Rose----you must have gotten ahold of some old or not good quality Olive oil-----as we use it all the time & it is really good---but you have to watch for freshness & good brands---- you must have gotten some old or a bad brand---- as good olive oil doesn't taste that way at all(if it is good)------ as the old cajan cook use to say/ "I guarantee!!!!!"----try it again-- --cause ya don't know what ya are missing if it is good olive oil!!! best wishes---

-- Sonda in Ks. (, February 21, 2002.

I think all the Spectrum oils are good, although expensive. I only use extra-virgin olive oil because the others can be chemically processed. For baked goods I only use butter, I don't like oils in cakes. Olive oil is best in salads and mediteranean dishes. Spectrum peanut oil is good for stir-frying and asian foods. I tend to use less as these are expensive, but I think my family's health is worth it! I admit it though, I use Jiffy pie crust mix!

-- Jean (, February 21, 2002.

I would like to back up j.r.s advice about not using cottonseed oil. Because cotton is NOT a "food crop" it doesn't have to meet the same standards for pesticide use as other "food crops" who knows what it might be legally sprayed with. My children both tested positive to cottonseed oil allergens and so we have tried to avoid it-it is in (seemingly) EVERYTHING but we have found it mostly in cheap, snack type foods (alsa! no more Little Debbie Swiss Cake rolls!)Since last summer, my sons upset stomachs and headaches and mild joint pains have cleared up and my daughter, who had digestive problems and problems with contstipation is doing much better. Doing a couple of hectic weeks latley, I didn't watch our diet as closly and they ate some snacks at afterschool program-guess what problems came back?

-- Kelly (KY) (, February 22, 2002.

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