by CarlHaakenstad, Bulk Buyer
Recently, we added yet another cooking oil option to the Bulk department: organic high-oleic sunflower oil. Since we now have four cooking oils in Bulk, I thought this would be a good time to review the nutritional profiles and best culinary uses of the oils we offer in the Bulk department. Below is a listing of the cooking oils we offer in bulk and their various nutritional and culinary attributes.
Olive Oil: Olive oil is thought of as healthy oil because it is low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fats. The “Mediterranean” diet is a higher-fat diet. However, it is high in the believed healthy monounsaturated fats found in olive oil. The culinary uses of olive oil are broad: salad dressings, dipping oil, sauces, and even in baking. When cooking with olive oil, it is best to use it at a low to medium temperature because it has a low smoke point. When oil has reached its smoke point it will produce smoke and will begin to create free radicals and carcinogenic substances. The organic olive oil we carry in bulk comes from Napa Valley Naturals and is pressed from California grown olives.
Canola Oil: Canola oil is a mild-flavored, all-purpose cooking oil. Canola oil has a higher percentage of polyunsaturated fats (Omega 3 and 6) than olive oil or sunflower oil and a low percentage of saturated fats. Omega 6 fats are important to a healthy human body, though, the American diet is often too high in Omega 6’s and too low in Omega 3’s. The polyunsaturated fats in canola oil are close to the ideal ratio of one part Omega 3 fats to four parts Omega 6 fats. In cooking, canola oil is good for sautéing and baking because it has a medium-high smoke point. The organic canola oil in the Bulk department is from Spectrum Naturals and is sourced from Canada.
Toasted Sesame Oil: Toasted sesame oil has approximately equal levels of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, and it is a little higher in saturated fat than olive oil or sunflower oil. This oil has a lower smoke point so it is well suited for light sautéing and flavoring, especially eastern Asian stir fry dishes. In my household it is a necessity when making a stir fry, and I recommend that you make it a necessity in yours too for the rich flavors it imparts. The toasted sesame oil we carry in bulk comes from Kadoya and is pressed in Japan.
Sunflower Oil: Sunflower oil has a nutritional profile similar to olive oil: high in monounsaturated fats and low in polyunsaturated fats and saturated fats. The sunflower oil that we carry is high-oleic oil which means that it is high in oleic fatty acid and Vitamin E. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant when consumed and also helps keep the sunflower oil from oxidizing and spoiling. In fact, sunflower oil is the second highest food source of Vitamin E after wheat germ oil. Sunflower oil has a light nutty flavor which makes it great for baking and dressing salads. Our very own Amanda Rubasch from the Café likes to dress a salad with a simple mix of sunflower oil and tamari. Sunflower oil also has a medium-high smoke point which makes it good for sautéing and frying. The sunflower oil that we recently started offering comes from Century Sun Oil in Pulaski Wisconsin (near Green Bay). Century Sun Oil was founded in 2009 by the Johnson family with the goal of producing healthy, certified organic sunflower oil. Their business is centered on the family farm that has been in the family since 1882. The Johnson’s have a state-certified food processing facility in one of their old dairy buildings where they not only press their sunflower oil but also rent to local growers and canners who can process their own farm goods. Century Sun partners with local, certified organic dairy farmers who grow the high-oleic sunflower seeds that are pressed into oil. Once the seeds are pressed the leftover seed meal, which is high in protein, is fed to the farmer’s dairy cattle. This arrangement provides the farmers with a valuable livestock feed and allows them to increase the diversity of their field crops when they add sunflowers to their seasonal rotation.
Try this recipe to get yourself started using this delicious, healthy oil.
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon mixed spice
3/4 cup cooked pumpkin
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sunflower Oil
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup sunflower kernels
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons sunflower kernels
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease the muffin tray.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and mixed spice. Mix well.
Combine pumpkin, egg, milk and oil; add to dry ingredients; mix only until ingredients are combined.
Stir in oats and sunflower kernels.
Fill the muffin tins 3/4 full.
Sprinkle with topping.
Bake for 18 – 22 minutes or until wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean.
Topping: Melt butter. Mix with brown sugar, sunflower kernels, flour and nutmeg until crumbly.
Makes 12 Muffins.