Phone

Foods

Nut oils
Why Eat It
Varieties
Availability
Shopping
Storage


Why Eat It

If you've ever dipped a chunk of bread into a pool of fragrant olive oil you know that oil can be much more than a cooking medium. And nut oils are the supreme example of oil as seasoning. Sometimes you want a flavorless cooking oil that will disappear without a trace into the finished dish, but a fragrant nut oil such as walnut or hazelnut brings a luscious flavor to baked goods, salads, sautes, and pastas. And nut oils have some nutritional advantages to offer, as well. Like the nuts from which they're pressed, nut oils are very low in saturated fats. Almonds, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, and pistachios are high in monounsaturated fats, which help to lower blood cholesterol; walnuts are rich in polyunsaturates, and also supply omega-3s--polyunsaturated fatty acids that thin the blood and thus help ward off heart attack and stroke. Almond and hazelnut oils are significant sources of vitamin E.

While most nut oil in the U.S. is free of allergy-causing protein, some nut oils that are cold-pressed may still contain protein and can pose a problem for those who are allergic to nuts.

Varieties

Sweet Almond Oil: Sweet almond oil is somewhat bland in flavor without the taste of almonds. It has a high smoke point and is good for sauteing and stir-frying. As it imparts no flavor, it can be used for oiling a cake pan or mold.

Almond Oil: Made from roasted almonds, almond oil has the flavor of almonds. Use it in baked goods, pastas, drizzled over vegetables, or on grilled bread.

Walnut Oil: Walnut oil made from roasted or unroasted walnuts is rich and flavorful. In salad dressings, combine walnut oil with olive oil for a robust dressing. Walnut oil is especially nice when paired with a sherry vinaigrette and used in a salad with toasted walnuts, fruit, and cheese. Walnut oil can also be used to replace part of the fat in an oil-based baked good. It will give the impression that there are nuts in the dish.

Hazelnut Oil: Like walnut oil, hazelnut oil tastes of nuts and is rich and flavorful. A little goes a long way. Use in salad dressings with a bit of olive oil. It can also be used in baked goods.

Macadamia Oil: Somewhat delicate in flavor, a little bit of macadamia oil compliments a light fish or vegetable dish. Drizzle some on before serving.

Pistachio Oil: Deep green in color and slightly thick this delicious oil tastes intensely of pistachios. Use a little in a salad dressing or drizzled over crusty bread.

Peanut Oil: Like other nut oils, peanut oil may varying in strength or degree of flavorfulness. Some peanut oils are very light in flavor while others have deep, rich peanutty flavor. Use lesser flavored oils for sauteeing and stir-frying and fuller flavored oils for salads and cold sauces.

Pecan Oil: Like walnut and hazelnut oils, pecan oil tastes of nuts. Use in dressings, drizzled on vegetables or in baked goods.

Availability

You'll probably have to shop for these oils at a health-food store, gourmet shop, or through a mail-order catalogue, unless your supermarket is superlatively well-stocked.

Shopping

Try to find oils that have a production date on the label so that you're assured of the longest possible shelf-life once you bring the oil home.

Storage

Nut oils usually come in tins, or in bottles made of dark-tinted glass, but they still should be stored in a dark, cool place--preferably in the refrigerator, as they are extremely perishable; rancid oil is not just unpleasant-tasting, but also unhealthful.


Date Published: 04/20/2005
Previous  |  Next
> Printer-friendly Version Return to Top