Fats & Oils
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Look for lard rendered from organically raised, non-GMO fed, pork fat. It should be non-hydrogenated, preservative-free, and certified organic pork lard. Leaf lard, considered to be the highest grade of lard, has little pork flavor which makes it ideal for pie crusts and baked goods. Beef tallow, goose, and duck fat are also great cooking fats.
As with all oils, smoke points vary depending on quality and processing methods. Unrefined extra virgin avocado oil generally has a smoke point between 400° F – 480° F (204° C – 249° C). This means it’s not the ideal choice for high heat frying, but a fine choice for medium heat frying, mayonnaise, and dressings. If you’re looking to cook with avocado oil on high heat, a refined version is more appropriate with its higher smoke point of 480° F – 520° F (249° C – 271° C), but be aware some of the nutritional value is lost with refinement. This company has its own unique low heat refining process. It retains 80% of the beta-sitosterol and 60% of the Vitamin E that you would usually find only in unrefined virgin oil.
This is a variation of clarified butter, traditional to India, that has had its milk solids removed. Since there is no lactose nor casein in ghee, it is tolerable for most people with dairy allergies. Removing the milk solids results in a higher smoke point of 450° F – 485° F (232° C – 252° C), making ghee ideal for higher cooking temperatures. This is also a lovely option to get a boost of CLA and the fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and K. You can try an unsalted version or a Himalayan pink salt version. Always look for grass-fed pasture-raised options.