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What does rancid fat smell like?

by (5828)
Updated 3 minutes ago
Created May 28, 2012 at 6:09 PM

I'm not sure I would recognize rancid fat if I encountered it. When I make bone broth, after reheating the bones and the broth several times, depending on the source of the bones and the litte bits of meat in the pot, the broth can smell strong and "gamey." But, I don't think the fat is rancid, just strong smelling.

What's the easiest way to make some paleo fat go rancid so I can train my nose to detect it? And, what is it that makes bone broth smell very gamey at times?

Medium avatar
10176 · November 18, 2012 at 4:33 PM

I baked some soy oil in the oven by itself once trying to make it plasticize. It formed a sticky goo, not the hard film I expected. My experiment in high speed rancidity was cut short because I stunk out the kitchen.

Medium avatar
10176 · November 18, 2012 at 4:17 PM

The paint smell is from the Oils losing their unsaturation, cross-linking to form plastic. PUFA's, especially linseed or flax, dry by this mechanism, which makes them really good for paint.

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232 · October 29, 2012 at 3:48 AM

Interesting, I would say rancid linseed oil (any nut/seed oil) smells like soap. Rancid meat smells completely different though...

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660 · May 28, 2012 at 9:38 PM

I really agree with the paint comparison (and I'm not even that old!). But I have been around a lot of paint and done a lot of painting. I disagree with the idea that it is obvious when things are rancid. I really had to learn what the smell was, and once I did, I realized I had eaten a lot of rancid grains/oils throughout my lifetime. Yikes. I also thought idea of letting something oxidize intentionally was a good one. Then you'll know the smell, and once you do, it's easy to recognize.

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7275 · May 28, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Oh, this website (http://www.oliveoiltimes.com/olive-oil-basics/good-olive-oils-gone-bad/8900) reminds me, wheat flour and wheat germ often also smell rancid. And old nuts are good examples, too. I think if you smell a lot of different sources of rancid oil, you'll see the common "rancid" factor in all of them.

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7275 · May 28, 2012 at 8:15 PM

No, that's why they're good for eating :D

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5828 · May 28, 2012 at 7:08 PM

Ok, I'll make some rancid oils. Is it easy to make animal fat go rancid?

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3217 · May 28, 2012 at 7:05 PM

These are good comparisons. There's definitely an art supply aspect to it.

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827 · May 28, 2012 at 9:29 PM

It smells like paint if you're really old like me. ;-) The kind of paint I'm talking about is based on linseed, or flax oil. It's nothing like modern petroleum based house paints, or of course, latex paints. But this is a really strong smell. The comment above about art-supply smell is correct, as most artists oils are linseed oil based.

If you have an old popcorn popper around (not an air popper), just open it up and smell it. Most people just wipe them clean, leaving a nice layer of oxidized oil on the surface. If you have a used deep fry daddy/baby around, smell the plastic lid. It's likely tacky with rancid oil. These too are strongly rancid smells. You're unlikely to encounter something this rancid in a bottle.

If anyone in your house is a ramen eater, just look through the packages, and pick the one that shows canola or cottonseed oil as part of the wheat noodles (they're usually deep fried in it) and smell the noodles. They're covered in rancid oil. The older they are, the stronger the smell, of course.

All the brown rice I've encountered recent memory has smelled rancid, too. So if you have a bag of that hanging around that's been open awhile, smell it as an example. It's most likely rancid. It's a far more subtle smell than the above items,but it's there.

Medium avatar
10176 · November 18, 2012 at 4:17 PM

The paint smell is from the Oils losing their unsaturation, cross-linking to form plastic. PUFA's, especially linseed or flax, dry by this mechanism, which makes them really good for paint.

B6c16d850e7305aad0507ad079ecf1d4
232 · October 29, 2012 at 3:48 AM

Interesting, I would say rancid linseed oil (any nut/seed oil) smells like soap. Rancid meat smells completely different though...

B4b56fcc5ebad76ed8e1709dedf01f86
660 · May 28, 2012 at 9:38 PM

I really agree with the paint comparison (and I'm not even that old!). But I have been around a lot of paint and done a lot of painting. I disagree with the idea that it is obvious when things are rancid. I really had to learn what the smell was, and once I did, I realized I had eaten a lot of rancid grains/oils throughout my lifetime. Yikes. I also thought idea of letting something oxidize intentionally was a good one. Then you'll know the smell, and once you do, it's easy to recognize.

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7275 · May 28, 2012 at 6:56 PM

It's hard to describe, and I've only explained it to my husband by showing him examples.

You can smell it often in the oils left out in restaurants for oil and vinegar on salads. Those bottles sit out forever, so they have plenty of time to get rancid.

You could make rancid oils yourself at home. Leave olive oil, flaxseed oil, and any other natural, unrefined, seed oils out on your counter for a while. I'd recommend putting a layer of each in a dish so it can access oxygen and light to speed up the process. Smell them every few weeks.

Rancid oils (themselves) smell neither like crayons nor like paint to me. Haha, the best I can describe is that they smell like "OMG, DON'T EAT THAT".

Medium avatar
10176 · November 18, 2012 at 4:33 PM

I baked some soy oil in the oven by itself once trying to make it plasticize. It formed a sticky goo, not the hard film I expected. My experiment in high speed rancidity was cut short because I stunk out the kitchen.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242
7275 · May 28, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Oh, this website (http://www.oliveoiltimes.com/olive-oil-basics/good-olive-oils-gone-bad/8900) reminds me, wheat flour and wheat germ often also smell rancid. And old nuts are good examples, too. I think if you smell a lot of different sources of rancid oil, you'll see the common "rancid" factor in all of them.

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7275 · May 28, 2012 at 8:15 PM

No, that's why they're good for eating :D

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5828 · May 28, 2012 at 7:08 PM

Ok, I'll make some rancid oils. Is it easy to make animal fat go rancid?

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2422 · May 28, 2012 at 6:24 PM

Some people say it smells like crayons. Rancid nut butters taste/smell like paint. I haven't experienced it personally either.

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3217 · May 28, 2012 at 7:05 PM

These are good comparisons. There's definitely an art supply aspect to it.

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10176 · November 18, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Rancid animal fats smell to me like rotting meat. The odor is due mostly to butyric acid formation due to fat oxidation. http://www.cip.ukcentre.com/Rancidity.htm

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0 · November 18, 2012 at 4:04 PM

rancid fat which destroys certain vitamins and may lower the nutritive value of the protein; a fish meal diet might precipitate vitamin deficiency in poorly nourished people. Moreover the flavour of the rancid fat is unacceptable in many societies, though not in all.

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6087 · May 28, 2012 at 9:27 PM

It smells like something you would not want to eat.

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