I am new to the paleo/primal/dino-chow/... lifestyle diets. I've been hearing about and own and use many of the fats and oils recommended by paleo chefs. The problem is that I don't know how often to use the coconut oil, the grass-fed butter, the ghee, the bacon/sausage fat, etc. Basically I only know that olive oil should never be used for cooking because it gets damaged, therefore I only use it for cold dressings. And butter should be used at medium temperatures- not for sauteeing, otherwise it will also become damaged. Coconut oil is supposed to be great for high heat cooking...right?? But what about bacon fat? What I'm most concerned about is if I'm using bacon fat too often. Also, butter! I love butter, but because bacon fat is cheaper/somewhat free, I use my pricey Irish butter seldomly. Ghee, is just another expense I haven't dealt with.. mostly because I haven't found it locally, even though I've heard it's the healthier alternative to butter. I'm going to stop ranting and just let everyone HELP ME. Thanks!
Coconut Oil - on everything including you
Butter - on everything but you
Bacon Grease - on anything that needs to taste more like bacon
Olive - in a shot glass, dressings, etc. just not for high heat cooking
First, unless you have lactose intolerance there is not likley to be a great benefit to using ghee over butter.
Second, you're essentially looking at the division between saturated and (mono-)unsaturated fats. Saturated fats are the ones that are stable at high heat. Any oil is a mix of fats so have different properties but the rule of thumb is that if it's solid at room temperature, it's ok to cook with. I wouldn't worry too much beyond that. Animal fat and coconut oil should therefore be first choice cooking oils. The only problem with overusing bacon fat is the source - were these good healthy pigs?
A cheaper, better and more traditional option may be to render your own. Getting suet (or lard etc.) from healthy animals should be cheap if you have access to the butcher, and it's really easy to render to get a pot of tasty, healthy, cheap grease.
As a newbie, if bacon calls to you and you're reaching your goals, keep using it. I use bacon grease sparingly since it has loads of omega-6, but I do buy a pound of bacon every few weeks and enjoy starting bitter veggies like kale and Brussels sprouts with a few diced slices and the grease.
I tens to use butter with my morning eggs, as well as potatoes. Coconut oil is my typical sautéing oil at night.
I have bought ghee, but find it easier to make my own by clarifying butter: melt butter on stovetop, wait for it to froth and settle down, watch it like a hawk until the solids fall to the bottom and just start to color, and pour off just the oil to save. Voila-ghee! Since it no has no proteins, it's suitable for higher heat cooking (and non-problematic for those with a dairy allergy). 98% of my cooking is butter or coconut oil (or grass fed beef tallow from US wellness meats, but I don't want to add another expense to you right now).
Here is how I use various fats:
Fat from cooking beef as a sauce on whatever meat I eat or for warming up cooked meat, or braising eggs or parsnips. I also put dabs of it into my tea.
I save the fat from beef bacon for braising eggs or for anything which I wish to have the flavor of beef bacon.
I rarely use cream to cook with, but it is especially nice in eggs. I make it into yoghurt, or put it in tea. Cream can be used to make mascarpone cheese, as well.
Grass-fed butter is for my tea, or for eggs, or parsnips, or anything which would benefit from a delicate flavor.
I try to eat at least one egg yolk per day, usually softly braised, sometimes raw or hard-boiled.
Fats I don't use for food:
Ghee, as it is expensive, and as I seem to tolerate the cream and some cheese, I see no need to use clarified butter. Making one's own is especially nice though.
Coconut oil. I do use it on my skin and hair, though.
I only use lard to make soap, not for food.
Hope this helps some. :)
I wish you much joy finding the fats which suit you the best.
Make your own ghee. It's just clarified butter. Put a couple pounds of butter in your crock pot, after it melts and has time to separate, put the crock pot in the fridge. Use a knife to cut it out when it's solid. Shave the crusty white butter solids off the top, drain and dry the water off the bottom (let it sit exposed for a while so it really dries), and what you're left with is ghee. That's it.
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