Both fats and oils may be used as a cooking
medium for deep-frying, although vegetable oil is most commonly used. Fats
and oils differ in specific properties such as flavor, color, or smoking
point, but they are all basically the same compound. They contain fatty
acids, flavor compounds and glycerin. The amount of saturated,
monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats in an oil or shortening give it a
particular set of characteristics.
For deep-fat frying, the ideal oil is one
with a neutral flavor and color and a high smoking point (about 425oF
/ 218oC). Several practices, in addition to selecting the
proper oil, will help prolong the product's life. Follow these steps to
get the best from your frying oil :
Store oils in a cool, dry area and keep them
away from strong lights, which leach vitamin A.
Use a high-quality oil.
Prevent the oil from coming in contact with
copper, brass or bronze because these metals hasten breakdown.
When frying moist items, dry them as
thoroughly as possible before placing them in the oil because water breaks
down the oil and lowers the smoking point.
Do not salt products over the pan because
salt breaks down the oil.
Fry items at the proper temperature. Do not
overheat the oil.
Turn off the fryer after using it and cover
when it is not used for a long periods of time.
Constantly remove any small particles (such
as loose bits of breading or batter) from the oil during use.
Discard the oil if it becomes rancid, smokes
below 350oF (176oC), or foams excessively. As oil is
used, it will darken. If it is a great deal darker than when it was fresh,
it will brown the food too rapidly. The food may appear properly cooked
but actually be underdone.