Canola oil is extracted from the crushed seeds of canola which belong to the family of the plants called crucifers. Many oils that are used for cooking purposes are usually high in fats, but canola oil has a low amount of saturated fats with only 7%, and it also helps to control cholesterol levels. Although, best consumed before the expiration or best before date, canola oil can have a longer shelf life. Knowing its shelf life is important, for example if there is an unopened can or bottle of canola oil, it can last up to two years in your pantry past its expiration date. If you have already opened it, then it can be used for up to one year either in the pantry or refrigerator.
PURCHASING OF CANOLA OIL:
While purchasing canola oil, check for its expiry or best before the date and try to buy the newest manufactured oil. Also make sure to check its color and consistency. It should be crystal clear and have no traces of particles in the liquid. When picking between different packaged canola oil, try to choose the oil that comes in a dark bottle, as this will protect it from direct sunlight. But, if this type of bottle is not an option, try to keep it away from direct sunlight. Check if the seal is intact, making sure that there is no circulation of oxygen, which will make canola oil go rancid. Freshly extracted canola oil will have a bright yellow color. Good canola oil will have low saturated levels of fats, so read the nutrition chart and buy the one which has the lowest amount of saturated fats. Oils become sticky when they have gone old and bad; you should avoid buying sticky bottles and pouches.
STORING OF CANOLA OIL:
Oxygen is not good for canola or any other types of oil. It should be kept in an airtight bottle and away from sunlight and heat in order to help prevent oxidation. Oxygen causes oils to become rancid thereby decreasing their life, taste, color, and quality. An unopened canola oil can be used for up to 2 years after its best before date. To keep the opened canola oil for a longer period of time, keep it tightly closed in your cupboard where the temperature is low or place it in the refrigerator. Canola oil may become a little firmer in the refrigerator, but you can always take it out beforehand to let it melt before you use it.
HOW TO HANDLE CANOLA OIL?
Usage and handling of oil is another important matter in order to prevent any mishap. After opening, make sure to take proper care of the bottle. If you have bought a pouch of canola oil, it is advised to transfer it into an airtight bottle and then store it. You can pour it into a pan for cooking or for salad dressing as needed. Be careful when pouring out excessive amounts, which makes it difficult to handle. If you are using canola oil to fry, let the leftover oil cool completely before pouring it into a bottle and throwing it away. Avoid pouring the oil down the drain since that could damage the pipes and cause rusting. You can also reuse the oil by carefully filtering it through a sieve and storing it in an airtight bottle but make sure to separate it from the unused oil.
COOKING WITH CANOLA OIL:
Canola oil has a very light taste, so it doesn’t affect the taste of your original dish allowing it to have a variety of uses. It can be used for frying, baking, sautéing, marinating, for salad dressing, grilling and cooking purposes. You can fry or cook any type of vegetable in canola oil as it is an all-purpose oil. There is no restriction for what dishes it should be used for. Because it is low in saturated fats, it can be used in salad dressing without any guilt. Frying chicken, beef or vegetables in canola oil is also good because it controls cholesterol levels.