January 16, 2019 6:25 am Leave your thoughts
Naturally Good Food has a whole set of shelves devoted to oil. They lurk there, in the shadows: darkly mysterious walnut oil, grassy green olive, syrupy yellow sunflower, translucent pearly coconut. We’ve got oils of all kinds and all sizes – in bottles, jars, canisters and bulk drums. How on earth do you choose between them?
Sometimes, the choice is made for you. A recipe will call for a particular type of oil and you’ll know that Naturally Good Food will stock just the thing. For special recipes, of course, you need the very best. We don’t sell huge amounts of argan or avocado oil at Naturally Good Food, but we’re pretty sure that every single bottle of these that leaves our premises is destined for something amazing.
Some oils, meanwhile, are your ‘go to’ oils – everyday, side-of-the-cooker standbys. For many people, it’s olive oil that covers all the bases. Others stick resolutely with sunflower. Vegans are very keen on the versatility of coconut oil. Rapeseed (also known as canola oil) has gained a large following in recent years too.
Our oils are the best
One thing unites all the different oils we sell at Naturally Good Food: they’re all of the highest quality. That’s an expression that’s bandied around pretty indiscriminately, of course – so let’s just take a look at what we mean by it.
Our oils are unrefined
We sell unrefined oils at Naturally Good Food. Refined oils (which we don’t sell) undergo processes involving heat-extraction, the application of solvents, bleaching and deodorising (to remove any strong smell). In the course of these processes, we believe that nutrition and taste are lost.
Our oils are cold-pressed
One of the big things that makes a difference to oil is the way in which it’s extracted from its original nut, seed or fruit. The extraction method determines how good the oil is for you, how many nutrients it contains, and how tasty it is to cook with.
When a nut, seed or fruit is cold-pressed, it is crushed at great pressure, forcing the oil out. No heat sources are applied.
If you applied heat, you’d speed up the process, and would get more oil, by softening the shell of the nut or other source. However, the heat would also damage the flavour and nutritional content of the oil produced.
Although some heat is generated during the cold-pressing process, due to friction, this process still falls within the definition of ‘raw’ (as this term is generally used by food manufacturers). We do stock some oils specifically labelled as ‘raw’ too.
Our oils are extra-virgin
Virgin and extra-virgin oils use the cold-pressing extraction method. They come from the first pressings of the fruit, nut or seed, giving a particularly strong flavour. We stock virgin and extra-virgin oils of various kinds.
Our oils are organic
We’re big fans of organic at NGF. We like our food produced as naturally as possible, without the use of harmful pesticides or fertilisers that damage the soil, disrupt ecosystems, pollute water and remain as residues on our food. For taste, for nutrition and for the sake of the environment, we prioritise the purchasing of organic oils. Clearspring and Emile Noel are the two biggest names in our range of oils – all their products are organic.
Our oils are vegan
It may sound obvious, but our plant-based oils are all vegan (the only oil we sell that isn’t is our ghee, which is clarified butter). Most importantly, the coconut oil we stock is fully suitable for vegans. It’s taken from coconuts harvested by hand, rather than by trained monkeys. If you’re not up to speed on this issue, take a moment to read our blog on the subject: There’s no monkey business with our coconut oil.
Let’s take a look at all the wonderful oils we stock in our range.
One of the world’s most precious culinary oils, this is rich in vitamin E, carotenes and unsaturated fatty acids (omega 6 and 9).
This oil has a deliciously smooth flavour, a vibrant green colour and a velvety texture. It plays an important role in certain vegan bakes.
Coconut oil is the ultimate multi-tasker – it can do just about anything! With its high proportion of lauric acid, it’s one of our top sellers, used for baking, roasting, frying, drizzling, toiletry, household and medicinal purposes. It’s beautifully white and pearly to look at and brings either a slight scent of coconut to your cooking, or, if you choose an odourless version, no additional flavour at all.
This oil contains the highest level of omega-3 fatty acids of any vegetable oil. These help protect the body against high blood pressure, inflammation and water retention, and boost the immune system.
This oil isn’t cold-pressed, as current techniques don’t allow for this. It’s derived from the seeds of grapes and is light-flavoured and light-coloured: ever so slightly fruity, with a hint of nuttiness.
With a strong, nutty flavour, this oil is a great source of oleic acid and is especially rich in vitamin E. It’s almost impossible to take a sniff without being strongly reminded of chocolate spread: if you’re looking for an oil to complement a chocolate dish, this is one to plump for!
Hempseed is a rich source of omega-6 fatty acids; the oil derived from these seeds is considered by many to be the most perfectly balanced vegetable oil (in nutritional terms) of all those produced.
We stock the very finest extra-virgin olive oils at Naturally Good Food. They’re packed with antioxidants, including the anti-inflammatories oleocanthal and oleuropein, and have a glorious taste. Olive oil works well in almost every culinary application, from basting and drizzling, right through to frying. Some oils have a richer flavour than others – take a look at the descriptions of each to be sure you’re getting just what you need.
Peanut oil is rich in antioxidants, especially vitamin E, and full of mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which help lower overall cholesterol levels.
Pumpkinseed oil (and the toasted variety)
This oil’s wonderful thick, green colouring is complemented by its silky texture and deliciously nutty aroma and flavour.
Low in saturated fat, rapeseed oil contains all three omega fatty acids, as well as vitamin E. It’s one of the healthiest culinary oils available – and lets you bring some of the wonderfully vibrant colour of yellow summer fields right into your home.
Safflower oil has the highest omega 6 content of any of the organic, cold-pressed oils in Clearspring’s exhaustive range. It also contains omega 9 and is a good source of vitamin E. With a high smoke point, it’s ideal for frying.
Sesame oil (and toasted sesame oil)
Also known as ‘soybean oil’, this is rich in omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. It’s richly flavoured, with a strong colour, and is generally used in salad dressings, or to add an extra glug of flavour to soups and casseroles at the last minute.
An old cooking favourite: we sell golden yellow sunflower oil, produced to Clearspring’s usual high standards. There’s been a bit of a move recently towards using sunflower oil, rather than olive oil, for general cooking purposes. It’s usually a cheaper option and, being rich in vitamin E and low in saturated fat, isn’t at all a bad choice health-wise.
This rich, nutty oil is a great source of monounsaturated fat and alpha-linolenic acid – an essential fatty acid that our bodies don’t produce by themselves, so must be found from food sources. It’s also rich in vitamin E, manganese, copper and melatonin and has plenty of phytonutrients, which are needed for stable hormone levels. It’s well-known for its benefits for skin, improving tone and thus having an ‘anti-aging’ effect. But beware! You can’t cook at high temperatures with it.
We also stock Clearspring’s Omeg-A-Day blend of oils, comprising 78% flax oil, with walnut, sunflower, olive and pumpkin oils too. Designed for diets deficient in omega 3, it’s intended to be taken medicinally, as part of a healthy balanced diet.
Now you just need to choose the right oil for you! You’ll need to work out what you need the oil for – just for cooking? And if so, at what temperature? For drizzling on salads or over vegetables? For dipping? To add flavour? Or to bring out the flavour of other ingredients? For a particular health purpose, perhaps?
Remember that we also stock oils in bulk, which is by far the cheapest way to buy a premium product.
Here’s a super-quick guide to your perfect oil!
For all-round cooking: choose olive oil
For all-round health benefits: extra-virgin olive oil
For baking and desserts: safflower oil
For Asian dishes: toasted sesame oil
For the highest omega 6 content: safflower oil
For the B Vitamins: hazelnut oil
For cardiovascular health and lower cholesterol levels: hemp oil
For extra zinc and to boost reproductive health: pumpkin oil
For those on a low-fat diet: grapeseed oil
For help with high blood pressure, inflammation or water retention: flaxseed oil
For commercial levels of deep-frying: peanut oil
For athletes: flaxseed oil
For sheer versatility: coconut oil
To save the world’s bees: Clearspring organic rapeseed oil
For a novelty present: safflower oil
And for the most exclusive oil of all: Argan oil
We’re awash in oils and in oily research at NGF – we hope this blog has gone some way towards illuminating a dark and rather oily corner of our shelves! At Naturally Good Food we’ve got an oil for every purpose and for every person. They’re all so good – and so good for you – that you might not be able to choose just one….argan oil, avocado oil, blended oil, canola oil, Clearspring, Coconut Oil, cold-pressed oils, cuisine coconut oil, Emile Noel, extra virgin olive oil, extra-virgin oils, flax oil, ghee, grapeseed oil, hazelnut oil, hemp oil, linseed oil, odourless coconut oil, oils, Omeg-A Day oil, Organic Oils, peanut oil, plant-based oils, pumpkin seed oil, rapeseed oil, raw oils, safflower oil, sesame oil, soya oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, toasted pumpkin seed oil, toasted sesame oil, unrefined oils, vegan oils, walnut oil
This post was written by Yzanne