Cooking Oils and Fats

Back in the earlier days of my career I helped Proper Oils form a partnership with Ealing Council to collect used cooking oil (UCO) from businesses in Ealing for it to be converted to biodiesel. It was entirely free for businesses and the Council and hopefully avoided a lot of UCO ending up in landfill or, worse still, down the wastewater system where it could lead to fat, oil and grease (FOG) blockages (N.B. the biggest ‘fatberg’ was found in Kingston: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/23586290/britains-biggest-fatberg-removed-from-london-sewer). You may have seen the adverts on television where an elderly lady informs us that the best way of disposing of UCO is in the bin (more info is on this website: https://www.thameswater.co.uk/be-water-smart/Bin-it/Blockages/Blockages-at-home) hold up - as far as I know the best way of ‘disposing it’ is in your food waste recycling receptacles (obviously, if you have them). But this is when you have to dispose of it - depending on what you’re cooking, the same cooking oil can be used up to eight times (https://www.cooksillustrated.com/articles/1733-how-many-times-can-you-reuse-frying-oil). So that covers oils “But what about lard?” I hear you ask. I tend to store lard in my fridge in a tea mug and according to one source (https://www.canitgobad.net/can-lard-go-bad/) lard kept in a fridge will keep for about a year and, at room temperature, it will keep for four to six months. The great thing about lard is that you don’t have to buy oil to cook with - you’re reusing rendered animal fat. This means that, while saving money, you’re also reducing natural resource impacts and emissions (associated with cooking oil packaging; agricultural inputs into producing sunflower, rapeseed (N.B. I found this article quite fascinating: https://sustainablefoodtrust.org/articles/the-supply-chain-of-fats-rapeseed-oil/), and olive etc crops; processing and transport of cooking oils). It also adds flavour to food and can result in a better cooked product - my roast potatoes cooked far better in organic beef dripping/lard compared to organic sunflower oil. Lard can also be used instead of butter and is reported to be healthier (https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/lard-healthier-butter-monounsaturated-fats-heart-healthy-nutritionist-food-unwrapped-a8229346.html%3Famp). Although you may not have enough left over for this, it’s useful to bear in mind that lard can be used to make soap (https://basicsoapmaking.com/lard-soap-recipe/). image

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Love this - I store the fat for my cooking but usually leave it next to the stove - probably not the best place but easy to find!