6 Types of Cooking Oils and Their Shelf Life

You can easily get lost in the world of cooking oils. Store shelves are lined up with tons of them. Although not exhaustive, here is a list of 6 types of cooking oils and their shelf life.

Let’s get right to them!

Olive oil

Olive oil is extracted from olives and edible fruits from the olive tree – a native of the Mediterranean region.

It has been in use for thousands of years. It is considered a healthy oil due to monounsaturated fats (MOFA) and is touted for its rich health benefits.

Not only is it useful in culinary arts, but olive oil is also popular in beauty and body wellness.

There are different variations in terms of processing. 100% unrefined olive oil is commonly known as extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). You can use olive oil in all types of cooking, from frying and salad dressing to drizzling on roasted foods.

The major issue when cooking with olive oil is that its flavor tends to disappear once heated. This is why most cooks prefer to use it sparingly, given its cost. Others tend to go for the cheaper types, mostly refined ones.

Regular olive oil has a smoking point of approximately 470°F as opposed to EVOO, which has about 325°F. This means it is better to use regular olive oil in cooking and EVOO on salad dressings.

Shelf life of olive oil

Olive oil turns rancid after some time. More so for the unrefined variety. As such, buy small bottles of unrefined olive oil. Under proper storage, unrefined olive oil in an opened bottle will last up to 3 years. Regular olive oil also has a long shelf life – up to 3 years in the pantry.

Canola oil

Canada is the world’s leading grower of the canola plant. Canola oil is extracted from the seeds of this plant.

Canola oil gained popularity due to being heart-friendly. It is a well-renowned culinary commodity, touted for its lightness, mild taste, and clear hue.

It has a high smoking point of up to 478°F, meaning you can comfortably use it on stir-fries, baking, and deep frying.

Canola oil contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, hence is rich in omega-3 and omega-6.

Both refined and unrefined canola oil exist in the market, though the unrefined versions are more common due to the low price.

Shelf life of canola oil

Store both opened and unopened canola oil in the pantry. Unopened bottles have a longer shelf life – up to 2 years whereas opened bottles can go for 1 year. Ensure you tightly seal the bottle cap after using it. This prevents contaminants that exacerbate spoilage.

Corn oil

Maize oil is extracted from the germ of maize seeds. A popular cooking oil, it is excellent in all types of cooking due to its high smoking point, 453°F.

This oil is great for deep frying since the high smoking point guarantees no food burning. It is also pocket friendly and readily available compared to other cooking oils.

Corn oil is the most refined. Its uses extend beyond cooking. It is a common ingredient in shampoos, liquid soap; fuel for engines; lubricants, and industrial cleaning agents.

Nutritionally, corn oil has vitamin E, linoleic acid, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and phytosterols.

Shelf life of corn oil

Corn oil gives you flexibility in terms of storage. You can use both the pantry and fridge. Expect your corn oil to serve you for up to 1 year.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil has been all the rage in recent decades. Extracted from the meat of coconut fruit, coconut oil is a popular tropical staple item serving numerous uses – cooking, beauty, home remedies, etc.

It solidifies at cool temperatures and turns liquid at either room or warm temperatures. Use only the unrefined, organic coconut oil to reap maximum benefits.

You can extract coconut oil at home since most store-bought versions are processed.

Unrefined coconut oil has a smoking point of 350°F hence is suitable for lightly sautéed dishes or baking.

The refined version has a soaring 450°F smoking point.

Shelf life of coconut oil

Consider unrefined coconut oil a friend for your pantry. This is due to its long shelf life. It can last indefinitely under optimal storage conditions.

Depending on the production company, you will find some with 5 years or more shelf life.

Refined coconut oil has a shorter shelf life and becomes rancid after a few months. Once opened, the refined type can last up to 3 months in the pantry.

Sunflower oil

Originally from southwest America, sunflowers were popular among the Native Americans. They used to extract oil by boiling the seeds and using it in numerous ways.

The sunflower crop also gained popularity in Eastern Europe and is massively used in Russia, the world’s leading sunflower oil producer.

Sunflower oil is commonly sold as either refined or unrefined. Unrefined sunflower oil has a nutty flavor; hence you can use it in salad dressings or vinaigrette. Due to processing, the refined version has a neutral flavor.

The high smoking point of sunflower oil – up to 475°F, makes it ideal for high-heat cooking like deep frying or sautéing.

Health-wise, sunflower oil contains essential fatty acids due to high levels of polyunsaturated fats. These acids promote low cholesterol levels. It also has substantial amounts of vitamin E, especially the unrefined type.

As such, you can reap maximum benefits by drizzling unrefined sunflower oil on salads instead of cooking with it since heat destroys vitamins.

Shelf life of sunflower oil

Sunflower oil is a good item to stock due to its fairly long shelf life. Even past its printed date, opened sunflower oil can stretch for 1 year. Unopened bottles last twice as long, 2 years. Utilize both the pantry and refrigerator.

Sesame oil

Sesame oil is an Asian cuisine staple, though it has gained tract in many other countries. You can hardly miss it in your local store.

There are two types of sesame oil – toasted and regular. You can get lightly toasted or heavily toasted sesame oil.

The toasted variety has a nuttier flavor, which is synonymous with Asian cooking. It also has a darker, richer hue. The regular type is lighter and has a milder taste.

Interestingly enough, sesame oil is valued for its flavor and aroma. As such, of the 6 types of cooking oils and their shelf life, sesame is rarely used as an exclusive cooking oil. Rather, it is used in salad dressings, marinades, and the last cooking stage. This helps preserve its properties.

In addition, you are supposed to use sesame oil sparingly. Its deep flavor easily overpowers dishes.

Besides culinary uses, sesame oil is used in ancient healing traditions and beauty regimens. It is touted for its blood circulation properties and for promoting healthy hair and skin. It is worth noting that sesame oil has a high smoking point – 410°F.

Shelf life of sesame oil

Store sesame oil in a cool, dry area such as the pantry. Heat and moisture are perfect for facilitating rancidity in oils. You can also store unused sesame oil in the refrigerator.

Opened bottles of sesame oil last up to 6 months in the pantry. Refrigerated bottles can stretch up to 1 year. Remember that refrigerating oils can cause them to solidify and form clouds. This is normal and does not affect the oil’s quality and flavor.

This is not an exhaustive list of cooking oils. There are dozens of others. The above 6 types of cooking oils and their shelf life gives you a glimpse of: How to relate with these must-haves, a comparison of the shelf life of various oils, as well as their uses.

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