by Manazza Ayub
Consumption of fried foods specially increases in our diet during Ramadan days. It is also vital ingredient in daily cooking. Their excessive intake not only enhances the risk of diseases but also leave a gift – a bowl of oil or more. Now question arises is should we reuse this oil? Obviously it is not economical to throw it away so how many times we can reuse oil? Exact number of this answer cannot be provided with surety because reusing of oil depends on many factors. But we can make safe reuse of this oil with our efforts.
The most important aspect is selection of oil. Oils have their own smoking point depending upon their nature at which they break in to components. So try to buy oil with high smoking point like Canola or soy bean oil. Vegetable oils have high smoking point thus produce less free radical.
After frying, let the oil cool down to room temperature. Filter the oil to remove the impurities. These bits not only burn in to coal when you reheat the oil but also decrease the shelf life of oil. Use separate bottles to store reusable oil instead of pouring in same bottle from which you have taken this oil otherwise it will affect quality of remaining oil too. Don not mix oil after frying food of different categories like oil left after samosa frying is being used in households for daily cooking or egg frying. Store the oil in cool and dark place in tightly sealed bottles i.e. refrigerator rather than keeping it near stove.
Although reusing of oil is common routine but try to minimize the reuse of oil for preparing food as much as you can. Each time when you reheat the oil, deadly compounds produce which result in decomposition of oil. These compounds are just like poison for human body and can cause hazardous diseases like cancer, hypertension, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
Examine the oil with great care before reusing. If there is any indication than its mean that it’s time to get rid of oil. If oil produces rancid odor or off-flavor than its mean it should not be reused. Some time oil gives foamy, thick and dark appearance and start producing smoke before its smoking point. Nature of frying pan also affects the quality of oil. While dealing with oil, stainless steel pans are considered better rather than other metal.
Dispose the oil even if you see a single sign of deterioration. Never dispose it directly in your sink otherwise it will obstruct pipelines and then you have to take help of a plumber to clear this mess. Pour the oil in tight container or bag before throwing it in trash so that it does not pollute our environment. It seems small but great deed which will show long term positive result of your effort on the atmosphere of your country.
You can recycle this reused cooking oil in to valuable product. If you are interested in creativity than convert this oil in to soaps which is very simple and economical method .This was also published by United Nation Civil Society of Brazilian Foundation of America. Otherwise sell it to local companies which recycle oil in to biodiesel.