Monday, September 15, 2008

Solving The Oil Problem

Today I’m going to solve the OIL problem for you. All the rumors and challenges that you have been facing are about to disappear. There are some economical alternatives that will absolutely work. By now you know that I’m going to tell you, you just have to re-think the solutions!

Oh no, wait a minute, not that oil problem. What could you be thinking? It’s the other oil problem, the one associated with foods and preparedness, the fads and rumors and trans fats. Oil in your cupboard, not oil in your car.

Are you still reading? There are some very workable substitutes and alternatives to the oils that you need to cook with. When it comes to preparedness sometimes the storage of oils has presented a few problems, such as rancidity; or on the other side of the coin, saturated fats. If you have tried to store oil, in the liquid form, it does not have a long shelf life. Of course, that depends on how you define “Long.” Twelve to eighteen months should be a good shelf life, but some of you would like to be able to have it stay on the shelf longer. (I’ve heard the rumors, the whispered words, “until the other millennium.”)

Then there is shortening, which has a tremendous shelf life, because the vegetable oil has been hydrogenated. (My stars, you wouldn’t be considering lard or animal fat would you?) The process of hydrogenation allows the shortening to keep for years. But by the same token, this process changes the fat to saturated fat with all of the trans fat problems.

Therefore, for whatever reason you might not be able to buy, have on hand, or choose not to use shortening or oil, let me offer a few suggestions.

First you will need to assess how you are going to use your “new found oil.” What is the process needed in the recipe you are considering creating? Is it going to be a necessary ingredient with a chemical purpose or reaction? Is it to be used for a cooking process? In other words there are different uses and different answers to the oil dilemma.

Consider if you will:
Liquid from a canned product

What? Beans? Oh no, here she goes again, another wild idea. You read right. Beans!

You can find the bean solution in Preparedness Principles:
“If your oil supplies are running low and you aren’t able to replace them, you can make them last longer by substituting pureed (cooked) beans for some of the oil in baked goods. Up to half the required oil can be replaced with pureed beans and still have a successful end product.”

I recommend that you use a mild bean such as navy, small white or lima. It’s still a bean, not a miracle product, but better for this purpose than a heavier flavored bean.,

You can use plain water or juice. In your vocabulary you simply change the word from “fry” to “sauté” or “poach”. Once again, evaluate what the end result will be before you start. For example French Fries could end up being boiled spuds. That’s not exactly what we are aiming for. Fritters or scones could resemble lumpy bagels if you boil instead of deep fry.

Many breads will use just water as the liquid. A good change in bread recipes is fruit juice.

Meat, fish, vegetables all do well sautéed in a liquid rather than a vegetable oil. Instead of sauté, think steam. It works well for root vegetables as well as chicken or other meats.

Canned tomatoes used as a liquid to cook with work well. This is beyond the realm of only using them as a soup base. For example, use them for skillet dishes with pasta and vegetables, different from spaghetti.

Applesauce works well in quick breads and muffins; so does fruit juice or the liquid from canned fruit.

Turn your thinking cap on before a need or shortage arises so that you can be prepared to continue to fix edible meals. Practice to make the ideas work for you. Unless of course in your house you like boiled, shredded spuds and lumpy bagels.