January 12 06:40 2019 Print This Article

Households, and more so, restaurants use a lot of cooking oil on a daily basis, and in turn produce a significant amount of used cooking oil. Most people and businesses will opt to re-use the oil in a bid not to be wasteful, and to save on costs. Re-using the oil will translate to a reduction in cooking oil purchasing expenses as you will purchase the vegetable oil fewer times as compared to when you do not re-use the oil.

It would be nice to use fresh oil every time we cook, but expenses, the scale of cooking on a daily basis, as well as our responsibility towards the environment pushes to recycle the oil at least twice before disposing it.

However, there are a few guidelines you need to keep in mind before re-using leftover cooking oil. These guidelines include:

  • Potential to turn deadly

It is imperative that you understand that used cooking oil can become a serious health hazard, and potentially deadly if certain procedures are not followed correctly before re-using the leftover oil. If the leftover oil is not used or stored properly, it has the potential of becoming rancid and having an unpleasant odour, both of which are unwanted scenarios that are signs of cooking oil unfit for human consumption.

The rancidity and foul odour occur as a result of exposure to oxygen, which happens when you do not cool and store the oil as required before re-using.

Furthermore, if you do not follow the proper procedures of handling used oil, it will develop free radicals. Consuming foods made from oil with free radicals exposes you to serious health risks that include hear disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and diabetes.

  1. Proper Cooling

Immediately you finish cooking with the oil, turn the heat off. Allow the oil to cool to room temperature before proceeding to the other steps below. You might be tempted to put the oil away after cooking so that you can keep the kitchen clean. However, oil that has not properly cooled before storage has a higher propensity for burning, which will make your next meal have an awful taste as well as expose you to some of those free radicals mentioned above.

  1. Sieving

Cooking oil recycling will also involve straining, most preferably with a fine mesh sieve. The purpose of the sieving is to remove every last food particle that was left in the oil after cooking. These small particles, if left in the oil, will burn, giving the oil and the meal you are preparing a nasty after-taste.

In addition, removing these particles helps ensure that the integrity of the taste of the food that you are cooking with the used oil remains intact. This is especially the case if you are re-using oil that was previously used to cook something with a strong taste such as fish, or a spicy meal.

It is also advisable to line the setup with a couple of cheese cloth layers to make the process of sieving that much more efficient.

  1. Proper Storage

Once you are through with straining the oil, it is time to store it. Storing the oil is quit simple as all you will require is a clean container, and probably a funnel to help direct the oil into the container. Recycled plastic sealable containers would be perfect for this job, but using a glass jar is also okay. The main problem with glass jars is the fact that they are breakable, and if the jar breaks, the oil inside will spill creating a large mess and negating all of your recycling efforts.

Remember to clearly label the container before putting it away so that you or others in the kitchen know what the oil was previously used for.

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Clare Louise
Clare Louise

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