Corn oil has little flavor and a high smoke point. It is good for frying.
Olive oil is produced when tree-ripened
olives are pressed. The best olive oils are extracted using a chemical-free
process. They can be classified as extra-virgin or virgin. Both are cold-pressed
oils from the first pressing of the olives. Extra-virgin has a lower acidity
and a full-bodied fruity flavor. It is the most expensive of olive oils.
Use it when the fruity flavor will lend a pleasing note to foods, such as
in salad dressings, for dipping bread and in vegetable dishes. Products
labeled olive oil are an all-purpose blend of olive oils. They are less
expensive and blander in flavor, making them an economical choice for most
uses. Light olive oil is olive oil that has been filtered to make it lighter
in flavor. Filtering also increases its smoke point making it a good choice
for sautéing and pan-frying.
Peanut oil has a faint peanut flavor and a high smoke point. It is a good oil for frying and stir-frying.
Safflower oil is flavorless and has a high smoke point, making it an ideal choice for frying.
Sesame oil is amber-colored oil pressed from toasted sesame seeds. It has a strong, nutty flavor that when used sparingly adds a unique flavor to foods, such as stir-fries, Asian noodles and fish dishes. It is not used for frying. There is also a pale-colored cold-pressed sesame oil that is available in health food stores. It is used for cooking and as a salad oil. The two types are not interchangeable.
Soybean oil has little flavor and a high smoke point. It is excellent for frying and is the most common cooking oil in the United States.
Walnut oil is made from walnuts. This expensive oil is usually imported from France. It has a pleasant nutty flavor and is often added to salad dressings. Look for it in large supermarkets and gourmet food stores. Buy walnut oil in small quantities because a little goes a long way.
Flavored oils are oils to which herbs, spices and seasonings, such as garlic and chili peppers, have been added. Use them when you need a quick burst of flavor.