Cooking oil is plant, animal, or synthetic liquid fat used in frying, baking, and other types of cooking. How to Reuse Cooking Oil. It is also used in food preparation and flavoring not involving heat, such as salad dressings and bread dips, and may be called edible oil.
Cooking oil is typically a liquid at room temperature, although some oils that contain saturated fat, such as coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil are solid.
There are a wide variety of cooking oils from plant sources such as olive oil, palm oil, soybean oil, canola oil (rapeseed oil), corn oil, peanut oil and other vegetable oils, as well as animal-based oils like butter and lard.
Oil can be flavored with aromatic foodstuffs such as herbs, chillies or garlic. Cooking spray is an aerosol of cooking oil.
Here are the Tips for Reusing Cooking Oil
1. Store in Glass Jars
This is an oldie-but-goodie option because it’s a great way to store used cooking oil before reusing it for another dish. Another benefit of this option is that it also allows you to reuse old jars.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Once you’re all done with frying, you can simply leave the used cooking oil in the flying pan to cool down.
- Once cool enough, you can now carefully transfer it to a glass container.
- Seal the container tightly.
- Make sure you store used cooking oil separately depending on what type of dish you were using the cooking oil with. For example, don’t mix used cooking oil from fried chicken with used cooking oil that you used for some stir-fry seafood. Common sense would tell us that these flavors won’t mix well together.
- Once that’s done, you can safely store your glass container in your pantry or kitchen shelves.
Storing used cooking oil in glass jars is one effective way to delay how soon you dispose of/recycle the grease. You won’t be able to reuse it in an unlimited number of times, of course. However, based on factors like what kind of food you’re cooking (meat/veggies), how much food you’re cooking, and the cooking temperatures—you can often get about 2 to 6 (tops) re-uses from the cooking oil.
To make the most out of your used cooking oil and keep it free from “impurities”, one common kitchen hack is to place a small strainer or piece of coarse cloth on the mouth of the glass jar as you pour it. This allows you to effectively strain any bits and pieces of batter or other foodstuff.
If you’re using a strainer, always remember to wipe out any excess traces of oil before washing it in the sink to avoid having even small amounts of grease going down the drain.
Now, it might be instinctive of us to wipe out grease from strainers, dishes, pots and pans with paper towels, and then afterwards, throw the used, greasy paper towels in the recycling bin because – well, paper towels are generally recyclable, right?
Paper towels that are lined with grease are generally not accepted by recycling centers. It’s best to use other more eco-friendly alternatives like a wash cloth cut up from an old t-shirt or a microfiber cleaning cloth that you can easily rinse, wash, dry and get rid of grease while helping reduce non-recyclable waste.
2. When reusing cooking oil, keep track of its “expiration date”.
Knowing the telltale signs of bad cooking oil is the cardinal rule of reusing it. This is based on a wide range of signs, including the appearance, texture, and smell of the oil. Here are some general tips from the experts:
- If you do decide to reuse cooking oil, make sure you separate cooking oil used to fry fish or other seafood from cooking oil used to fry chicken, pork or beef. It’s also important to label jars that you can indicate what sort of food the cooking oil has been fried with.
- Cooking oil from fried chicken can be stocked and reused 3 to 4 times max. Tests show that after the 4th reuse of used fried chicken cooking oil, it showed a murky, green color.
- Cooking oil from potato chips are generally “cleaner” which means this type of used cooking oil can be used a maximum of 8 times.
Based on the above, here’s a quick guide: Are you reusing cooking oil from a dish that’s been breaded or battered? It’s safe to reuse up to 3 to 4 times. Are you reusing cleaner or clearer cooking oil from frying potato chips or french fries? It’s safe to reuse 8 times. This can be reused much longer if it is also replenished or combined with new, fresh oil.
3. Convert soybean oil into biodiesel.
Can you really rev up a diesel engine with soybean oil? It turns out it’s a possibility. Consider that corn is used for that exact purpose today.
One caveat is you’ll need more than the cooking oil used for frying an egg. You’ll actually require large amounts. In fact, some industries like restaurants have even made a business of it. They sell industrial amounts of cooking oil to companies, which convert it into biodiesel.
You can find various online resources to find local companies that convert cooking oil into biodiesel. If they only accept bulk amounts, find a local restaurant that follows the practice. Perhaps you can donate your own household cooking oil.
4. Make soap.
This is probably the last thing most people would likely consider using used cooking oil for. Usually, soap is produced from fat. Thus, using cooking oil to make soap is practical since it’s another way to reuse the oil besides cooking with it again.
It’s also 100% better than tossing the oil into the garbage can. That’s the opposite of the 3-Rs and definitely less eco-friendly.
5. Reuse cooking oil as a non-toxic insecticide or weed-killer.
Ironically while insects and small animals love cooking oil, you can also use it to keep bugs away. The oil effectively suffocates harmful bugs as it coats its bodies and blocks the pores that they use to breathe. Besides that, it’s also an eco-friendly option since it’s just veggie-based oil. Here’s how you can make insecticide out of cooking oil:
- Mix 1 cup of used vegetable oil with 1 tablespoon of soap in any container as long as you can close it with a lid.
- Cover it tightly and shake thoroughly.
When you’re ready to use your own homemade cooking oil pesticide spray mix, here’s what you need to do:
- Add 2 teaspoons of oil spray mix with 1 quart of water in a generic spray bottle.
- Spray directly on the surface of pest-infested plants.
A related option is to use vegetable oil as a weed-killer. Use it the same way as a pesticide. If you prefer recycling used cooking oil over reusing it, then the next section offers you some basic tips.
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