Whether you are running out of one type of oil or want to increase the flavor depth of a recipe, there are various reasons both home cooks and chefs mix these two. Both oils are fit for baking, salad dressing, and even fried dishes.
Rapeseed, a plant in the mustard family that is yellow in color, is where canola oil originates from. It is especially preferred in frying as it has a relatively high exhaust point and is low in saturated fat. Cooks also love it as it is neutral in flavor and will not affect the palatability of food.
Vegetable oil is also a popular choice for frying food, and just like canola oil, is also low in saturated fats with a high exhaust point as well. The drawback of vegetable oil is that it has a strong flavor that alters the taste of your dish. If you are a home cook or professional chef, this may be a problem as at times, maintaining the original flavor of your recipes is preferred.
Are Canola Oil and Vegetable Oil Safe To Mix?
The short answer is yes. With the debate still raging about which oil is best for frying, baking, and the like, research shows that the best approach is to use a combination of the two. You will leverage the maximum benefits of the fatty oils contained in both.
These oils have high enough smoke points, making them both appropriate for frying. Some cultures use a mix of both in different ratios depending on the flavor profile they want to achieve. An example is when they combine for Indian cuisine that uses a lot of spices.
What Are the Potential Health Benefits or Drawbacks?
Canola oil is widely known as a healthier alternative to other vegetable oils. Some reasons for these are:
- It is low in saturated fat at 7% and has a high monosaturated fat content at 63%, according to a doctor at Harvard. Monosaturated fats can lower your unhealthy cholesterol levels. Heart disease and stroke risk factors go down via canola oil use. Cell development and growth is also aided.
- Canola oil also has a good amount of polyunsaturated fats that are between 9% to 11% in concentration. Two of the polyunsaturated fats in canola oil are omega-3 and omega-6. These are important for brain function and cell growth.
- Canola oil contains notable amounts of phytosterols at approximately 0.9% by weight. These lessen the absorption of cholesterol in the body.
Although most vegetable oils are touted as harmful to the body, they have health benefits. They have different content that helps us, and some of the health benefits are:
- Reduction in heart disease risk. According to a study done at the State University of New York, Buffalo, vegetable oil may reduce heart disease risk. Researchers also observed that the risk factors associated with the growth of cardiovascular conditions dropped to normal levels in participants that often used vegetable oil in their diet.
- Decrease in risk for breast cancer. Another study conducted in Italy at Universita di Milano found that regular inclusion of vegetable oils in people’s diets reduced the propensity for the development of breast cancer.
- Fortification of the immune system. Some vegetable oils have monolaurin, a derivative of lauric acid that bolsters the immune system. From a health context, the monolaurin fights influenza, shingles, and other infections.
- Improved metabolism. Findings from a São Paulo State University study suggest that some vegetable oils like olive oil contain phenolic substances that have properties related to antioxidation, anti-clotting, and anti-inflammation, which collectively help increase metabolic rates in the body.
The Main Benefits of Mixing These Two Oils Are:
- Improved flavor profile. As mentioned above, vegetable oil has a stronger flavor than the more neutral canola oil. Mixing the two helps reduce the punch from the vegetable oil while simultaneously using it to add more diversity to the taste profile of a dish.
- Improved nutritional profile. Canola oil, which is a better source of omega-3 fatty acids mixed with vegetable oil, harnesses the nutritional benefits of both, creating a hybrid oil that is healthier than the two when used separately.
- Improved oil versatility. Incorporating two oils together helps create a more versatile product that works for a wider variety of recipes and cooking methods. When canola oil and a vegetable oil like olive oil combine, the differences in their exhaust points result in a liquid that is suitable for both high and low-heat cooking.
What Are Some Potential Uses for a Combination of the Two?
- Combining canola oil and vegetable oil for frying. A combination of oils is a great way to save money and increase the taste of your food. When vegetable oil mixes with the more neutral-tasting vegetable oil, the flavor rubs off and creates a different sensation. Chefs and home cooks use this method to add complexity to the flavor palette of a dish. Mixing them is as easy as heating a pot and adding both oils, stirring a little bit for about two minutes to ensure they mingle well. That’s it. Note that this mixture is appropriate for deep frying, shallow-frying, and stir-frying.
- Mixing canola oil and vegetable oil for baking. Like in frying and other applications, you mix the two for the added flavor and nutritional benefits. Ratios may differ depending on the intended resulting flavor. Most cooks use a 50:50 split, but it largely depends on the pastries and the chef or cook’s intentions. Mixing them for baking usually does not require heating. Just pour the rationed proportions into a mixing bowl and stir. Some prefer to mix after heating both oils a little, but any of the two will produce the intended results.
Are There Any Other Important Considerations When Using a Mix of These Oils?
The remaining consideration when using these two oils, or just cooking oils in general, is the method of extraction or manufacture. Different methods influence the quality and flavor. Cold-press extraction crushes oil-producing nuts or seeds under high amounts of pressure. Some cold-press extraction uses low heat while others just use room temperature. All the oil is extracted by placing the nuts or seeds in a huge cylinder-like apparatus where they are crushed and mixed continually. Cold pressing does not involve a lot of heat or the use of chemical solvents, this results in an oil that keeps its original nutritional value, flavor profile, and aroma. The resulting product is good for cardiovascular health and is also beneficial to the skin when applied topically.
The price and shelf life of cold-pressed and chemically extracted oils also differ. Common oils are subjected to a process known as hydrogenation and washed with chemical compounds to extend their shelf-life and increase yield from source plants. Cold-pressed oils do not undergo those two processes, making their shelf-life shorter and the yield lower. This makes them more expensive than regularly extracted and treated oils.
Cold-pressed oils also have a lower smoke point, thus making them more appropriate for meals prepared at lower temperatures than their counterparts.
The main factors affecting whether to mix the two oils include price, cooking temperature, nutritional information, and desired flavor profile. While it is normal to combine these two oils, one must consider the implications based on the above factors. Cold-pressed oils may be better and more affordable for small dishes and home cooking, while processed oils mainly apply to commercial applications. After all is said and done, both oils have a place in your kitchen.