Dear Dr. Mitch:
I’m getting confused and conflicting reports from different doctors and friends I speak to about my oils I cook with and how to store them in my kitchen. Can you explain to me the best way to maintain the freshness of these various oils?
B.G. from New York
This is an excellent question but I think I can give you a simple and concise answer to it. The biggest problem we have with oils is that they become oxidized or rancid when exposed to air. What this means is that once the oil container (bottle) is opened, freshness can only be preserved by putting the oil in the refrigerator OR if you would like to leave it out, add 400 IUs of the mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) per pint. Although some oils solidify in the refrigerator, when you take them out (the bottle) the warmth of your hand or placing them in warm water, will make them available for use in just a few short minutes. If you DON’T use these methods, once opened leaving them at room temperature will allow the process of oxidation within 48 hours. Once this begins and they become rancid; THESE oils are then damaging to our cells. Please NOTE: even though you may not be able to smell or taste the changes, be aware they are occurring rapidly. If you look carefully in nature, you will see that the oils are encased in their respective nuts, seeds or skins. As disturbing as it may be for convenience sake, eating nuts, such as sunflower seeds or pistachios outside of their original protective shells, means that these foods are already rancid, regardless of whether they are organic or not and will NOT be healthy for you to eat! SO….buy less oil, keep it refrigerated, or mix in the vitamin E.
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