Thursday, July 26, 2012

Heat isn't a bad thing (except for me in the summer! I'm melting!)

Something strange has happened in the last year...people are worried about destroying oils and butters with heat. I think it's something to think about, but it's really not an issue for the oils and butters we use. 

If you're in doubt, look up the smoke point of the oil or the fatty acid.  You will be surprised by how high we can heat them. Macadamia nut oil can handle up to 389˚F or 199˚C, soybean oil to about 450˚F or 232˚C (depending upon the level of refinement), and avocado oil a whopping 520˚F or 271˚C. Even hemp seed oil, which is considered to be one of the more fragile oils due to its short shelf life, can handle up to 330˚F or 165˚C. The more refined the oil, the more heat it can handle. If we're heating and holding at 70˚C/158˚F, you can see that we're not even getting close to the smoke points of our oils.  

When it comes to our butters, feel free to heat shea butter with reckless abandon! The temperatures we use aren't going to destroy it! Same goes for mango and cocoa butter! 

Just make sure you're putting your low melting point oils away during the summer. My virgin coconut oil is melting in the workshop, so I've stowed it safely away in the freezer! 

A supplier is saying that you don't heat shea butter as it will ruin its goodness. I can't quantify what goodness means, so it's hard to know what goodness is being destroyed, but I can assure you that you are likely to have more trouble in our products when you don't heat the shea butter than when you do. (When it calls for heating...)

Related posts: 

External references: 
Cooking oil smoke points (Good Eats fan page)
Smoke points of various fats (Cooking for Engineers). In Fahrenheit or Celcius


Lisa P said...

great to know! It gets pretty hot here in Western Australia, although a freezing winter at the moment!

Stacey Neuhaus said...

Is it a problem to let coconut oil sit in a melted state for a long period of time? Being in the grips of a heatwave we don't have our AC set very low to conserve energy and my 76 degree oil is melted.

You've put yours in the freezer. Should I put mine in a colder location too?