Want non GMO oil for baking and cooking? If you are working to reduce the amount of genetically engineered food you eat consider changing the oil you use to cook and bake with. The most common oils people generally buy are corn oil, vegetable oil, and canola oil. All three of them are likely made from GMO ingredients. But there are other healthier options.
Most folks switching over to a healthier diet will replace their butter and lard with canola oil.
Doctors recommend it because it is good for heart health. It is marketed as one of the healthiest oils to use. But did you know that canola is one of the most widespread GMO crops in North America? Over 95% of canola is genetically engineered. Unless you are buying organic canola oil, chances are your canola oil is made from GMO ingredients.
Let me show you some non GMO oil for baking and cooking. You may not realize there are other non GMO oils for baking and cooking that can be just as healthy as canola oil.
But first, let’s take a look at some old fashioned fats that our grandmothers used to use: lard, butter, and ghee.
Fats that are Solid at room temperature
Of course they are not accepted as heart healthy by modern day standards. In our house we’ve used all three anyway.
Industrially-produced lard sold in most supermarkets is made from a mixture of high and low quality fat sources from throughout the pig. It is usually hydrogenated, too. This produces trans fats as a byproduct. They also bleach it as well. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it? Manufacturers also use emulsifiers, and antioxidants, such as BHT to get rid of the natural odor and to preserve it. Chemical treatments also make it shelf-stable. This kind of lard will be found on the shelf at a store.
Believe it or not, you can buy quality lard these days from organic farmers locally right here in the midwest. And you can get a family sized tub of it too. Wallace Farms in Iowa has deliveries to the Chicagoland area and they sell huge 4 lb tubs for around $20. A tub that size will last quite a while. It’s a great choice for dairy free bakers that want to make a nice pie crust. Don’t believe me? Dig into your grandmother’s old recipes for pie crust. You’ll see a lot of recipes that call for butter and lard or just lard. This kind of lard needs to be kept in the refrigerator or frozen to keep it from going rancid.
Because lard is high in saturated fats it has a high smoke point, which means the food can be baked or fried at a higher temperature before the fat will start to smoke. Cooks do not want to exceed the smoke point because the fat will start to break down and produce cancer causing free radicals (and a bad odor) after it reaches its smoke point. Pure lard is especially useful for cooking since it produces little smoke when heated and has a distinct taste when combined with other foods.
Many chefs and bakers believe lard is the best cooking fat because it has many applications. Lard has large fat crystals that make it an excellent choice for pie crusts and pastries.
Now about butter. When you buy it consider the source and the color.
You want butter from a grass fed cow ideally. This kind of butter is generally bright yellow in color. Cows should be eating grass. It’s what they’ve been doing since ancient times. But here in North America we feed our cows a mixture of grains, mostly GMO corn. And we pen up our cattle so they don’t get enough sunshine and exercise. Grain fed cows make a whole different kind of butter. You’ll know it when you peel open the wrapper. It’s a very pale, pasty looking off white color. It tastes completely different too.
As far as price goes, grass fed butter is the most expensive. We buy ours at Trader Joe’s. It’s an Irish brand called Kerry Gold, and Trader Joe’s has the best price on it. You can also find it at Super Valu stores like Jewel Foods and through Peapod grocery delivery service. We’ll also buy organic butter too, which is often from grain fed cattle. We love Organic Valley brand and do buy house brand varieties too. But we never buy cheap butter from cows fed GMO corn anymore.
And now about that non butter butter called Ghee…
Now if you love the taste of butter but you can’t do dairy, another option is ghee. It’s also called clarified butter. Clarified butter is an unsalted butter that has been rendered to remove the milk solids and water. All that remains is the golden-yellow butterfat. This butter has a longer life in the refrigerator and contains no lactose or casein. It has a high smoke point but doesn’t have the full flavor or butter. Purity brand ghee can be found online through Amazon.com and at Whole Foods.
It still has a more buttery taste than other oils but it doesn’t taste the same as butter.
Can’t find ghee in your local store? Try making homemade ghee yourself.
Ghee is easy to make. Just melt your butter on very low heat until a white deposit forms on the bottom of the pan. Strain the mixture, and get rid of the milky residue. Unfortunately, ghee is very expensive. When we’ve used it we didn’t bake with it. It was used as a spread mainly or in dishes like scrambled eggs that called for a little bit of butter.
Another non dairy alternative is palm oil
If you want a cheaper option altogether, and another one that is dairy free, consider buying palm oil. If you’ve never heard of it, let me introduce you to a pretty cool natural shortening that works much better than your Crisco oil.