Jamie Oliver's Guide to become an oil expert

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The rise of the coconut
Coconut oil is rapidly growing in popularity. It has successfully made its move into the mainstream thanks to the enormous rise of the Paleo diet, after long being a staple of vegan diets as a replacement for butter, especially in baking. It’s solid at room temperature, but holds a very high smoke point. That is, it doesn’t start breaking down and then burning until a very high heat; much higher than other oils. The Paleo diet means eating similarly to cavemen – lots of meat, fish, nuts, leafy greens, vegetables and seeds. It also advocates the use of ‘good fats’ which is where coconut oil comes into play. Another way of eating that has risen in popularity lately is the High Fat Low Carb (HFLC) diet, again meaning coconut oil is popular because of its high fat content.

It’s no good for dressings because it’s solid at room temperature, but it’s great for sautéing or frying, and you can clump it over roast vegetables before roasting them for a subtle hint of flavour. You can scrape flecks of it into a smoothie, and it works a treat if you want to revisit that childhood party treat chocolate crackles.

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