There are so many oils to choose from these days, the bottles are so pretty, and the prices vary so much.  How do I choose the best oil for my family and myself?  We have 3 types of oil in our house Olive, Avocado and Coconut.  All three of them we use in our handmade goat milk soap recipe. Olive oil is our go-to-oil for salads, bread dipping, eggs, and low temperature cooking. Avocado oil we use for sauteing vegetables, baking and the occasional fondue pot.  Coconut oil I use daily by engaging in the Ayurveda ritual of oil pulling and making homemade beauty products.  Organic Coconut oil has no additives or toxins.  However, Coconut oil is high in saturated fat, so we do not cook with it very often. We will explore the good, bad, and ugly oils in the blog post today.

Food Style
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1.    Which oil do I choose for the healthiest oil?

The “better-for-you” oils are those with less than 4 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon.  According to the American Heart Association those oils are Canola, Corn, Olive, Peanut, Safflower, Soybean and Sunflower oils.  The Good oils are Avocado, Olive and Nut oils they contain monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats.  The Bad oils are butter, lard, coconut, and palm oils they contain saturated fats. The Ugly oils contain trans fats which are found in processed foods and labeled as hydrogenated oils.

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2.    Which oil do I choose for cooking?

The oil you choose for cooking depends on the temperature you will be cooking your food. Oils with a high smoke point up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit will be Avocado, Canola, Corn, and Peanut oils.  For a lower cook temperature of 225 degrees Fahrenheit or below, you can use Olive, flax, or walnut oils.  While low temperature oils are best for cold entrees such as salads they can also be heated to a low temperature for eggs and light sauteing. Try to avoid letting your oil smoke the smoke produces toxic fumes and releases free radicals that damage cells and cause cancer according to the Cleveland clinic.  Less oil is more oil when you are cooking. Our daily intake of fats should not exceed 25-35% according to the Cleveland clinic. While you are sauteing your vegetables if they begin to stick and you want to add more oil what do you do?  You can add a splash of water it will help the vegetables cook and you will be using less oil.

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3.    Which oil do I choose for baking?

A lot of baked good recipes call for butter but remember butter has saturated fat and falls on our bad fat list.  Avocado, Canola and Sunflower oils are going to be healthier choices and they are on our good fat list, they are also going to have the least amount of flavor.  Using oil instead of butter or lard is going to add more density to the baked good resulting in a richer more decadent dessert as well.

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4.    Which oil do I choose for handmade beauty products?

Do it yourself is not only very popular with crafts, home decor and holiday gifts but also beauty products!  There are numerous recipes online; Olive oil and Coconut oil seem to be the most popular. When you are searching for the perfect recipe keep your skin type in mind.  Even if you are not into do-it-yourself beauty product recipes you would not be disappointed trying coconut oil slathered on freshly shaven skin, using it as an eye makeup remover or an overnight hair mask.  I have purchased oil cleanser for the past 2 years and I am ready to make my own.  The recipe I tried first is from Jenni Raincloud Organics I love it and it makes a large batch! For a hand knit cotton washcloth to accompany your face cleansing visit our farm shop

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Jenni’s recipe from her website.  DIY Olive Oil and Lavender Cleanser and Face Cream - Jenni Raincloud

DIY Olive Oil & Lavender Cleanser: 1/2 cup Olive oil, 1 TBSP Castor oil, and 10 drops Lavender essential oil.  

Mix all ingredients in a pump bottle.  Since this is an oil cleanser, there are no bubbles! Cleansing with oil can be very effective in purging the pores of excessive oil and dirt.  I personally oil cleanse and have never looked back to a cleanser that contains soap.  Soap can easily strip the skin of itsnatural oils which can cause fine lines and wrinkles as well as sensitive, dry skin.


1. Squirt 1-2 pumps in the palm of your hand.

2. Massage all over the skin, including your eyes (this cleanser will thoroughly remove eye makeup without irritating your eyes).

3. Gently massage your skin for 1-2 minutes.

4. Warm up a washcloth with warm to hot water from the sink.

5. Lay over your skin for 1 minute or until cloth has cooled, letting the heat and steam from the wet cloth open your pores.

6. Gently wipe oil, makeup, and dirt off your skin.

7. Rinse cloth and heat with water again.

8. Repeat with warm cloth 1-2 times.

5.    What else can I use oil for?

Has that pesky squirrel eaten all the bird seed out of the bird feeder in one day, Dang that squirrel!  Try slathering the bird feeder pole in Coconut oil.  I have found Olive oil to be a good conditioner for wood and it also adds a good shine to stainless steel.  I will give a small pea size of Coconut oil to our Cats from time to time for a hairball digestive.  Please note cats do not digest fats the same way humans do so this is not a replacement for brushing your Cat and always consult your veterinarian before trying anything new.  The Spruce has many more uses that I have not tried that look interesting  Have you ever tried a few drops of olive oil in your dirty martini?  Olive oil is trending with cocktail mixologists.

A Martini mixed with gin and vermouth as you classicaly do, but with some added olive brine and an olive garnish. Making it this way gives the Martini a savory umami-note.
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6. What oil do I choose for oil infused gifts?

What a great time of year it is to create one-of-a-kind handmade gifts.  Olive oil is my favorite for infused oil and the gals at California Grown agree. has some great recipes that would make beautiful holiday gifts.  Infused oil can last 2-4 weeks at room temperature and up to a year in the refrigerator.  The rosemary sprig and star anise are so awesome floating in the oil however removing the ingredients help the infused oil to last longer.

Rosemary, Garlic, and Chile Infused Olive Oil: 1/2 cup rosemary sprigs washed and dried thoroughly, 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns, 4 cloves garlic peeled and lightly crushed, 2 dried bird's eye chiles, other small dried chiles or a pinch of red pepper flakes, pinch of salt, 1 cup extra virgin olive oil.

Ginger, Star Anise, and Chile Infused Olive Oil: 1/4 cup fresh ginger slices, 6-star anise, 4 cloves garlic peeled and lightly crushed, 3 dried bird's eye chiles, other small dried chiles or a pinch of red pepper flakes, pinch of salt, 1 cup extra virgin olive oil.

Bay Leaf, Citrus, and Black Peppercorn Infused Olive Oil: 1/4 cup dried bay leaves, zest of 1 orange no pith, 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, pinch of salt, 1 cup extra virgin olive oil.


To make any of the infused olive oil variations above follow these steps.  Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat.  Warm slowly until the mixture starts to gently bubble, about 5-8 minutes.  Continue to heat until the oil is very fragrant, another 1 or 2 minutes.  Cool completely, then use a funnel to pour the oil into a clean bottle to store.  Refrigerate and use within a month.

Food styling set with garlic, lemon and lavender on wooden textured cutting board
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