Don't know what frying is? Let us explain it to you
By frying we mean cooking food in hot lipids, i.e. animal fats or vegetable oils.
There are various techniques with which frying can be carried out. These techniques vary in the amount of fat required, the cooking time, the type of pan used and the handling of the food. Sautéing, stir frying, pan frying, low frying, and deep frying are all common frying techniques.
Stir-frying, searing, and stir frying involve cooking food in a thin layer of fat on a hot surface, such as a pan, griddle, or wok. Stir frying involves frying quickly at very high temperatures, constantly stirring the food to prevent it from sticking to the cooking surface and burning.
Low frying is a type of pan frying that uses only enough fat to soak approximately one-third to one-half of each serving of food; the grease used with this technique is typically used only once.
The other side of the coin is deep frying, because it involves totally immersing the food in boiling oil, which is normally topped up and used several times before being eliminated.
Deep frying is now the basis of a very large and rapidly expanding world industry. Fried products appeal to consumers in all age groups and cultures, the process is quick, can easily be made continuous for mass production, and the food emerges sterile and dry. Final products can be easily packaged for storage and distribution; some examples are wrapped fries, nuts, fried donuts, instant noodles, etc.
The oils and fats used for frying are composed of triglycerides and different percentages of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Regardless of their origin, animal or vegetable, some saturated fats are precursors of hypercholesterolemia (the accumulation of the so-called "bad cholesterol" or LDL) while unsaturated fats are beneficial to health, if consumed in small quantities.
Many believe that oils with the lower content of saturated fatty acids are less harmful to health, but fried foods are an exception to this rule. When any oil or fat is heated to a temperature high enough for frying, three types of chemical reactions of triglycerides are triggered: polymerization, hydrolysis and oxidation by contact with air. Oxidation is the most dangerous because glycerol, oxidizing, produces acrolein, a substance that is harmful to the liver and irritates the gastric mucosa. A parameter widely used in industry to characterize the quality of an oil is the "smoke point".
The "smoke point" is defined as the temperature at which an oil spontaneously begins to oxidize upon contact with the air and produces a column of smoke similar to that of a cigarette. The smoke point alone, however, is not a good indicator of aptitude for frying. As a general rule, the most suitable oils are those with the highest smoke point and which at the same time have greater resistance to hydrolysis. The oils with a high content of saturated fatty acids (for example coconut oil, palm, cocoa, lard), and the preparations for industrial frying based on hydrogenated oil, satisfy both the above conditions, but at the same time they are those that favor the formation of "bad" cholesterol in the body. However, there are some exceptions: some varieties of extra virgin olive oil have a low smoke point (160 ° C) but contain polyphenols, antioxidants that delay the chemical reactions caused by the frying process.
Conversely, the smoke point of corn oil (235 ° C) is close to that of pork lard (240 ° C) and is far higher than that of coconut oil (195 ° C). Although corn oil contains about 60% polyunsaturated fats and is almost free of antioxidant substances, we should avoid foods fried in this oil as it is more easily hydrolyzable and oxidizable than the others analyzed which have a lower smoke point.
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