Organic palm oil shortening -- healthy or not? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 04-21-2010, 12:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm talking about the solid white shortening sold in health food stores, labeled 0 trans fats. It's not a traditional food, I guess, which is why I'm mistrustful. But I'm considering buying it because, where I live, it is the only decent thing available -- here in Japan there is no organic or grassfed butter, no organic lard or tallow, and coconut oil is priced through the roof!

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#2 of 11 Old 04-21-2010, 09:41 AM
 
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I'm interested in this as well. Maybe we can send a question to WAPF--they are pretty good about answering.

I have some in my cupboard and use it less than CO or ghee, but I have used it for frying (b/c I don't want to 'waste' the CO or ghee). I'll be watching this thread w/ interest!

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#3 of 11 Old 04-21-2010, 10:06 AM
 
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I use it, especially when I want to cook at high heat. Ours is Spectrum Naturals, or something like that. I think that unrefined palm oil is awesome, with lots of health benefits. I do think that using it refined is a compromise, but certainly better than using nasty stuff like Crisco, or loading up on too many Omega-6s by using the vegetable oils too heavily. The palm oil is half saturated fats, and half monounsaturated, with just a trace of polyunsaturated. Somebody correct me if I've got that wrong...

I don't think I'd use it all the time-- I think I'd go for some conventional butter some of the time, if it was the only butter I could find, and extra virgin olive oil if you can find it. Chicken fat is good, too-- I get mine by making broth, and then putting it in the fridge to let the fat rise, and then lifting if off the cooked broth and rinsing it in cold water. You don't get much, but it keeps well. A bit of sesame oil or peanut oil sometimes is nice, too-- especially if your diet includes plenty of omega-3s to balance it out.

Can you get uncured bacon? Bacon fat is good for lots of purposes as well. You can also, if the shipping is not prohibitive, order coconut oil through the mail-- I get it on amazon. Check out Tropical Traditions. It's not cheap, but it's cheaper than what I pay retail here.

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#4 of 11 Old 04-22-2010, 03:51 AM
 
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red palm oil, and palm oil, are drastically different creatures.

Red palm oil is fairly-quite healthy, and sustainable, though it has a taste that doesn't go well with all dishes, only some.

palm oil, or palm kernal oil (the white palm oil) can't be gotten through pressing, or other traditional extraction methods, requiring chemical (or maybe other weird technology, I know chemical extraction is common). Red palm oil is from the fruit of the palm instead of the kernal and can be traditionally processed (pressed) from the fruit.

Also, because palm kernal oil is cheap, and about the same consistancy of hydrogenated vegatable oils, which are suddenly getting a bad rap, so people are more and more using palm oil, there has been widespread deforestation to grow it, and so it isn't sustainable either.

(Because red palm oil isn't much used here, I don't THINK it is as unsustainable, however its still good to check your sources.)

I think instead, I would get non-organic butter, lard, and tallow.

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#5 of 11 Old 04-22-2010, 09:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, so the white stuff is palm kernal oil, not palm oil?! It would be good to ask the WAPF. How do we do that? I am not a member.

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#6 of 11 Old 04-22-2010, 10:23 AM
 
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Palm shortening isn't palm kernel oil, at least not to my understanding. It's from the palm fruit, and yes, more processed than red palm oil, but okay based on what I've read.

I consider it a compromise, and one I'm okay with, since we're dairy free and sometimes the taste of tallow or lard isn't appropriate, or I haven't rendered any lately.
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#7 of 11 Old 04-22-2010, 12:03 PM
 
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What I'm talking about is not palm kernel oil. It's palm oil-- it was red once, but it's been refined to be white. It's 50% saturated fat, and roughly 50% monounsaturated, with a smaller amount of polyunsaturates. It's sold as palm shortening, by Spectrum Naturals. This is it here:

http://www.spectrumorganics.com/?id=87

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#8 of 11 Old 04-22-2010, 07:01 PM
 
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Yes, the spectrum organics is the Palm FRUIT oil. It states it clearly on the package, and I looked the company up a few different ways, and they are sustainably harvested.

That's what I get. It makes a fantastic pie crust, etc. basically replaces anything you'd use Crisco in.

I know baking with flour isn't very TF, but I've also cooked with it, it makes great fried things.

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#9 of 11 Old 04-23-2010, 09:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Great, think i'll get some for baking and the occasional deep-fry!

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#10 of 11 Old 05-01-2010, 08:29 PM
 
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So what was the conclusion on this? If the spectrum shorting is white is it processed to be that way? I am new to palm oil. My HFS doesn't carry any other palm oils and ds is allergic to coconut oil. I am looking for a good oil for everyday use.
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#11 of 11 Old 05-01-2010, 09:28 PM
 
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I use the Tropical Traditions palm shortening. I've been told that the Spectrum Naturals is basically the same, but I don't know for sure. The TT is cheaper, for me anyway. Especially if I wait for their sales, or free shipping (love that one). Here's the information on the TT palm shortening. Based on their description, it's grown and harvested sustainably. They don't explain the process of extracting the unsaturated fats from the oil, but it seems to me that it would be a mechanical (as opposed to chemical) process. I know that that would fit with the TT philosophy better, and just thinking about it, and looking at my red palm oil, it seems like it would be fairly simple (for someone who knows how to do that sort of thing).

Being dairy free, we use the palm shortening when we need a tasteless hard oil. It works really well in baked goods. It's better than CO in cookies, crackers, and pie crusts (it works more similarly to butter, so it makes a nice substitute).

But for frying our doughnuts, we use CO. Then we save the oil in a jar, and my son uses it instead of butter/ghee on anything he'd like to spread butter on. He calls it "doughnut ghee". It has a nice flavor to it, and the eggs in the batter turn the oil a nice yellow color, so it even looks a bit like butter. Speaking of which, I need to make more doughnuts.

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