Walnut oil is a valuable treasure. Especially amazon link=”B0874S35RJ” title=”unrefined walnut oil”] is rich in valuable ingredients. But can you use it to fry like good, unrefined olive oil?
In this article you will find out whether you can use walnut oil for frying, how hot your pan can get and when it is better to use walnut oil in salads.
Let’s start at the beginning:
Can you use walnut oil for frying?
Refined walnut oil is suitable for frying. However, refined walnut oil brings only a few valuable ingredients with it. Unrefined walnut oil is healthier, but it is also not suitable for frying.
This brings us to the essential distinction that you need to pay attention to. Find out if you have cold-pressed or virgin walnut oil at home, or refined walnut oil.
Because the valuable cold-pressed walnut oil is only suitable for frying at low temperatures, but in principle it’s too good for that.
How so? Especially good walnut oil contains residues of the nut mass, which gives the oil a lot of flavor and aroma, but does not like heat at all.
In fact, if you heat walnut oil on high for a long time, it can become really harmful, as you will learn below.
And with this cliffhanger we turn back the drama a bit. First, let’s clarify when walnut oil can be used for cooking.
When should you use walnut oil for cooking?
You should use walnut oil as often as possible when it comes to making your diet healthier through a balanced fatty acid balance. Only unrefined walnut oil is suitable for this.
The fats that we eat contain many different types of fatty acids. These fatty acids are divided into saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
These fatty acids should be consumed in a balanced ratio because the body processes them differently.
The polyunsaturated fatty acids also include two fatty acids that are essential for the human body (must be supplied externally): omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which not only provide the body with energy, but are also required for the formation of tissue hormones will.
Animal fats mainly contain saturated fatty acids, in refined vegetable oils the important polyunsaturated fatty acids are destroyed during production.
Saturated fats may be losing their bad reputation, but with walnut oil in particular, it would be pointless to forgo the good in the base product.
The three cardiologists [believe] that saturated fats don’t clog the arteries. The cardiologists cite reviews that show no connection between the consumption of saturated fat and a higher risk of heart disease.
Cold-pressed (= unrefined) walnut oil contains around 60% omega 6 fatty acids, 12% omega 3 fatty acids, around 18% monounsaturated and less than 10% saturated fatty acids.
It therefore makes a good contribution to a balanced fatty acid balance. Especially when used in alternation with cold-pressed flaxseed oil, which contains 64% omega-3 fatty acids and 15% omega-6 fatty acids (because omega-3 fatty acids are the rarest today).
Tip: The correct storage of linseed oil is important so that the good fats are preserved. Find out here what you need to watch out for.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids. That means we have to take them in with our food. Otherwise we will develop a corresponding deficiency, which can show up in all sorts of symptoms – especially in chronic inflammation.
This is the reason why the cold-pressed walnut oil must not be heated too much. Because the heat destroys the healthy fats and converts them into saturated fatty acids.
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So: Should you use walnut oil for cooking?
If there are no salads, pestos, etc. on the menu, it should also be used for cooking to balance the fatty acid balance. But not for frying ingredients, but in the ready-to-serve dishes.
Here it is heated in the no longer boiling liquid for just a short time to well below 98 °C, which the good ingredients survive largely undamaged.
And of course the best: A little bit of nutty flavor goes very well with many sauces, soups and stews.
Why is walnut oil unsuitable for frying?
If the diet is to be supplemented with walnut oil to make it healthier, it is always about cold-pressed walnut oil. This walnut oil is not suitable for frying because it can only be heated to the so-called smoke point.
When a cold-pressed walnut oil is heated above the smoke point, water evaporates and with it the valuable fatty acids: “polyunsaturated” means that these fatty acids contain several unstable compounds that break down under the influence of heat.
However, these fatty acids should not evaporate with the smoke, but enter the body as they are in the cold oil.
Which types of walnut oil are suitable for frying?
In addition to the cold-pressed walnut oils, refined walnut oils are often also available in stores. These walnut oils are already heated to temperatures of well over 100 °C during pressing or extraction, because hot fat becomes thinner and the higher temperatures mean that even the last drop of oil can be extracted from the plant mass.
Then the oil is refined to make it a non-critical, long-lasting product. For this purpose, “everything but fat” is removed: In the case of “conventional goods”, possibly harmful pesticide residues that impair the taste, but also all natural ingredients that give an oil taste and aroma (smell).
Before the oil has a long shelf life, is tasteless and almost free of its typical smell, it has to go through a lot in the vegetable oil refinery:
The oil is de-lecithinated (removed of valuable lecithins important for the body and cells to be sold separately) by heating in water and sometimes with the addition of diluted phosphoric acid.
It is then degummed with salt solutions or acids, deacidified with caustic soda, bleached with activated charcoal or fuller’s earth, made odorless by steaming with steam and, if necessary, freed from components that are not cold-resistant by filtering at 5 to 8 °C.
This refined walnut oil can now be heated to a higher temperature and is therefore suitable for frying, but it is no more valuable than any other refined vegetable oil.
How high can you heat walnut oil?
The smoke point of cold-pressed walnut oil is 160°C, so you can only use it for low-temperature “roasting” in the oven, because searing and pan frying will reach temperatures of 180°C or more.
In particularly valuable, cloudy, cold-pressed walnut oil, however, healthy plant residues go into a state in which your body can no longer utilize them at temperatures above 100 °C.
Refined walnut oil can be heated up to 450°F.
But what exactly happens if walnut oil is heated too much when frying?
What happens if walnut oil is heated too much?
When the smoke point is reached, the unsaturated valuable fatty acids convert to the less valuable saturated fatty acids. This is because the bond between the unsaturated fatty acids is very unstable and “breaks up” when exposed to heat.
But that’s not all: In cold-pressed oils, as mentioned, not all residues from the nut, fruit, plant are “cleaned away” from which the oil is extracted.
All of these substances are no longer of any use to the body when they burn. Other harmful substances can also be produced.
Which one exactly? We’ll see that in the next chapter.
How harmful is it if walnut oil is heated too much?
Too strong means: Up to the smoke point, from which all valuable substances evaporate from the oil (in the truest sense of the word). This oil is already detrimental to you in that it doesn’t satisfy your hunger for essential fatty acids.
Your body will continue to crave fat until omega-3 and omega-6 have been supplied from other oils, fish, seaweed or nuts.
If the walnut oil stays above the smoke point any longer, your throat will start to itch and your eyes will water. The acrid smell is also a sign that something “bad” is happening here.
And it does. Because then acrolein has formed, a very toxic substance that is classified as a category 3B carcinogen (cause of concern because of proven or potential carcinogenic effects).
But what can you do if the oil has gotten too hot for you?
What should you do if walnut oil has become too hot?
As soon as the oil begins to smoke, immediately remove from the heat source.
If the bottom of the pan is thin and cools quickly (because you placed the pan with the oil on a cold rock), the oil may still be edible, just not quite as healthy.
If “scratchy” smoke has already developed, you’re better off discarding the oil (or letting it cool outside to grease wooden floors/wooden furniture).
Conclusion: Should you fry with walnut oil?
Frying with walnut oil is never a good idea: refined walnut oils are no better than refined oils with higher smoke points (peanut oil, sunflower oil) that survive brief pan overheating without damage. The valuable cold-pressed walnut oil is also the healthiest cold and should not even be cooked for a long time.