2

votes

Reheating saturated fat

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 14, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Hi,

I know that one of the benefits of saturated fats is that they are heat stable and generally I will reheat / reuse my fats several times. For example if I fry some bacon in pastured butter I will leave the residue in the frying pan to use the following day & maybe the day after that also. Is this a safe strategy and are some fats better suited to being reused than others? At the moment I'm using pastured tallow, lard & butter along with coconut oil.

Thanks, Jason

F694fc245d03b64d6936ddb29f4c9306

(2613)

on October 22, 2012
at 07:31 PM

I think that's a good guideline.

1b7ce4aec094380e5530dba3c6bcecf9

(20)

on October 22, 2012
at 07:14 PM

Thanks for the answer polynesian_metal, it's nice to know I'm not the only one doing this, and we're both still alive so it can't be too bad, eh?

1b7ce4aec094380e5530dba3c6bcecf9

(20)

on October 22, 2012
at 07:12 PM

No, I definitely don't go for super low fat anything, usually I have a few things frying in the same pan such as bacon, mushrooms & a few eggs so a little extra fat helps. I am probably a little generous with the fat to be honest but I do like an extra-fatty breakfast to set me up for the day!

1b7ce4aec094380e5530dba3c6bcecf9

(20)

on October 22, 2012
at 07:09 PM

Thanks for the very interesting answers Elunah. I like your idea of sticking to a threshold, maybe using the fat twice (one reheat within 24 hours) is a good compromise? I do try to keep the heat relatively low whenever possible so that would also be an important factor.

1b7ce4aec094380e5530dba3c6bcecf9

(20)

on October 22, 2012
at 07:02 PM

Thanks for the tip & I'll certainly look to purchase a ceramic jar like the one you mentioned. If I'm keeping fat for a long duration I store it in a small glass bowl in the fridge but I haven't been straining it so that is very useful to know.

F694fc245d03b64d6936ddb29f4c9306

(2613)

on October 15, 2012
at 02:07 PM

This also brings up an interesting question about cast iron, since the seasoning remains in the pan for a long time (decades, even). I don't know much about the chemical process involved, but I've heard that very little of the seasoning gets into the food, and that there are chemical changes in the seasoning that make it safer. Dunno if it's true or not.

F694fc245d03b64d6936ddb29f4c9306

(2613)

on October 15, 2012
at 02:05 PM

Caveat: Yes, oils do have smoking points, and you should stay well below those. What I meant regarding the oil overheating threshold is that not all the oil molecules heat evenly, due to the random variation implicit in intermolecular energy transfer. Even at a lower temperature, overheating of individual molecules can occur.

Cebbca9a78d5612bf3468b273c2010d5

(452)

on October 14, 2012
at 04:37 PM

Is your bacon super-low in fat? Because my bacon renders so much fat when I cook it, I could not imagine frying it in additional fat.

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3 Answers

1
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on October 15, 2012
at 12:52 PM

Fat can, and will go rancid over time. Oxygen, heat, light, and time all affect the time it takes fat to go rancid. I would never leave fat sitting on a pan and then reuse it, even next-day it will likely have started to go rancid.

I strain my fat, into an air-tight ceramic jar and then keep that jar, in my pantry (where it is dark). My jar looks something like this: http://www.amazon.com/RSVP-Stoneware-Grease-Keeper-Black/dp/B0017U5DZY/ref=sr_1_4

1b7ce4aec094380e5530dba3c6bcecf9

(20)

on October 22, 2012
at 07:02 PM

Thanks for the tip & I'll certainly look to purchase a ceramic jar like the one you mentioned. If I'm keeping fat for a long duration I store it in a small glass bowl in the fridge but I haven't been straining it so that is very useful to know.

0
F694fc245d03b64d6936ddb29f4c9306

(2613)

on October 15, 2012
at 02:02 PM

I don't think there's a solid guideline on this; it's all about how far you're willing to go. Strictly speaking in terms of oxidation, it's safest to always use fresh oil, but that can be impractical. Oxidation happens gradually, and as long as you're not overheating the oil, you can arguably choose your own threshold for when to throw it out. Just pick an expiration point (number of uses or time) and stick to it.

Food safety isn't a binary switch, after all. There isn't a magical threshold for when oil goes rancid; when meat goes bad; or even when oil is overheated. The transition is gradual, and you just need to decide upon your own guidelines for the margin of danger you're willing to accept.

All fats will eventually oxidize when exposed to microbes, heat, light, oxygen, and so on, but the more stable the fat, the safer it will be when left out or re-used. You can try to extend the lifetime of the fat by reducing exposure to the aforementioned factors.

F694fc245d03b64d6936ddb29f4c9306

(2613)

on October 15, 2012
at 02:07 PM

This also brings up an interesting question about cast iron, since the seasoning remains in the pan for a long time (decades, even). I don't know much about the chemical process involved, but I've heard that very little of the seasoning gets into the food, and that there are chemical changes in the seasoning that make it safer. Dunno if it's true or not.

F694fc245d03b64d6936ddb29f4c9306

(2613)

on October 15, 2012
at 02:05 PM

Caveat: Yes, oils do have smoking points, and you should stay well below those. What I meant regarding the oil overheating threshold is that not all the oil molecules heat evenly, due to the random variation implicit in intermolecular energy transfer. Even at a lower temperature, overheating of individual molecules can occur.

1b7ce4aec094380e5530dba3c6bcecf9

(20)

on October 22, 2012
at 07:09 PM

Thanks for the very interesting answers Elunah. I like your idea of sticking to a threshold, maybe using the fat twice (one reheat within 24 hours) is a good compromise? I do try to keep the heat relatively low whenever possible so that would also be an important factor.

F694fc245d03b64d6936ddb29f4c9306

(2613)

on October 22, 2012
at 07:31 PM

I think that's a good guideline.

0
47edf681280750c3712a3a56f2eae33b

on October 14, 2012
at 04:17 PM

I do the same, pretty much is a seasoned fat, right. Nothing has ever happened to me. Just my own experience. You are not alone Jason.

1b7ce4aec094380e5530dba3c6bcecf9

(20)

on October 22, 2012
at 07:14 PM

Thanks for the answer polynesian_metal, it's nice to know I'm not the only one doing this, and we're both still alive so it can't be too bad, eh?

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