If you could only prep one kind of oil what would it be?
There are many answers to that question because there really isn’t a single ‘best’ oil to store; they all have their own strengths and weaknesses.
Homemade oil is not really an option for most people, so you will have to take the time to think about how you will use cooking oil in your food storage and stock up on the right ones. The important thing is to have cooking fat in storage and on hand when you need it.
Some may not agree, but cooking oils are a basic necessity for scrumptious meals and general health – something our bodies need to be healthy. If you want your food storage plan to be well rounded you should take the addition of cooking oils into consideration.
Here are five oils that store well, have multiple uses, and are ideal for storage and emergency use. Maybe one (or all) of these oils will work for you!
This is probably your favorite for cooking, salad dressings, and herbal remedy preparations. It can also be used for emergency lighting and candles. Olive oil can be stored longer than most other oils and as long as it’s stored properly it will last the longest of these 5 oils – about 24 months.
To avoid it going rancid before you can use it keep it cool, out of the light, and tightly capped so it is not exposed to the air. Extra Virgin Olive Oil will last the longest.
Coconut oil is over 90% saturated fat and has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties which make it useful for cooking and for herbal preparations. It is actually one of the healthiest fats in the world for you.
It is a great replacement for butter, margarine or shortening and works fantastic in baking. See WellnessMama’s 7 ways to eat more coconut oil for more ideas. It does not need to be stored in the refrigerator and will last for at least 24 months if kept in a cool, dark place.
You probably use butter for baking and on your toast every day. We buy our butter at Costco in the 1 pound bricks and place them in the freezer. There is always one brick on the counter in a covered butter dish.
In the winter, we don’t do anything special with it – we just use it as we want. In the summer, when the temperature in the house is consistently over 75 for more than a few days, we place the dish in the refrigerator. The best time to stock up on butter is in November when everything for baking goes on sale. If you freeze butter it lasts at least 12 months with no change in the texture.
I recently learned how to make butter in a jar with whipping cream – which is fun to do and a good preparedness skill to have.
There are directions on the internet for “canning” your butter, which I have not tried. Here are the guidelines from National Center for Home Food Preservation: “Should I use directions for canning butter at home that I see on the Internet?” You will have to choose which direction to take after reading the data. I also have a #10 can of dehydrated butter, which I have never tried!
You can purchase dehydrated powdered butter in #10 cans and use it for baking. Have you ever tried it?
Cooking Oil Spray
We keep several cans of cooking spray in our pantry and use it regularly. It is inexpensive to purchase and easy to store, lasting at least 12 months.
We use it for seasoning our dutch oven and take it camping because it’s easy to use. It also is a great lubricant for hinges that need oiling and manual can openers. They even make a cooking spray with different kinds of vegetable oil and olive oil.
Crisco is still the best-known brand of shortening in the US, consisting of a blend of partially and fully hydrogenated soybean and palm oils. These are things that we do not eat in our house. So why did it make my cooking fat storage prepper list? Because it is very shelf stable, lasting up to 5 years in unopened metal cans. Nowadays we can’t purchase them that way, so you will have to transfer it over to canning jars and seal them to get the extended shelf time.
Vegetable shortening is also great to use for a simple no weigh homemade soap – which is what I use it for and I suppose we would use it for cooking if our other supplies were gone. Plus you can make emergency candles out of it!
There are other oils and fats you might want to consider in your short term food storage plan. Learn about other vegetable oils, like canola and palm oil here and how to render lard here (which I definitely want to try)
How long does oil last? See this post from EatByDate.com to get the scoop on every kind of oil that you can think of. Oils are considered short term food storage items, lasting less than 5 years.
Do you render your own fat? As I was researching this post, I ran across quite a few people who save their bacon grease and skim their chicken fat for future frying needs. This is certainly a cooking skill from the past and one I would like to explore more in the future.
What cooking fat storage items do you regularly use and keep in your food storage?