In the comments section below my Super Crispy Homemade Chicken Nuggets video, a viewer asked: What do you do with the leftover cooking oil? In truth, I never discard my deep-fry oil after just one use. What a waste that would be! And here, in words and pictures, is how I strain, store, and reuse deep-fry oil:
Select the Right Oil
When deep-frying foods, it is important to use a cooking oil that exhibits a high smoke point (the temperature at which the oil breaks down and begins to smoke). Oils that can withstand deep-fry temperatures (350°F to 375°F) include canola, safflower, peanut, corn, vegetable, and sunflower. Extra-virgin olive oil has a low smoke point. It is not suitable for deep-frying foods.
How to Strain Used Cooking Oil
Once the oil has cooled to room temperature, strain it. To do this, place a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl or large glass measure. I use a 4-cup glass measure simply because my Fry Daddy requires 4 cups of oil, and I like to see how much oil is returned after frying and straining.
Next, place a filter of some kind in the sieve. A paper coffee filter will work. My favorite filtering device is a flour sack towel. Even without bleach, this lint-free, 100% cotton fabric comes perfectly clean in the washing machine.
Slowly pour the used oil into the filter. Stop pouring when you reach the last bit of oil that contains deep-fry debris — the bits of flour or batter that have settled to the bottom of the frying pot.
The oil will slowly trickle into the bowl or glass measure below.
You might be surprised to discover how much oil is returned after the straining step. My aforementioned homemade chicken nuggets were fried in 4 cups of oil. After filtering, nearly all of that oil was returned to me!
How to Store the Strained Oil
Pour the strained oil into a container equipped with a tight-fitting lid. You can return the oil to its original, empty container. Then place the container in some cool, dark location. I store my strained oil in the cleaned-out, tightly-lidded Fry Daddy, just as the appliance’s manufacturer recommends.
How Many Times Can Cooking Oil Be Reused?
When it is properly strained and stored, cooking oil can be reused many times. Of course, the oil will break down a little each time you use it. Discard the oil when it develops any of the following symptoms: A dark or cloudy appearance; a musty smell; a layer of foam appears on its surface, or it emits smoke at fry-temperature.
I hope this article was helpful to you in some small way. xKevin
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