What is the best type of oil to cook with for the environment?



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    Although palm oil is reportedly the healthiest, it is known that farming practices are less than friendly for several of these farms.  Especially palm oil since many farms rely on deforestation of rainforests.  Olive oil, on the other hand, takes up wide plots of land due to spacing and also promote monocultures.  However, a recent NYTimes article (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/19/dining/californias-olive-oils-challenge-europes.html?pagewanted=all) stated that olive oil farms in California have done away with that traditional model and have planted them closer.  Considering the reduced transportation cost, olive oil may or may not be a more environmentally-friendly cooking oil.  But, olive oil is rather one-dimensional with regards to cooking.  Therefore, a look into more durable oils is more appropriate.


    Heavy-duty oils such as peanut, grapeseed, and canola (rapeseed) are all worthy of the high-temperature cooking.  U.S. is one of the world’s largest producers of peanuts which plays a part in ‘locality’.  Not only are peanuts legumes (nitrogen-fixing plants which reduce the need of fertilizers), they also provide for a great mulch and/or compost.  However, the implementation of peanuts for these uses is unknown.  Grapeseed oil is produced as a byproduct of wine and therefore requires no extra farming.  Canola (rapeseed) is mainly farmed in Canada and, like peanut oil, can be used as a biodiesel.  However, there may be some concerns over the questionability of the use of genetically-modified rapeseed.

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