Quick tips for reuse and disposal of Cooking Oil
6 mins read

Quick tips for reuse and disposal of Cooking Oil

We all love fried food and my lil one keeps demanding French fries every now and then. But the moment I step into my kitchen to fry any foodstuff, the question that bothers me most is what to do with the used oil? Whether to reuse it or dispose it? I am sure, this question bothers most of you.

While some nutritionists are of the opinion that Cooking oil should never be reused, others say It’s okay to reuse it, provided it is stored properly, monitored regularly and put to right use while reusing. So, let’s understand as to how to store and use this oil.

Storing and reusing cooking oil

Once you have used the oil, let it cool down. Check, if it looks cloudy. If it appears so, do not reuse. If it appears normal then you need to follow the below procedure to clean and store this oil.

    • Strain the cooled oil, using a fine mesh strainer. Ensure that all the food particles are removed from the oil as they induce a foul smell in it.
    • Store the oil in an air tight glass container. If possible, avoid using a plastic container.
    • Seal the jar properly and label it with the date of use. You must try and reuse this oil as early as possible.
    • Always store fresh oil and used cooking oil separately. Never mix fresh oil and used cooking oil.
    • However, it is important to note that you should reuse this oil only once or twice.

As per FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) guidelines “oil once used for frying food can be used for making curries to make it economical. Avoid using same oil for frying again”.

Before reusing check if:

    • The oil has turned rancid.
    • It foams or changes color while heating
    • It has turned cloudy or its consistency has changed
    • It has developed layers of film on the top

The above are the indicators that the oil is not safe for using any more. Dispose it immediately. One needs to understand that with every reuse the smoking point of oil reduces.

Considerations for reusing cooking oil

    • Smoking Point of the oil: It is the temperature at which the oil starts to burn and smoke. Different oils have different smoking points and can range from 325° F to 520° F. In general, vegetable oils have higher smoking point than animal fats and refined oils have higher smoking point than unrefined oils. The usual deep-frying temperature is 375°F/ 190°C approx. If the oil is not overheated on first use, is strained well, and stored properly, reusing of these oils should be safe. However, if you detect any smoke from the oil while reusing, discard it.
    • Type of cooking oil: The type of oil that you use for frying largely affects the breakdown of the oil. All oils have a different structure and different smoking points. As frying occurs at a high temperature, it is advisable to use oil with higher smoking point like vegetable oil.
    • Type of Vessel: The Vessel used for frying plays an important role. When you fry food in your kitchen you usually use a wok or a frying pan. During frying the particles of food settle at the bottom of the wok and come in direct contact with heat. This causes burning of these particles thus releasing their flavor in the oil and hastening its breakdown. So, if your kitchen requires frequent frying, it is advisable to use cast iron cookware or stainless steel clads (stainless steel bonded with copper and aluminium)” as they are best for deep frying.
    • Type of food you fry: The more particles you introduce into the oil, the sooner your oil is bound to break down. Bare food like french fries or raw vegetables do not leave particles in the oil but breaded or battered foods leave lots of particles. So, oil used for frying bare foods is more suited for reuse. But you can’t ignore the fact that when it comes to bare food, the type of food you fry will again impact the breakdown of oil. If you fry vegetables, it will leave the oil clean but if you fry fatty meat, the fat released will mix with the oil, making the breakdown of oil comparatively faster.
    • Heating the oil to the right temperature: If you overheat the oil, it will break down faster. If not hot enough, the food will become oily and soggy. So, it important to get your oil heated to the correct temperature for frying food.
    • Using a mesh strainer: Use a mesh strainer while deep frying to remove the food particles that settle at the bottom of the vessel. These particles sit at the bottom of the pot and continue to cook, eventually spoiling the oil besides infusing the oil with a bitter flavor.

Disposing used cooking oil

After deep frying, what do you do with the leftover oil? You definitely cannot pour it in the kitchen sink as it can clog your drain. One can pour the oil into a non-recyclable container like a card board milk container/ juice container with a lid and throw it in the garbage. Another way to dispose of the oil is to mix it with an absorbent material like saw dust or sand as it will soak up this liquid.

Correct disposal of used cooking oil is very important as it has a very harmful impact on the environment. Taking note of this, the union government has decided to encourage conversion of used cooking oil to biodiesel. This biodiesel can be used for gensets or blended with diesel to be used in vehicles, off–road equipment etc. Muenzer Bharat Pvt. Ltd. (Mumbai based subsidiary of of Muenzer Bioindustrie GmbH, a privately-held Austrian company) is one such company in India which is engaged in conversion of used cooking oil into biodiesel. The company loans its customers, containers for collecting used cooking oil hygienically. Their logistics services replace full containers with clean and empty ones at regular intervals. They process this used oil to produce biodiesel which contributes to keep our environment clean.

18 thoughts on “Quick tips for reuse and disposal of Cooking Oil

  1. Very informative. All queries that could occur were addressed. Atleast, that which I could think of in as I read through the post.

    The disposal bit was really good, especially the one about this company which processes used cooking oil. I was not aware of this.

    The topic chosen is also very relevant.

    Look forward to the next one.

  2. This is such an informative blog
    Absolutely loved it and am sure am gonna benefit from it….the tips are easy to follow and thus can be brought into use in day to day activities.

    1. The reuse of cooking oil is a a big problem for everybody who is cooking. One has to fulfill the demands of kids specially during lockdown when everyone is enjoying their family time and special recipes not knowing about the consequences of cooked oil. So I am sure that whoever will read it will definitely get benefitted by knowing about the reuse of cooked oil. You have quoted everything very scientifically, which is even more impressive.

  3. What about use of air fryers? How is the quality of such used oils? Believe use of groundnut or mustard oils (which have comparitvely much higher smoking point), should be preferable as compared to coconut or refined oils. Also such oils make the fried items properly cooked as well as less loss of oil due to evaporation. If possible, you may, please provide the details of smoking point range of various cooking mediums including ghee/animal fats and the recommended temperature range of various fried foods. Certainly a serious & a great attempt to solve this every household’s problem of reuse/disposal of used frying oils economically. BRAVO 👏👏👏👏. KEEP IT UP. With BEST WISHES.

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