Restaurant workers regularly filter and reuse the oil in the deep fryer, and home cooks can recycle cooking oil, too. After its initial use, cooking oil can be refrigerated or frozen and reused for another six hours of cooking (see References 2). Don't reuse cooking oil if it smells rancid or you can't heat it without smoke developing, as this indicates significant deterioration (see References 1 and 4).
Items you will need:
- Slotted spoon
- Clean jar with lid or original oil container
- Coffee filter or cheesecloth
- Rubber band
Allow the oil to cool down to a safe handling temperature. Strain any food particles floating in the oil by raking through it with a slotted spoon and discard them. (See References 3)
Place a coffee filter or piece of cheesecloth around the mouth of the jar or original container. Arrange the cloth or filter so that it rests slightly inside the container to prevent the oil from spilling over the side. Slip the rubber band around the coffee filter or cheesecloth to keep it in place.
Pour the cooled oil slowly into the jar. You may need to replace the coffee filter or cheesecloth at some point so that the oil continues to flow into the jar.
Remove the rubber band and filter or cheesecloth from the jar. Put the lid on it, and store the oil in the refrigerator, or freeze for up to six months (see References 2).
Remove the oil from the freezer or refrigerator when you next need to use it. The oil may appear cloudy after being refrigerated, but it should clear up as it warms up (see References 1 and 4). Use the saved oil as directed in your recipe.
- To help keep your cooking oil clean, remove any loose crumbs from food items before placing them into the oil.
- Your cooking oil will decompose more quickly if you do not immediately turn off the heat when you finish cooking (see References 1).
Melissa Busse is a freelance writer covering a variety of topics, including natural health and beauty, budget balancing and parenting. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art from Maryville University in St. Louis.
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