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Frying/Cooking Oil - to save or not to save - what's the verdict?

grnidkjun Feb 22, 2010 10:42 AM

I have a batch of oil I have fried chicken in.
I'm not sure if it's advisable to filter/save oil after chicken has been fried in it.

My mother says pour it through paper towels or coffee filters into a container..
stick a potato in the oil and refrigerate it labeled - chicken oil and use it again for chicken later.

Anyone here do this? And anyone know the purpose of the potato?

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  1. bushwickgirl Feb 22, 2010 11:21 AM

    It can be reused if the oil is still in good condition, with a good color, no foaming up when reheated or having an off flavor or rancid, almost stale, smell. Oil can be used more than once and it'll be obvious when the oil's shot.
    It's advisable to filter your oil everytime you use it to remove food particles that will burn and break down the oil more rapidly. Reusing it for chicken is fine, it has probably picked up some flavor from the chicken from the initial fry. If you fry other food products in it, they may taste like chicken or more like the seasoning you used with the chicken. Paper towel or coffee filters are fine tools for filtering.
    The purpose of the potato is lost on me. There's a general idea in the cooking world that potatoes absorb flavors, salt, burnt taste, too much pepper, so maybe that's where that idea is coming from. It doesn't work so skip the potato.

    1. r
      ricepad Feb 22, 2010 11:23 AM

      I don't know about the potato, but I save my frying oil all the time. The only reason I wouldn't save it would be if it had a lot of burnt bits floating/suspended in it, which can make the oil taste burnt. Otherwise, I'd filter and save.

      Even if it's got a lot of burnt floaters, I don't toss it...it goes into a jar to be used for starting my charcoal. I drizzle a couple of tablespoons of it on a sheet of newspaper to put in my charcoal chimney.

      5 Replies
      1. re: ricepad
        bushwickgirl Feb 22, 2010 11:28 AM

        Cool, good use for old oil.
        I can't stress the importance of filtering enough. It'll take two minutes and greatly extend the life of your oil.

        1. re: bushwickgirl
          grnidkjun Feb 22, 2010 11:33 AM

          thanks to both of you for the responses.. next thing.. I have to find something to store the oil in. :)

          1. re: grnidkjun
            bushwickgirl Feb 22, 2010 12:05 PM

            Glass or metal, something you can dedicate to oil storage. Plastic's ok but will pick up flavors and you won't want to use it for anything else ever again. I put the oil right back into the empty oil bottle (if it's empty) when I have nothing else for storage.

            1. re: bushwickgirl
              grnidkjun Feb 22, 2010 12:08 PM

              I was thinking one of those graniteware coffee pots I could pick up at wal mart in the camping section would work well.

            2. re: grnidkjun
              JoanN Feb 22, 2010 01:07 PM

              I save quart and half-gallon milk cartons for just that purpose, both cardboard and plastic. And when the oil has finally given it's all, I use the same container to throw it away.

        2. Cherylptw Feb 22, 2010 12:13 PM

          You can reuse the oil...filtering is a good idea and I actually use oil used for chicken to fry other things like potatoes, caramelized onions, pork chops and fish but I don't use oil previously used for fish on chicken.

          I store my oil in clean plastic (once cooled) or glass mayo, peanut butter or jelly jars. I don't know about the potato...seems to me that it would rot and cause the oil to be of no use...but I've never used that method. If you store the oil correctly, you don't need the potato

          1 Reply
          1. re: Cherylptw
            bushwickgirl Feb 22, 2010 12:27 PM

            Yeah, the fish oil thing only works for frying more fish.

          2. c
            cocktailhour Feb 22, 2010 01:23 PM

            My mom saved her oil all my life without a problem. However, I did read that used cooking oil--even once--is more "broken down" by the heat and it could explode. supposedly this happened at the CI test kitchens. So there is a risk, although I have never seen it myself.

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