Are you curious to know what is palm shortening? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about palm shortening in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is palm shortening?
Palm shortening is a versatile and increasingly popular ingredient in the culinary world. Derived from palm oil, it serves as an alternative to traditional cooking fats like butter and lard. In this blog, we will take a closer look at what palm shortening is, its production process, culinary applications, and its place in the context of sustainable and ethical cooking.
What Is Palm Shortening?
Palm shortening is a type of vegetable shortening made from palm oil. Vegetable shortening, in general, is a solid fat made from vegetable oils through a hydrogenation process. Hydrogenation is the process of adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats, converting them into saturated fats. This process gives palm shortening its solid form, making it similar in texture to traditional shortening made from animal fats.
- Harvesting Palm Oil: Palm shortening is derived from palm oil, which is extracted from the fruit of the oil palm tree (Elaeis guineensis).
- Hydrogenation: The palm oil is then subjected to a hydrogenation process to transform the liquid oil into a semi-solid or solid form. This process alters the oil’s molecular structure.
- Deodorization and Bleaching: Following hydrogenation, the shortening undergoes deodorization and bleaching to remove any undesirable flavors and colors.
- Baking: Palm shortening is a popular choice for baking, as it can be used to make flaky pie crusts, tender cookies, and moist cakes. Its solid form helps create a desirable texture in baked goods.
- Frying: Palm shortening has a high smoke point, making it suitable for frying and deep-frying a variety of foods, from crispy fried chicken to donuts.
- Frosting and Icing: It can be used to make smooth and creamy frostings and icings for cakes and pastries.
- Dairy-Free and Vegan Cooking: Palm shortening is often used in dairy-free and vegan recipes as a butter or lard substitute. It provides the necessary fat content and structure to many plant-based dishes.
- Non-GMO and Trans Fat-Free: Some palm shortening products are available in non-GMO and trans fat-free varieties, making them a more health-conscious choice.
Sustainability And Ethical Considerations:
Palm shortening, like palm oil, has been the subject of environmental and ethical concerns due to deforestation and habitat destruction, particularly in regions where oil palm plantations are prevalent. It’s essential for consumers to consider sustainably sourced and certified palm shortening, such as RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certified products, to support responsible palm oil production.
Palm shortening has found its place in the kitchen as a versatile and dependable cooking fat. Its solid form, high smoke point, and neutral flavor make it an excellent choice for baking, frying, and various culinary applications. However, it is vital to be mindful of the environmental and ethical aspects surrounding palm shortening production. By choosing sustainably sourced and certified products, consumers can enjoy the benefits of palm shortening while contributing to a more sustainable and ethical culinary world.
Is Palm Shortening The Same As Crisco?
Crisco is a solid made from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, while palm oil is a semi-solid pressed from the oil palm fruit. Palm oil has the benefit of being gluten-free, keto-friendly, paleo-friendly, and vegan, while Crisco is all of those things too, apart from being paleo-friendly.
Is Palm Shortening Good For You?
Unlike traditional hydrogenated oils, high-quality palm shortening is non-hydrogenated and contains zero trans fats. It is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are known to improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Is Palm Shortening The Same As Coconut Oil?
Palm shortening is made from palm oil, an oil derived from the tropical palm tree (which is different from the coconut palm). Palm oil is actually the second most common cooking oil in the world, only bested by soybean oil (eww), and is a shelf-stable oil with a high smoke point.
Is Palm Shortening The Same As Butter?
Shortening traps more air bubbles and has a higher melting point than butter, so recipes that use shortening tend to produce an end product that will rise a little higher, holds its shape during baking, and has an interior texture that is softer or lighter.
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