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Oil recycling: “Karma Conscious” food processing

At Indianlife we create food with “good karma and great taste.” This means it’s important for our healthy vegetarian and vegan foods to be delicious, and equally important that we produce and package them in an eco-friendly way. One of our sustainability initiatives at Indianlife is to reuse and recycle everything we possibly can. Cooking oil is one of the waste products all food manufacturers struggle with. Proper disposal is crucial. We recycle our used cooking oil with West Coast Reduction Ltd. This Canadian company has been collecting and recycling cooking oil for nearly 50 years. West Coast Reduction Ltd. picks up the remnants of oil we use to create our authentic gourmet Indian convenience foods. When the oil arrives at their plant it’s first sterilized by boiling. Any water from the cooking process is separated from the oil, and the oil is run through a high-speed centrifuge processor to remove any solids remaining. The resulting “clean” oil is then blended with other processed oils to create “Feed Fat.” Feed Fat is a mixture used by Canadian feed mills to make agricultural feed products for livestock.

Home chefs often pour used cooking oil down the drain. But did you know cooking oil can be refrigerated or frozen and reused? Cooking oil can be reused if it doesn’t smell rancid, and if you can heat it without smoke developing. Any cooking oil that’s been heated to where it smokes when heated again has deteriorated too much for a “second life.” To save and reuse your home cooking oil, first allow the oil to cool to a safe handling temperature. To strain out any food particles floating in the oil, rake through it with a slotted spoon or other tool. Discard these food particles. Take a coffee filter or piece of cheesecloth, and arrange it around the mouth of a jar or the oil’s original container. Make sure the cloth or filter rests slightly inside the container and oil doesn’t spill over the side. A rubber band can be used around the coffee filter or cheesecloth to keep it in place.

Pour your cooled oil slowly into the jar. If the coffee filter or cheesecloth becomes clogged and oil no longer passes through it, replace it with a new one.

Once the oil is filtered you can place the lid on the jar, and store the used oil in the refrigerator or freezer for up to 6 months.

Do you have some tips or techniques you use for “Karma Conscious” cooking? Email them to us and we’ll post them in our Community Blog.

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