Fats and Oils

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Fats and oils are chemically the same. Conventionally the word ‘fat’ is used for something that is solid at normal temperatures, and ‘oil’ for a liquid. coconut and palm oils, however, are liquid in the hot climate of their lands of origin, but generally solid in temperate climates, their melting point being between 21 and 26 °C (70–9 °F). Furthermore, the melting and solidification of fats and oils is a gradual process; they are not fully liquid above or fully solid below a given temperature.

Further details of individual fats and oils are given in the articles on the various nuts and other sources from which they are produced.