When to Change Your Frying Oil

Advantages of FryCheck™

When to Change Your Frying Oil

Knowing when to change the fryer oil in a restaurant is crucial to maintain the quality of fried food and ensure a consistent taste. Several methods have been used to indicate it’s time to change the fryer oil. What are they and how do they compare? It’s That Day of the Week: At two National Restaurant Shows, we surveyed a large number of restaurant owners and operators about their frying oil management practices. Surprisingly, many of them, especially those operating smaller establishments, confessed to changing out oil based on the schedule of their oil supplier – usually weekly – unless the oil was VERY overused (see below). This results in overuse of oil – soaked, greasy, unhealthy food that does not taste good – OR discarding underused oil with a lot of fry life left, and wasting money. Unpleasant Odor and Taste: If the oil emits a rancid or off-putting odor, or if the fried food has an unusual or stale taste, it’s a clear indication that the oil has exceeded its optimal fry life. It is too degraded and should have been discarded sooner. Excessive Foaming or Smoking: When the oil starts to foam excessively or produce excessive smoke, it’s a sign that the oil has degraded. Additives, such as antifoam agents, can allow the oil to be used longer, but this can mask oil that is past its optimal fry life. Food Absorbing Excessive Oil: If fried food absorbs an unusually high amount of oil, making it greasier than usual, the oil has exceeded its optimal fry life. It probably should have been changed sooner to maintain the best quality and healthof the food products. Dark or Discolored Oil: Frying oil gets darker with use. A simple and widely used method for monitoring frying oil involves comparison to a color standard. However, the color change is not a reliable measure of fry life. Indeed, premium high oleic oils tend to become dark way before the end of their optimal fry life. Results from Oil Quality Testing: It is universally accepted that regularly conducting oil quality tests, such as total polar compound (TPC) analysis, provides the most accurate and reliable way determine the oil’s health and suitability for further use. Regular monitoring of TPC and establishing clear guidelines for oil replacement based on TPC levels in your establishment will help you ensure that the frying oil is always at its best, delivering the highest quality of fried food to your customers.

Advantages of FryCheck™

Several “quick test” methods have been introduced over the years in efforts to provide a more objective measure of when frying oil should be replaced. Gardner color: This involves comparing the color of an oil to a dark “calibrator.” This method is very crude, differs for different types of frying oil and does not accurately measure the buildup of unhealthy byproducts. Dielectric Constant: There are some instruments – e.g. Testo® - that measure the ability of an oil to conduct electricity, which generally correlates well with oil degradation. But these devices are expensive and need to be periodically cleaned and calibrated. Further, water and any fried products falsify the measurement. The immersion depth, oil temperature and other factors can also alter the measurements obtained. Free Fatty Acid Test Strips: These tests strips are intended to provide a quick way to measure free fatty acids liberated as fry oils degrade. However, in addition to requiring refrigeration and the need to allow the color to develop overnight, multiple studies have indicated that they are very unreliable. Total polar compounds (TPC), can be considered as the collection of unhealthy substances generated by the degradation of frying oil. Oleotest is reported to directly measures TPC. However, in addition to the greater cost, Oleotest requires that a very precise quantity of oil measured and transferred to a test vial, mixed with the Oleotest reagent, and then microwaved to develop the color. In our hands, Oleotest performs fairly well, but it is definitely more complicated than FryCheck™, and if one does not transfer exactly the specified amount of oil, the test will not be accurate. FryCheck.™ This novel test strip has a pad that changes color in proportion the the TPC of an oil sample. Advantages of FryCheck™ include: Direct measure of TPC: Color change is directly proportional to TPC Ease of use. No technical skills needed. No need to measure oil precisely or heat the sample. Immediate results. It takes only a few minutes. Safe Designed for restaurants and staff with varying skill levels. Economical. No start up investment, cleaning or recalibration. Long shelf Life. Store unopened packages for over a year in the cold. Once opened, store remaining test strips for several months at room temp.