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What To Use In Place Of Solid Vegetable Shortening

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What exactly is vegetable shortening and what to use in place of solid vegetable shortening? Vegetable shortening is a common ingredient used all over the world by bakers during the baking process. Most of you must be using it at home too. 



Vegetable Shortening:


 Commonly used for greasing, cooking, grilling and baking. History has it that Proctor and Gamble in 1911 used unwanted seeds from cotton mills and by a process of hydrogenation manufactured it from plant products. This soon replaced the lard used in the US households. Essentially the shortening is bland and tasteless. It is used as a substitute for butter, margarine and lard during baking since it mixes well with the flour and also for greasing pans before cooking. The best property is its ability to stay fresh for more than a year at room temperature. Basically helps to hold the batter together , gives moisture and a crispy texture after the baking is done.


Ingredients of Vegetable Shortening: Vegetable shortening is made from hydrogenated vegetable oils. Soybean oil, cottonseed oil, mono and diglycerides are used as its ingredients. Soybean oil is the main ingredient in shortening and is obtained by transforming it chemically into a solid state through hydrogenation.


Cottonseed oil is cooking oil from cotton plants which does not require hydrogenation and is often partially hydrogenated .It has a neutral taste. Mono and diglycerides are made from fats of soybean, cottonseed or sunflower oil. Without this ingredient the shortening would fall apart.


Substitutes for Vegetable Shortening: Vegetable shortening though has replaced lard in most households is still not the most healthy choice for baking. It is high in trans and saturated fatty acids and very often fully hydrogenated. It is better to use other healthy options instead.


Butter: Organic and low fat butters can be used as substitutes to give a flaky and crusty appearance. 1 cup shortening = 1 cup of butter plus 2 tablespoons of butter.


Olive Oil: This is a healthy substitute but is not ideal for baking. Olive oil is a healthier alternative to vegetable oil, butter, lard or shortening, because it contains monounsaturated fat instead of saturated fat. Substitute olive oil for vegetable oil, lard, shortening or butter in your baking for a healthier dessert.
Fat: Substitute the shortening with animal fats like lard and suet. If they are made at home with no additives they are better.


Vegan: For those not wanting to use any animal products vegan substitutes like Smart Balance is good. They can be used to grease pans.


Applesauce: This is a good substitute for the strictly vegetarian with a healthy fruity flavor but might not function as well as the shortening or butter. Replace three-quarters of the amount of vegetable shortening with unsweetened applesauce or pureed prunes; or, replace all of the vegetable shortening with mashed bananas.

Used vegetable shortening can be stored by cooling, filtering and keeping it in a dry cool place  so that it can be used again.


 


Image credit: MorgueFile.com

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