Food & Drink Not all cooking oil sprays are as healthy –...

Not all cooking oil sprays are as healthy – or as handy – as you think

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Sizzola Air Fryer Spray Oil, £1.50/190ml,sainsburys.co.uk; Odysea 100 per cent Cretan oil version, £7/250ml,odysea.com

Back to olive oil: for perfect crostini, misting a slice of baguette before baking it to a crisp is the only way to go. Drizzling the oil on doesn’t make for an even spread, while fiddling around with a brush just makes more washing up. A spray is good for a light touch with roasted vegetables too: anyone who’s counted calories (maybe that’s coming back, along with the vinyl records) will know that a single teaspoon of oil has a jaw-slackening 40 calories, while a single spray is just one tiny cal. Best-selling Frylight suggests five sprays per “cook”, which equates to 5 calories, a considerable reduction on the 120 calories that the one tablespoon of oil typically used in recipes carries. It gives a whole new meaning to “calorie control”.

But oil sprays are also a source of frustration. Mostly it’s the way the nozzle gets clogged up after about three low-fat suppers. This turns the spray into a squirt, so you might as well have just drizzled and been done with it. And all that packaging (mostly plastic) feels positively profligate these days.

Some of the bottles are refillable if you can prise off the cap, but don’t try that with a pressurised can. You could skirt all that by investing in a reusable oil spray bottle. Lakeland stocks the Misto (lakeland.co.uk £11.99) which you pump to increase the pressure inside so it puffs out steadily like hair spray. Despite the initial outlay, with supermarket vegetable oil priced at around 19p per 100ml versus 80p per 100ml for the spray equivalent, refilling your own will still stack up in your favour, if you plan to use it often.

sprays

Frylight, £2.75,Ocado; Misto, £11.99,Lakeland

But what about clogging? “We advise to clean it every six to eight weeks to keep it working smoothly,” says a Lakeland spokesperson. “To do this you fill it half full with hot tap water, add one drop of liquid detergent and shake to mix. You then pump 10 to 15 times and spray for 10 seconds. Leave the soapy water in the sprayer for several hours or even overnight as this will allow any oil that has solidified to break down. Rinse and repeat the sequence above with fresh hot water.” It means you can put the oil you want in there (even hazelnut or walnut) without paying through the nose for some possibly third-rate sample. And pay you do: the prices for some of the sprays are definitely pumped up. Some things stay the same, however much you update them.


Six clever ways to use cooking oil spray

1. Spray a light film of oil on the inside of measuring spoons when using sticky ingredients such as honey and nut butter. It will help ensure a more accurate measurement as well as making washing-up a little easier.

2. Spritz some oil onto a baking tray to help greaseproof paper stay fixed in place when piping biscuits or meringues.

3. For effective protection against browning, spray cut vegetables such as avocado or aubergine with a thin coating of oil before wrapping well.

4. Save time by using a neutral vegetable spray oil to grease aluminium cake tins – particularly useful for bundt and other elaborately-designed bakeware. Unless using a pure, additive-free oil, sprays are not recommended for non-stick surfaces.

5. Ensure bread dough doesn’t form a crust during proving by spraying the surface with olive oil before covering the bowl with a tea towel.

6. Help seasoning and spice-blends coat meat and vegetables more evenly by giving them a light spray of oil first.

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