I’m always on the lookout for new ingredients and cooking techniques, including the best fats to use in the kitchen. Today, I’m comparing a classic: lard, with something a little less common: wheat germ oil.
Both these fats have their unique qualities and applications. I’ll explain all the details below before giving you my ultimate verdict on the best choice!
Comparing wheat germ oil vs lard
|Wheat germ oil||Lard (Pork fat)|
|Solid or Liquid?||Liquid||Solid|
|Smoke Point (Fahrenheit)||225 degrees||375 degrees|
|Taste||Grassy||Mildly porky to neutral|
|Good for Cooking…||Low heat||Raw, low heat, moderate heat|
|Allergens||Gluten, wheat||Pork, meat allergy|
|Gluten-free?||May contain traces||Yes|
Differences between wheat germ oil and lard
Wheat germ oil is derived from the germ of wheat kernels (may contain gluten). The liquid oil is extracted using a cold-press method, ensuring that the nutrients and flavors are preserved. It has a grassy, somewhat nutty flavor from the wheat.
On the other hand, lard is rendered from pork fat and can be obtained through simmering or rendering processes. Lard can have a neutral or mildly porky flavor, depending on the amount of refinement. Use refined lard for baking.
While wheat germ oil remains in a liquid state at room temperature, lard is solid until heated. This difference in texture affects their applications in cooking and baking, making each fat unique in its own way…
Baking and cooking with wheat germ oil vs lard
When it comes to cooking and baking, both wheat germ oil and lard have their strengths.
Wheat germ oil is ideal for salad dressings, marinades, and light sautéing due to its toasty, nutty flavor. It has a lower smoke point of around 225°F, so it’s not suitable for stir-frying and baking at higher temperatures.
Lard, with its rich and distinct flavor, adds a savory touch to dishes. Its smoke point varies depending on the rendering process, but generally falls around 375°F. Lard shines in pastry-making, creating flaky pie crusts and airy biscuits. It can also be used for frying and sautéing, lending a unique taste to dishes like fried chicken or roasted potatoes.
Can wheat germ oil and lard be substituted for each other?
Because wheat germ oil and lard have different properties and flavors, they are less than ideal substitutes for each other. Wheat germ oil has a nutty taste and a low smoke point, making it suitable for salad dressings and low heat cooking. Lard has a higher smoke point and adds a distinct richness and flavor to dishes like pastries and fried foods. So, while you could experiment with substitutions, keep in mind that the end result may differ in taste and texture. It’s always best to use the specified fat in your recipe for the right outcome.
Nutrition: Wheat germ oil vs lard
In terms of nutrition, wheat germ oil takes the lead. It is rich in vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants, making it a healthier choice compared to lard.
On the other hand, contains saturated fats and cholesterol, which should be consumed in moderation. However, lard actually has less saturated fat than butter, and can be a good source of vitamin D.
There are two primary types of lard available: fresh lard and shelf-stable lard. Fresh lard is typically rendered pork fat without any additives, making it the healthier choice. On the other hand, shelf-stable lard may contain hydrogenated fats for preservation, which could potentially include trans fats, similar to vegetable shortening, and therefore carries some additional health risks compared to fresh lard.
|Per tablespoon (15mL)||Wheat germ oil||Lard (Pork fat)|
|Polyunsaturated||8.4 g||1.4 g|
|Monounsaturated||2.1 g||5.8 g|
|Saturated||2.6 g||5 g|
|Trans||0 g||0 g|
|Total Fat||13.6 g||12.8 g|
The primary fat source is bolded.
How to store wheat germ oil and lard
Proper storage is key to maintaining the freshness and quality of both wheat germ oil and lard. Wheat germ oil should be stored in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources. I recommend refrigeration, especially after opening, to extend its shelf life (up to 2 years) and prevent rancidity.
Lard typically has a shorter shelf life of up to 6 months at room temperature (keep in a cool and dry pantry) or up to 1 year in the refrigerator.
Wheat germ oil vs lard: The ultimate verdict
After careful consideration, my personal favorite in the wheat germ oil vs. lard debate has to be lard. While wheat germ oil is the healthier option, with its vitamin E content and essential fatty acids, there’s just something about the rich and flavorful magic of lard that makes it irresistible. From flaky pie crusts to perfectly crispy fried chicken, lard adds a depth of flavor and indulgence that’s hard to beat. Sure, it may not be the healthiest option out there, but in moderation, lard can turn any dish into a culinary masterpiece. So, if you’re up for a little indulgence, embrace the deliciousness of lard and elevate your cooking to new heights!
Yes, wheat germ oil is considered healthy to eat as it is rich in vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants, which contribute to heart health, immune support, and healthy skin.
Another name for wheat germ oil is Triticum vulgare (the scientific name for wheat).
You can lightly cook with wheat germ oil, but it has a low smoke point, which makes it unsuitable for high-temperature cooking methods. It is best used for dressings, marinades, or drizzling over dishes as a finishing oil, rather than for cooking.