Organic Palm Shortening Benefits: 5 Reasons Why We Love It
Baking is an art that requires a keen understanding of ingredients, ratios, and timing. And when it comes to the ingredients used in baking, fat is actually one of the most crucial components.
The type of fat used during baking can determine the texture, flavor, and overall quality of the final product. For centuries, people have used all sorts of different types of fats including butter, margarine, lard, vegetable shortening, and coconut oil (the list could go on and on). In recent years, palm shortening has become a popular alternative to traditional fats like butter and margarine, and for good reason. In fact, we even opt to use it here at PNW Cookie Co.!
But, what the heck is palm shortening? 🤔 Palm shortening is palm oil with some of the unsaturated fats removed so that it is even more stable and has a thick, luxurious texture that is perfect for baking. Today, we’ll go over five reasons why we’ve opted to use organic palm shortening to bake all of our cookies.
#1 Our palm shortening is ethically and sustainably harvested
Here at PNW Cookie Co., we only use palm shortening that is ethically and sustainably sourced (something that is not only important to us but is also crucial to our vegan customers!). Unfortunately, there are still many palm oil manufacturers who are not ethical and do not use sustainable methods.
The palm oil industry has been criticized in recent years for the negative impact it’s had on the environment. Unsustainable practices — such as clear-cutting rainforests, burning peatlands, and killing wildlife (including orangutans and other primates) — have made it imperative for people to seek out more ethical and sustainable sources of palm oil.
We also believe that when it comes to palm shortening, it’s absolutely essential to choose ethically and sustainably sourced brands.
But what exactly makes palm shortening ethical and sustainable? Sustainable palm oil is produced using practices that are environmentally friendly and conserve natural resources, including forests and wildlife. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) sets standards for the production of sustainable palm oil, and more and more brands are starting to adopt these standards. RSPO is on a mission to make sustainable palm oil the norm, and by choosing palm shortening from brands that are certified by the RSPO, organizations can be sure that they’re supporting a more sustainable and ethical industry.
#2 Palm shortening is non-hydrogenated
While hydrogenated vegetable oil is a common ingredient in many processed foods, that doesn’t mean it’s all that great for us to consume. Hydrogenated vegetable oil is made from edible oils extracted from plants, such as olives, sunflowers, and soybeans. Hydrogenated oils are most commonly found in ultra-processed foods that also have saturated fat, such as margarine, vegetable shortening, packaged snacks, baked foods (especially premade versions), ready-to-use dough, fried foods, and coffee creamers (both dairy and non-dairy).
One of the biggest concerns about traditional fats like butter and margarine is that they are often hydrogenated, which creates trans fats. Trans fats are unhealthy and have been linked to numerous health problems including heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 Diabetes. They are also difficult to digest, which can cause a variety of digestive issues. As noted in this Healthline article, hydrogenated vegetable oils may be linked to several adverse health effects.
Possible effects of consuming hydrogenated vegetable oils include:
- Impaired blood sugar control
- Increased inflammation
- Heart health
In contrast, palm shortening is non-hydrogenated, making it a much healthier alternative to traditional fats. This means that it doesn’t contain trans fats, which makes it a better choice for anyone who’s concerned about their health. Additionally, the lack of hydrogenation also means that palm shortening is more easily digestible, reducing the risk of digestive issues.
#3 Palm shortening has a higher melting point
Another key benefit of using palm shortening is its higher melting point compared to other oils. This means that it remains solid at room temperature, which helps to create a stable structure in baked goods. Unlike other fats, such as butter or margarine, palm shortening does not become liquid when exposed to heat or air, making it ideal for baked goods that need to retain their shape.
#4 Palm shortening is more stable (and less greasy!)
Another benefit of using palm shortening in baking is its stability. Unlike other oils, which can turn rancid or spoil quickly, palm shortening has a long shelf life and remains fresh and stable even when stored for long periods. This stability makes it a great option for baking, as it ensures that your cookies will maintain their flavor and texture over time.
Palm shortening is also less greasy than other oils, which makes it an ideal choice for baking cookies. This is because the reduced grease content ensures that the cookies have a crispy texture, without becoming too greasy or oily. Additionally, palm shortening is less likely to transfer grease to your hands, making it easier to handle and work with.
#5 Palm shortening is vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and tasteless
Palm shortening is also a popular ingredient for those following a vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free diet. Because it’s tasteless, it’s also ideal for those who prefer their cookies to be free from strong or artificial flavors.
Because palm shortening is made from 100% palm oil and doesn’t contain any animal products or derivatives, it’s a great option for vegans. It’s also free from gluten, making it a safe choice for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. Additionally, palm shortening is free from soy, which we’ve learned is another common allergen.
Despite its lack of allergens and animal products, palm shortening has a neutral flavor, making it a versatile ingredient in cooking and baking. It can be used to add moisture to baked goods and can also be used as a substitute for butter or other fats in recipes. So whether you're following a specific dietary restriction or simply looking for a healthier alternative to traditional fats, palm shortening is a great option.
💡 Pro Tip: Love learning about the ingredients behind the cookie? Check out this blog post to learn about the organic evaporated cane juice we use to give our cookies a boost of natural sweetness.
Back to You
We’re committed to quality in everything that we do and make because, well, you shouldn’t have anything less. To us, ingredients matter and we love being transparent about the ingredients and nutrients in all of our baked goods. We don’t believe deliciousness should come at the expense of poor ingredients. That’s why we’re committed to ensuring that every ingredient we use is as locally sourced as possible and is gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, dairy-free, and wholesome. So the next time you’re enjoying a cookie from yours truly, rest easy knowing it was made using ingredients that are both delicious and healthy.