If you're tired of spending money on commercial spray oils, you can try pouring canola oil directly into a spray bottle instead. The results won't be exactly the same, though, because spray bottles are designed for water, not oil. For greasing pans for baking or sauteing, you're better off with a mister or a commercial product.
Normal spray bottles were designed for water and other lightweight liquids, rather than canola oil, which is denser. You can put canola oil in one of these spray bottles, but the oil will likely come out in a stream, rather than a mist. If you want to drizzle oil on a salad, the spray bottle will work fine. If you're trying to coat saute pans or baking pans, you'll probably be disappointed with the results. Although combining canola oil with water in the spray bottle would lighten it, this practice isn't recommended because the water will interfere with browning and may also introduce bacteria into the oil.
Food safety is another issue worth considering when storing canola oil in a spray bottle. When stored unopened in a dry, dark place, canola oil lasts for up to two years without becoming rancid -- the same amount of time as cans of spray oil. Once opened, it becomes rancid more quickly -- especially if stored in a warm cupboard or on a kitchen counter. Harmful bacteria can grow when garlic, herbs and flavorings are added to canola oil. If you decide to store canola oil in a spray bottle, wash the bottle first in hot, soapy water and rinse it thoroughly. You may even want to sterilize the container by simmering it in hot water for 10 minutes. Don't add garlic or herbs and store the oil in a dark, cool location. To ensure maximum freshness and safety, use a small spray bottle and fill it no more than two-thirds full of canola oil. Use fresh canola oil that has no off odor or bitter taste. When prepared this way, you'll likely use the canola oil before it can become rancid.
A one-second shot of canola oil from a spray bottle comes with about 10 calories -- the same number of calories you'd find in a teaspoon of oil, which is enough to coat a pan. You probably won't save calories by switching to a spray bottle, but you might save money over buying cans of spray oil. Spray bottles cost about 9 cents per ounce to refill, while cans of spray oil typically cost 60 cents per ounce. You'll also have the satisfaction of knowing you're using a reusable product that's free of the hydrocarbon propellents used in cans of spray oil.
If you like the idea of using a spray bottle for distributing canola oil, but find the results unimpressive, try using a mister designed for oil instead. Misters are designed to deliver a fine mist of cooking oil, rather than a stream. Look for misters that are easy to clean and that don't clog.
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