1. Fats are present in meats, poultry, fish, eggs, milk products, nuts, whole grains, and, to a lesser extent, vegetables and fruits. Fats are also important as cooking mediums, as for frying.
2. Fats can be either solid or liquid at room temperature. Liquid fats are called oils. When solid fats are heated, they melt, or change from solid to liquid.The melting point of solid fats varies.
3. When fats are heated, they begin to break down.When hot enough, they deteriorate rapidly and begin to smoke.The temperature at which this happens is called the smoke point, and it varies by type of fat.A stable fat—one with a high smoke point—is an important consideration in deep-fat frying.
4. Many flavor compounds dissolve in fat, so fats are important carriers of flavor. When fats melt and are lost from food, some flavors, as well as some vitamins, are lost with them.
5. For the functions of fats in baked goods, see page 899.
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