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Bleaching palm oil is a process that involves heating up palm oil until it becomes translucent. Even though it is considered a necessary skill in Nigerian cooking,  a lot of people don’t know how to bleach palm oil. Them dey try oh! But their efforts always fall short of the mark. Thus, for the benefit of those wey no sabi,  bleached oil looks a bit like vegetable oil. If bleaching is done well, the palm oil will add a distinct taste to native delicacies like ayamese sauce, obe ata iru, native jollof rice, amongst others. I’ve piqued your interest abi?  Oya sit and read on. The following tips will help you do a proper job of bleaching palm oil:4
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Use Clean Stainless Steel pots or Aluminium Pots

The best pot for bleaching palm oil is a stainless steel pot or aluminium pot. Please, do not use non-stick pots or enamel pots for bleaching palm oil. It’s also pertinent to mention at this point that the lid is just as important as the pot when bleaching palm oil. Please, ensure the pot you’re using has a tight-fitting cover; this will prevent an accident.

Use Good Palm Oil

Repeat after me, a sick tree cannot bear healthy fruits. In the same vein,  bad palm oil will not give you a great result when you are done bleaching. The end result will only be as good as the starting point. Therefore, if you want to bleach, use the best quality oil that you can find.

Use a Well Ventilated Area

Bleaching is a smoky affair. So, turn off your smoke alarm if you have one. Having said that, if you don’t want to choke your family members to death or trigger asthma attacks in a patient, then, don’t bleach in a stuffy place. If you’re not outdoor, make sure the windows and doors are open. The cross ventilation will prevent your home from smoking up.
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Monitor the Process Closely

Bleaching palm oil is potentially dangerous. The pot should not be left unattended as its content may catch fire if overheated. Thus, bleach when you’re not distracted. Don’t start daydreaming when palm oil is on fire oh! Dream first, if you must and bleach the oil later. If you’re engrossed in a book or a tv programme, nwanne, finish that one first. I know why I’m saying this oh! Don’t allow the devil to use you to burn your landlord’s house. I’ve said my own.

Bleach More Palm Oil than you Need

As has already been mentioned,  bleaching is a smoky affair. So, it doesn’t make sense to do it every few days. Your best bet would be to bleach a substantial amount of palm oil; that way,  you’d have leftover to store up for later use. 

Use Low Heat

It’s advisable to bleach palm oil with low heat. That way, it won’t get burnt quickly.  The chances of it turning black when you’re done with the process are also reduced.  Allow the Oil to Cool Down First before Use: Bleaching is usually done when people want to cook a local delicacy that calls for the unique taste of bleached palm oil. It must, however, be mentioned that the oil needs to cool down first before other ingredients can be added to it. This will prevent hot oil from splashing on you. It will also prevent your food from burning due to high temperature. Thus, if you are in a hurry to finish cooking, bleach your palm oil at least thirty minutes before you are ready to cook; that way, you’ll give the oil at least twenty minutes to cool down before use. Now that you have learnt how to bleach palm oil, go ahead and cook the native delicacy of your choice and enjoy the smoky taste that bleached palm oil will add to it. Sources: Kitchen Butterfly Afri Food Network Featured image source: Flickr
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This article was first published on 11th September 2020 and updated on October 24th, 2020 at 10:05 pm


Udevi, Obiamaka Angela holds a Master of Arts degree in History & International Studies. She's a freelance writer with a passion for food and healthy living. She can be contacted through her email address,

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