There are a wide variety of oils in a grocery store and some can blend in. At times its appears best to pick up which ever one is closest to your hand. This is a quick explanation of 5 common oils that are used in recipes and found in a variety of super markets and grocery stores. Each oil has a different shelf life and nutritional value so it is best to check with the manufacturers proper storage.
Shortening (a solid oil made from hydrogenated vegetable oils sometimes flavored with artificial butter), canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, and vegetable oil. Shortening is a white, solid type of oil, similar solidity to butter but does not have the water content that butter has. Shortening is also flavorless but purchased of butter flavored shortening for example is available. Shortening can be used in large quantities to deep fry foods like chicken and in small quantities to prepare dishes like biscuits, cakes, pie crust, and tamales for example. Shortening is a solid at room temperature and when heated up just a little bit turns into a liquid.
Canola oil and Vegetable Oil
Canola oil is the most preferred oil to cook with because of its wide range of use in the kitchen and lack of flavor. Canola oil is very similar to vegetable oil. Vegetable oil ingredient is soybean oil but because soybeans are a type of vegetable it is okay for companies to label it as an ingredient for vegetable oil. The difference with these two oils is the prolonged use of frying. Canola oil last longer than vegetable oil when deep frying foods but are interchangeable with any recipe and cooking method. Some cake recipes will call for the use of vegetable or canola oil. It is a good oil to use for marinades, salad dressings because of its consistency and unnoticeable flavor.
Olive oil is a popular cooking oil and if the taste is unpalatable, buy light olive oil. Olive oil adds a hint of flavor when used in salad dressings, light marinades, and seasoning foods. Olive oil is thick, heavy compared to the lightness of shortening. Olive oil can also be used by itself on a salad to bring the ingredients together. Bread dipped in olive oil has a very nice taste with the option to sprinkle with salt, pepper, and/ or herbs.
Peanut oil is a light tasting oil and available with different levels of peanut flavor. This oil is best used to fry foods and adds a nice nutty, but not overpowering flavor. Try deep frying a whole turkey in peanut oil and it will give it a nice aroma. Do not give or serve peanut oil to anyone with peanut and tree nut allergies because it will cause an allergic reaction despite there not being any visible peanuts.
All of these oils are great oils to cook with while some are more suitable for certain recipes and dishes than others. Follow the directions on a recipe before experimenting before getting to hasty to try something new. If there is no other choice to substitute one oil for another, it is best to contact the author of the recipe being used or another person who is more familiar with the recipe so there is no waste of ingredients and disappointment.