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Have You Embraced EVOO Yet?

Nov. 27, 2014|394 views
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Are you still cooking with corn oil? Do you still default to canola whenever a recipe calls for vegetable oil? Think sunflower is a better alternative? What about frying? I’m not a fan of frying in oil. But I’m a pragmatist. I know that many Americans still fry foods in oil.

If you’re still using generic “seed oils,” I strongly recommend that you make the switch to olive oil. I know, I know. You’ve been taught that olive oil has a low smoke point. It’s good for salad dressing, but it’s inadequate for high-temperature cooking.

Except that it isn’t.

In fact, according to recently published research, olive oil is actually a better choice than many “superior” cooking oils, such as soybean oil, sunflower oil, or corn oil. That’s because every oil is different, offering various physical, chemical and nutritional properties. These properties determine how well an oil holds up under high-temperature cooking conditions. Some oils begin to break down fairly quickly, yielding potentially toxic new components, which can get into food. These by-products can degrade the nutritional value of the food being fried.

Despite it’s reputation for being delicate, olive oil held up best of all in simple potato-frying experiments conducted with a variety of oils. Olive oil was the most stable of four different types of cooking oil when it came to high-temperature deep frying. Even after ten repeated uses, it retained its quality and nutrition better than “seed oils” such as sunflower (which degraded the fastest), corn, or soybean oils.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: extra virgin olive oil is the foundational oil of the extremely healthful Mediterranean diet. It’s all you’ll ever need to stock in your pantry.     

Akram Zribi, Hazem Jabeur, Felix Aladedunye, Ahmed Rebai, Bertrand Matthäus, Mohamed Bouaziz. Monitoring of Quality and Stability Characteristics and Fatty Acid Compositions of Refined Olive and Seed Oils during Repeated Pan- and Deep-Frying Using GC, FT-NIRS, and Chemometrics. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2014; 62 (42): 10357 DOI: 10.1021/jf503146f