Olive Oil Cooking Myths: It's Time To Bust Them
Image Credit: Olive oil, Pexels

One of the most common myths many people carry is that olive oil becomes unhealthy when it comes in contact with high temperatures. In short, it is not an ideal cooking oil. However, this belief is somehow contradicted by food experts and scientists worldwide. They highly recommend using olive oil for preparing food and deep frying! Studies do not support the perception that extra virgin olive oil should never be used in high-temperature frying. 

As per the specialists, olive oil is the most stable fat when heated. This implies it can withstand high frying temperatures. Its high smoke point (410oF) 210oC is far higher than the optimal temperature for frying food (356oF) 180oC.  Olive oil's digestibility is undisturbed by heat, even when it is reused for frying numerous times. The best part, olive oil can be reused a few times without spoiling the taste of regular domestic cooking. 

How good is the extra virgin olive oil for frying?

Deep frying, Image Source: Pexels

Refined olive oils labelled as 'Pure' or 'Light' is most likely a more economical option in deep frying because they begin to smoke at a higher temperature than most extra virgin olive oils. Factually the oil with a lower FFA or Free Fatty Acid starts to smoke at a higher temperature. Thus, if you invest in high-quality oil with an FFA of less than 0.2%, it will begin to smoke at a temperature around 20C higher than your regular cooking oil. That's a great deal in culinary terms.

Is it safe to reuse olive oil?

As discussed earlier, extra virgin olive oils can be reused more than once. But like many other cooking oils, the extra virgin olive oil also loses some of its aroma, essence, freshness, therapeutic polyphenols, and tocopherol each time it's heated and cooled.

Does heat encourage trans-fat formation in olive oils?

High smoking point, Image Source: Pexels

Of course not! Trans fats form when any edible oil is processed through hydrogenation. It is an industrial process designed to turn liquid oil into an edible fat solid at room temperature – margarine. Practically, the hydrogenation process just can't happen in your kitchen. The maximum amount of Trans fats in the average person's diet comes from fast foods, cheap kinds of margarine or commercial baked products and crackers.

Storing tip: Since it is sunlight sensitive, store olive oil in a cool, dry place in a tinted bottle.