Cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
It’s a common myth that it’s not a good idea to cook with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. We read about this almost daily and it frustrates us hugely, so that’s a good enough reason to dig up some facts for you.
With our busy lives, it’s easy to try to cook too quickly at high heats and this has a real risk that we will burn our food, particularly if you cook with gas. However, the smoke point of EVOO is extremely high – we’ve tested this ourselves a number of times and for EVOO of the quality we work with, it always comes in around 207°C (405°F). It would be very rare that you would exceed this temperature either roasting, sautéing, frying or baking, so you need not worry.
In addition to this however, the smoke point is not the only consideration, a further concern is the stability of the oil during cooking and research has shown that even oils such as avocado oil (with a very high smoke point) are less stable than EVOO when heated*. Dr Simon Poole recently stated in an interview with the Olive Oil Times: “This research provides unequivocal and definitive evidence that should finally dispel the myth. It shows that extra virgin olive oil is not only safe during heating at regular cooking temperatures, but is the desirable cooking oil when compared with others. The production of potentially harmful polar compounds and trans fats was markedly lower in EVOO.”
Also worth knowing, the antioxidant level in EVOO remains the highest of all oils during cooking and it has also been shown that it can improve the nutritional content of the ingredients you are cooking.
So don’t be afraid to use your EVOO liberally either raw or for cooking – you really can’t go wrong.
* Research conducted by the Modern Olives Laboratory Services, Australia https://actascientific.com/ASNH/pdf/ASNH-02-0083.pdf