Is It Safe To Cook With Olive Oil?

fats & oils

If there is one thing that divides the room rapidly, it is the subject of cooking with olive oil. Mention this on social media and it is as close to inciting rioting as you can get. I have been on the receiving end of the hysteria several times.

The thing is, Extra Virgin Olive Oil is one of the single best choices for cooking. This is my reasoning. 


Addressing the Smoke Point Paradox

Let's cut through the fog surrounding the smoke point debate. The smoke point, the temperature at which oil starts smoking and breaking down, is a crucial determinant of its cooking appropriateness. EVOO has been mistakenly labeled as having a low smoke point, thus unfit for heat. But here's the twist: EVOO's smoke point ranges between 190-220°C (375-430°F), comfortably enveloping the needs of most cooking methods like sautéing and baking. This revelation places EVOO on par, if not above, many oils commonly used in kitchens.

The story behind EVOO's misunderstood smoke point involves a blend of chemical composition and processing methods. Its rich content of monounsaturated fats gifts EVOO with stability, making it resilient to heat compared to its polyunsaturated-laden counterparts. Additionally, EVOO's extraction through first cold pressing preserves its natural antioxidants, boosting its heat tolerance.


Polyphenols: EVOO's Secret Guardians

EVOO isn't just about taste; it's a powerhouse of polyphenols. These natural antioxidants are key players in the oil's cooking story. During the heating dance, polyphenols in EVOO do more than just protect the oil; they wage war against free radicals – those unstable atoms notorious for cell damage and chronic diseases.

Cooking oils, when heated, often become staging grounds for free radicals. But EVOO, armed with polyphenols, is different. These compounds neutralise free radicals, drastically reducing potential harm and making EVOO a healthier choice for cooking.


Beyond Myths: EVOO in the Kitchen

In culinary circles, EVOO is a celebrated ingredient. Its rich spectrum of flavours, from fruity to peppery, adds a unique dimension to dishes. Its versatility extends beyond dressings and cold dishes; it's a worthy companion for various cooking methods. The synergy of flavour enhancement and nutritional benefits makes EVOO a coveted item in chefs' arsenals worldwide.


Embracing EVOO: A Culinary and Healthful Choice

In conclusion, EVOO's reputation as unsuitable for cooking is a myth born from misunderstanding. Its high smoke point and polyphenol content make it not only safe but also beneficial for cooking. By choosing EVOO, we're not just selecting an oil; we're embracing a blend of culinary excellence and health. As our understanding of food and wellness deepens, EVOO stands out as a symbol of the delightful marriage between taste and health.


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