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Exploring Culinary Wonders: Can You Cook with EVOO?

ABSOLUTELY! Many think you can't cook with EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) at high heat because it might start smoking. It is just a popular myth that's not really true! Let's clear that up: EVOO is actually not only safe and possible for cooking but is also highly recommended due to its unique composition and properties and is the healthiest too!

cooking with extra virgin olive oil

Here's why you can confidently use EVOO in your cooking:

1. High Smoke Point:

Despite common misconceptions, Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a higher smoke point than most people think. While it's true that it has a lower smoke point compared to some other oils like canola or grapeseed oil, it still ranges between 375°F to 405°F (190°C to 207°C), depending on its quality and purity. This makes it perfectly suitable for a variety of cooking methods such as sautéing, roasting, and even light frying.

2. Monounsaturated Fats:

EVOO is primarily composed of monounsaturated fats, which remain stable under heat. Even better, these fats are less prone to oxidation and degradation compared to polyunsaturated fats found in oils like vegetable or seed oils. Cooking with monounsaturated fats can help maintain the nutritional integrity of your dishes while imparting a rich, savory flavor.

3. Flavor Enhancement:

One of the key reasons chefs love cooking with EVOO is its ability to enhance the flavors of dishes. Its fruity, aromatic profile adds depth and complexity to both simple and complex recipes. Whether you're cooking a dish, drizzling it over a salad, using it in a marinade, or as finishing, it brings a distinctive taste that elevates the overall culinary experience.

4. Health Benefits:

Beyond its culinary prowess, EVOO offers numerous health benefits. It is rich in antioxidants, particularly vitamin E and phenolic compounds, which help reduce inflammation and protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Additionally, EVOO has been linked to lower rates of cardiovascular diseases, improved cholesterol levels, and better overall heart health when consumed as part of a balanced diet.

5. Culinary Versatility:

From delicate salad dressings to hearty stews, EVOO's versatility knows no bounds. Its mild yet robust flavor profile makes it suitable for a wide range of cuisines and cooking styles. Whether you're cooking Mediterranean-inspired dishes, Asian stir-fries, or classic comfort foods, EVOO can seamlessly integrate into your culinary repertoire.

cooking with extra virgin olive oil

Let's learn about some interesting facts :)


Understanding the Smoke Point:

Ever heard of the smoke point of oils? It's the temperature at which they start smoking. People used to rely on it to know if an oil was good for cooking. But guess what? There isn't much proof that it's super reliable. Also, the smoke point is tested in labs, not kitchens. Real cooking can change things up.


Busting the Myth about Smoke Point:

Recent research shows smoke point is not the best way to judge how an oil handles heat. Instead, scientists look at things like the type of fats in the oil and how stable it is.

In one study, researchers heated up 10 common cooking oils, including EVOO, to different temperatures. They found that EVOO was the most stable, even though its smoke point isn't the highest. Meanwhile, oils with higher smoke points actually formed more potentially harmful compounds when heated. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924224422000693


Predictors of Stability:

Now that we know smoke points aren't the whole story, what should we focus on when picking an oil for cooking? Well, research says antioxidants, fat profile, and how much an oil has been processed are key.

1. Antioxidant level:

Antioxidants protect the oil from oxidation so the more antioxidants in an oil the less likely it is to break down. EVOO contains the highest level of natural antioxidants than any other cooking oils.

2. Fat Profile:

All cooking oils are made up of different fatty acids, and these fats react differently to heat. Polyunsaturated fats are much more prone to oxidizing, making them far less stable at high temperatures. On the contrary, monounsaturated fats, like the ones in EVOO, are more stable at high temperatures. EVOO is high in monounsaturated fats (around 65%) and low in polyunsaturated fats (around 8%), making it a highly stable oil.

3. Levels of Refining:

Lots of cooking oils, like canola and sunflower oil, go through refining when they're made. This refining can expose the oil to high heat and chemicals, which isn't great. It can strip away the natural antioxidants in the oil, making it easier to spoil. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) takes a different path. It's not refined and only goes through mechanical methods during processing. That means no high heat or chemicals are used, keeping the natural antioxidants intact.


Knowledge is Power!

Next time, when you're reaching for that bottle of cooking oil, just remember: it's about more than just the smoke point. Look for antioxidants, good fats, and minimal processing for the healthiest and most stable option. Cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil is not only possible but also highly beneficial. Its high smoke point, stability under heat, flavor-enhancing properties, health benefits, and culinary versatility make it a beloved staple in kitchens around the world. Please note that it is important to get a good-quality oil because, otherwise, you're not going to get the health benefits. The low-quality, mass-produced oil, it is not going to have a lot of these polyphenol compounds, the healthy part of olive oil. So go ahead, drizzle, sauté, roast, and fry with confidence and let EVOO elevate your dishes to new heights of flavor and nutrition. Buon Appetito!


Need some help in finding authentic, good quality, 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

Our Frantoio Gentili Olive Oil is a perfect option, and is ideal for cooking because of its more gentle and balanced flavors. But of course, cooking is all about your taste, some may like it spicier or more intense. You can visit our website for all our selection and variety of best quality, 100% extra virgin olive oils, made in Italy.



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