Oils for cooking are a must-have in any home. However, there is a great deal of incongruity in the data concerning the safety of each option. How can we decide which oil to use, if any, and whether we should avoid any of the dozens of varieties available, from coconut to olive to vegetable to canola to rapeseed oil?
A diet rich in olive oil has many health benefits. Some of the world’s healthiest populations rely on it as a staple food because of its high concentration of essential fatty acids and potent antioxidants.
However, many consider it unfit for cooking due to its unsaturated fat level. Some say it’s not good for cooking at all, while others insist it’s great for frying and other high-temperature procedures.
This article discusses whether or not you should use olive oil in the kitchen.
Table of Contents
Is Olive Oil Healthy For My Cooking?
Numerous authorities hold that fats and oils undergo fundamental changes when subjected to high temperatures. The smoke point of olive oil is particularly low, ranging only from 365° to 420° F.
When an oil reaches its smoking point, it begins to release smoke. Olive oil’s beneficial chemicals, such as polyphenols, are converted into olive oil’s toxic compounds when heated past its smoke point.
Olive oil isn’t the best choice for high-temperature frying, but it works well for slow cooking when its nutrients remain intact.
What kind of olive oil is ideal for use in the kitchen?
Knowing the differences between the different grades of olive depending on how they are extracted and processed is vital even for low-heat cooking. Extra-virgin olive oil is the best, followed by virgin olive oil and refined olive oil.
According to the available data, the smoke point of extra virgin olive oil is 376 degrees Fahrenheit, which is quite high. Consequently, you can use it for frying and other similar culinary methods without worry.
There is some evidence that pan-frying tomatoes, onions, and garlic in olive oil increases the bioavailability of antioxidants such as carotenoids and polyphenols in these foods.
When to Use Olive Oil?
To make salad dressing or to sauté veggies over medium heat, olive oil is a great choice. You can really taste it, therefore use it in recipes where you want to taste it, such as drizzling it over steamed veggies, soup, or bread. Olive oil is excellent for cooking since it contains more monounsaturated fat than other oils.
When to Avoid Olive Oil?
If you plan on using a really hot stovetop, olive oil is not the best choice. Olive oil’s smoke point (the temperature at which an oil begins to smoke) is lower than that of several other oils (it ranges from 365° to 420°F). Olive oil’s beneficial components break down and other, potentially harmful chemicals emerge when heated past its smoke point.
What to Use Instead of Olive Oil
However, canola oil is better suited for high-temperature cooking (such as roasting vegetables or sautéing) due to its higher smoke point. It has a mild taste and is rich in alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that is good for your heart.
Compared to olive oil, canola oil is more affordable, making it a viable choice for those looking to save money at the supermarket. However, most canola oil produced in the United States is derived from genetically modified canola seeds, thus opting for organic canola oil may be preferable for those who are concerned about this.
Due to its high smoke point, peanut oil is also suitable for use in high-temperature preparations like stir-frying. Avocado, macadamia nut, tea, and almond oils are also good mono-rich options for daily use, but they are more expensive.
Tips to Use Olive Oil for Cooking
When using olive oil in the kitchen, I like to do a couple of things.
First, avoid overheating the olive oil as much as you can for the greatest flavor. To get the oil shimmering but not smoking, I usually say to heat it to about 375 degrees. As the oil begins to move, a faint sheen may appear on the surface and tiny bubbles will begin to form below. The air could be so hot that steam would appear. You don’t need to heat the oil any further; it’s ready to use in cooking.
Second, a splatter guard or screen is a need. Oil may start to splatter if you’re working with substances that have water on them. Invest in splatter protection to prevent injury and oil stains on your clothing. They are a safe and convenient way to cook with olive oil, and they come in a variety of sizes to fit your pans.
In conclusion, when it comes to cooking with olive oil, use it sparingly. Olive oil has many amazing qualities, but if used too often, it will become rancid over time. Limit your consumption to a few tablespoons per week to avoid this problem. And remember: always cook with fresh ingredients whenever possible.
Meet our air fryer recipe expert, Jenny J. Brown. Jenny is a culinary enthusiast with a passion for creating healthy, delicious meals using the latest kitchen appliances. As an experienced home cook and food blogger, Jenny has spent years experimenting with air fryer recipes and perfecting her techniques to create meals that are both nutritious and satisfying.