Today, more and more top quality restaurants worldwide, embrace the basic elements of the Mediterranean Diet and serve bread with a small size bottle of extra virgin olive oil and olive paste, in substitution of butter that was practiced in the past. Olive oil part of the Mediterranean diet lifestyle, and many people acknowledge that the extra virgin olive oil has important health benefits that makes it suitable for everyday cooking.
Let’s begin with what is Olive oil and how it is produced
Olive oil, is the juice of the olives extracted by pressing the fresh olives i.e., the fruit of the olive tree. The process is quite simple by pressing the olives, the oil juice comes out, and the quality of the olive oil relies soley on the extraction method (cold or heat extraction). However, not all companies adopt the same process, while some may lower the quality of the olive oil by using chemicals and/or diluted with other cheaper types of oils.
The superior type of olive oil in the market today, is the extra virgin, it is the highest grade and it’s the only one I recommend for cooking. Extracted using only natural methods, that is why the extra virgin olive oil has a distinctive taste and flavor, and because the olive oil is high in antioxidants and Vitamin E, it’s a natural protection from oxidative damage.
The Healthiest oil for cooking and frying
Its role in the Mediterranean gastronomy
Olive oil is the main fat of the Mediterranean diet used everyday in cooking recipes for meat, fish, casseroles, pasta, cakes, pastries, in marinades, deep-frying, searing, sauting, poaching
Olive oil is more stable and healthful than seed oils for frying food and excellent for sauting fresh vegetables, and the best way to use all your veggies from your fridge, is to wash and place them in a large pan, drizzle them with extra virgin olive oil to saut, until tender and enjoy.* source The Journal of the American Chemical Society
Ideal frying temperatures
Olive oil is long recognized for its high percentage of monounsaturated fat. It contains 70-85% of its fat in the form of oleic acid a monounsaturated, omega-9 fatty acid. When heated the olive oil stands up well to high frying temperatures. Its high smoking point of 210º C is well above the ideal frying temperature of 180º – 190º C. The digestibility of olive oil is not affected when heated even when frying several times.
|Foods you can fry in olive oil||Temperature Range|
|High water content food, vegetables, potatoes, fruits
Batter coated, floured or breadcrumbs to form a crust
Quickly fried food, small fish, croquettes
|Medium from 130 – 145º C
Hot from 155 – 170º C
Very hot from 175 – 190º C
Myths about cooking with olive oil
Should I cook with Olive oil?
Yes, olive oil withstands the heat of the fryer or pan better. Researchers used raw potato in deep and pan fried with 4 different refined oils i.e., olive, corn, soybean and sunflower and re-used the oil 10 times. They found that the olive oil was the most stable for deep frying at 175-190º C, while sunflower oil degraded the fastest at 180º C degrees. Conclusion, frying foods with olive oil maintains quality and nutrition better than other seed oils.
* source American Chemical Society
Should I use EVOO only in salads
No, fresh, high-quality olive oil has a high smoke point, so its ideal to cook and fry food with the freshest oil * source American Chemical Society
Does frying food with olive oil lower their nutritional value
No. New study states that vegetables fried in extra virgin olive oil have more beneficial properties than their boiled counterparts. * source Science direct
Is olive oil labelled Pure the best
By the term “pure” it means a blend of refined and virgin oils, a lower grade olive oil and refined simply means the process by which an inferior type of olive oil is made edible.
Should I store my olive oil in a counter
No. Olive oil oxidizes in light, store it in a dark area
TIPS on how to choose your olive oil
Buy in dark glass bottles, olive oil is extremely sensitive to heat and light
Buy based on price tag, just like a good wine, authentic extra virgin olive oil costs a bit more
Buy by reading the label, states origin, the variety, the harvest date, and if BIO, PDO or PGI that endorse a high-quality olive oil produced.
Now that you have learned that you can fry with extra virgin olive oil and that it’s suitable for everyday cooking, it’s time to switch your other oil and enjoy cooking with extra virgin olive oil.* source National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine
ENJOY and cook “healthy” with Greek extra virgin oil