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Cooking And Compare With Olive Oil? – Oh, yes you can!!

Here is a short statement from The International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) - these guys tell us what's what, well sometimes anyway; they do have some good information!
When heated, olive oil is a stable fat, it stands up well to high frying temperatures. It's high smoking point (210º C) is well above the ideal temperature for frying food (180º C). Also, the digestibility of olive oil is not affected when it is heated, even when it is re-used several times for frying.
Medium (130–145ºC) High water content: vegetables, potatoes, fruit, etc.
Hot (155–170ºC) Coated items in flour or breadcrumbs, i.e. onion rings
Very hot (175–190ºC) Small items, quickly fried i.e. squid, small fish, croquettes, etc.


because olive oil has a high smoke point, and does not degrade as quickly as many other oils do with repeated high heating, you can use fresh extra virgin olive oil mixed with a variety of healthy vegetable oils when preparing food and compare the olive oil benefits, take in the health benefits and wonderful Mediterranean flavour.
Compare the benefits of fresh olive oil that has been used for thousands of years and is one of the cornerstones of the healthy Mediterranean diet:

Myth: Olive oil loses its benefits when heated.

Fact: Excessively heating olive oil will evaporate the alcohols and esters, which make up its delicate taste and fragrance. Heating olive oil will not change its health aspects, only the flavour. Use a cheaper olive oil, which does not have much flavour to begin with if you want to fry with it, add a more flavourful olive oil after cooking or at the table.

Myth: Heating cooking oil will make it saturated or a trans fat oil.

Fact: As far as making a saturated fat, according to Dr. A. Kiritsakis, a world renowned oil chemist in Athens, (Book - OLIVE OIL FROM THE TREE TO THE TABLE -Second edition 1998), all oils will oxidize and hydrogenate to a tiny degree if repeatedly heated to very high temperatures such as is done in commercial frying operations. Olive pomace oil and virgin olive oil are both highly monounsaturated oils and therefore resistant to oxidation and hydrogenation. Studies have shown oxidation and hydrogenation occurs to a lesser degree in olive oil than in other oils. In any case, the amount of hydrogenation is miniscule and no home cook would ever experience this problem.

Large refinery factories which take unsaturated vegetable oil and turn it into margarine or vegetable lard do so by bubbling hydrogen gas through 120°C to 400°C vegetable oil in the presence of a metal catalyst, usually nickel or platinum. The process can take several hours. You cannot make a saturated product like margarine at home by heating olive oil or any other vegetable oil in a pan!

Myth: Cooking in olive oil diminishes the nutritional value of the food.

Fact: Heating food will break down its nutritional value. High heat such as frying is worse than moderate heat such as steaming, which is worse than eating vegetables raw. It is not the cooking oil, but the high heat of frying. We are not aware of any edible cooking oil that diminishes the nutritional value of the food cooked in it. Most nutritionists recommend lightly steaming vegetables or eating them raw. A touch of a flavoursome olive oil added at the table will add taste and healthful anti-oxidants. Such is the "Mediterranean diet" which has been shown to help prevent coronary disease and have other health benefits.

Compare the benefits of olive oil, a few questions:

Peter Asks: Can I deep fry croquettes in olive oil without an undesirable taste? Is it healthy? If it the answer is yes, why is there so little information publicised and why don't the fast food restaurants use it?

Trail Master replies: Fast food restaurants will never use olive oil; it is just too expensive compared to seed oils such as canola, safflower, etc.
Olive pomace oil is often recommended for frying because it is cheaper than virgin olive oil. Olive pomace oil and virgin olive oil are both high monounsaturated oils and therefore resistant to oxidation (rancidity).

Jane asks: What is the boiling point of olive oil?

The Trail Master replies: The boiling point of olive oil (299°C / 570°F) is much higher than the smoking point ( 191-210°C / 375-410°F) and would be a very dangerous temperature to try to achieve on a home stove. It would certainly ruin the oil and would be close to the flash or fire point (around 316°C / 600°F) and the danger of fire would be enormous. (Deep-frying the oil "bubbling" is the water in the batter or food boiling, not the oil!)

Robin asks: Does cooking oil evaporate?

Trail Masters reply: Volatile oils will evaporate in a few days or weeks, "fixed" oils are more resistant to evaporation. Most vegetable cooking oils are classified as fixed oils. However, if you set out a container of most cooking oils, it would partially evaporate very slowly over months to years leaving a sticky coating. You can see this coating on the sides of saucepans and baking trays where the process has been speeded up by heat.

Linda asks: A friend used cold pressed olive oil to roast and fry certain pieces of meat and it has damaged his non-stick fry pan.
Reply: Any oil if heated excessively will leave a coating on a pan. For example, linseed oil was the primary ingredient in tough paints and finishes used on furniture, etc. Through away your non-stick pan and build up your own "patina" on a good stainless steel pan.

Question: Which is better for your health, Extra Virgin, Virgin, or plain olive oil?

Answer: The difference between the olive oils you listed is their acidity level, which affects mostly taste, not nutritional content. Lower acidity oils, such as extra virgin, tend to have more anti-oxidants, but that is not reflected in their classification. Anti-oxidants in olive oil may help prevent heart disease and cancer so sticking with extra virgin seems to make sense. Pomace olive oil is processed with hexane and other solvents just as most seed oils like canola, corn, safflower, soy, etc. - ugh! This removes many of the minor constituents, which may be the healthiest part of fresh olive oil.

Kevin asks: Why is there a conversion chart for butter/margarine to olive oil? Do you do that for all cooking recipes?

The Trail Master replies: The conversion chart is more for cake and pastry recipes where quantities are critical. You cannot convert all recipes from solid shortening (butter/margarine) to liquid shortening (olive oil/vegetable oil). For instance, a cake frosting must stay solid at room temperature so a quick frosting made with butter and powdered sugar would work, olive oil and powdered sugar would not.

Then there is the taste. A mild tasting late harvest olive oil would probably work OK in most cake and pastry recipes because cooking will get rid of the aromatic olive oil flavours. Uncooked confections such as the cake frosting would taste more than a bit unusual if made with olive oil. Taste your oil first - tere are over 48 varities - here a varity called "mission" would work well!!

For most main course dishes where margarine or butter is being used for frying or sauteing, olive oil could be readily substituted. In olive oil producing countries the flavours of olive oil and butter/margarine are used to enhance each other in some recipes. Avoid heavy, Italian "Tuscan" style oils.

Peter asks: Does olive oil have Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)?

Dear Peter: Many foods naturally contain small quantities of PAHs. It is not good to eat foods high in PAHs as some studies connect them with cancer. Olive oil, like all other vegetable cooking oils, has been found to contain minute amounts of up to 17 PAHs such as benzanthracene and chrysene. Unripe olives tended to have more than ripe olives. Burning any cooking oil can increase the amounts of PAHs. This is not considered a major risk source in the diet and the oil would have to be heated repeatedly and for extended periods to the smoking point. It is unlikely that in home use olive oil or other cooking oils would be a significant source of PAHs.

Joan asks: What is the best way to store olive oil?

Dear Joan: Buy small amounts and use within 12 weeks of opening do not hide and forget - A cool dark place around 15°C is good - not the fridge!!

Sheila inquires: I am in Australia, and have been given a one-litre bottle of olive oil, but unfortunately, it is very rancid and I cannot use it for cooking. I there any way I can filter this oil so it becomes usable?

Trail Master replies: Olive oil must be chemically refined to correct rancidity. It is not a matter of filtering. Throw it away and buy yourself a nice fresh olive oil. It is only good for a short period, really fresh less than three months and at best a year; be generous with it in your cooking, use it up and buy smaller amounts more regularly. Your harvest is as early as April and can go on for a few months - make sure you get the crop, check the label for the harvest date. Your rancid oil can be mixed with a few garden herbs, like rosemary, etc and put on untreated wood as a conditioner. Even with careful mixing a fabulous hair and body oil!! Compare olive oils if you can, when buying.

A web visitor asked us : Is it possible to make olive oil hard for spreading, like margarine?

Must be crazy to do this but here goes, try 500g of butter to 1.5 cups of fresh quality olive oil. Use sweet light-flavoured oil; otherwise, the oil may overwhelm the butter taste.

Soften the butter in a food processor then drizzle in the olive oil. When it is all completely blended, it will be quite pourable. Pour it into 500ml containers cover, then store them in the fridge. When cold it is quite hard.

Try adding some milk to make it go a bit further - up to 1/4 cup for this quantity.

Barry asks: I make large batches of pesto and was wondering if I could freeze it and have it return to its original consistency.

Trail Master replies: Freezing pesto is the best way to preserve it. Freezing olive oil will not harm it; or it must be said improve it, but it will actually prolong its life, better to buy fresh frequently!!

That’s all for now.