Can we use Olive oil for cooking or frying?
So many believe that high heat would damage the beneficial properties of olive oil and that will change a good and healthy oil to an unhealthy one. However, this belief is not consistent with Mediterranean cuisine and number of credential researches out there.
Some cooking oils and fats will reach what is referred to as the smoking point before reaching temperatures required for a good fry. The smoking point is the temperature at which a chemical change takes place resulting in undesirable smoke and flavor. Olive oil is not one of them. The smoking point of extra virgin olive oil is somewhere between 380 and 410 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the impurities and acid content of the olive oil: the better the quality, the higher the smoking point. So, it appears that the smoking point of olive oil is well above the temperature required.Dr. Mary Enig, author of Know Your Fats, is one of America’s foremost experts on healthy fats and oils.
Also quoted from The International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) on the maximum temperature with Olive oil:
“When heated, olive oil is the most stable fat, which means it stands up well to high frying temperatures. Its high smoke point (410ºF) 210ºC is well above the ideal temperature for frying food (356ºF) 180ºC. The digestibility of olive oil is not affected when it is heated, even when it is re-used several times for frying.”
Mary Gertrude Enig, Ph.D., the author of Know Your Fats, was a nutritionist and researcher known for her unconventional positions on the role saturated fats play in diet and health.
She recommends her own personal blend of oils including using olive oil for cooking. She states:
“A unique blend of oils that can be used for sautéing and light frying is one that is a blend of coconut oil (one-third), sesame oil (one-third), and olive oil (one-third). It is easy to make up in small portions ranging from a single tablespoon measure (one teaspoon of each oil) to a pint and a half size (one cup of each oil).”
Richard Gawel, an internationally known olive oil expert, also recommends the use of olive oil for cooking. He is suggested to use refined Olive oils (those labeled as “Pure” or “Light”) are more cost effective and hence more suitable for frying.