For centuries, olive oil has held a special place in culinary traditions, health-conscious diets, and even skincare regimens. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) stands out as the golden standard among the various types of olive oil. In this article we separate fact from fiction, revealing the truths and fallacies that have swirled around this liquid gold for generations.
- Fiction – Extra virgin olive oil is only for dippings and salads and it cannot be cooked with it as it diminishes its health benefits.
Fact – Cooking with extra virgin olive oil is not only safe but highly recommended. It ranks among the most stable oils for cooking purposes. While conventional wisdom often ties the safety of cooking oils to the smoking points, the key factors determining an oil’s stability when subjected to heat are its antioxidant content and its fat profile. Extra virgin olive oil, rich in stable monounsaturated fats and packed with antioxidants, is well-suited for a wide range of cooking methods, including deep frying, roasting, sautéing, and baking.¹
Consequently, olive oil remains safe and retains its nutritional value even when used in high-heat cooking methods. Consistent consumption of olive oil can contribute to improved bodily functions and the promotion of a healthier lifestyle. ²
- Fiction – The preference for olive oil might be influenced by the dislike of the taste of olives.
Fact – EVOO goes through minimal intervention, and it typically boasts a fruity flavor profile without the earthy undertones associated with fermentation. In contrast, table olives undergo processing methods involving salt, brine, and debittering techniques, often resulting in a taste that leans towards saltiness, bitterness, and earthiness.³
3. Fiction – The best EVOO can be identified by its colour or packaging.
Fact – The colour of olive oil is influenced by a wide range of elements, including olive variety, location, climate, fruit ripeness, and processing techniques. Even though some forms of packaging are better at preserving oil quality than others, the quality of the oil isn’t always necessarily correlated with the type of packaging that is being utilized.³
4.Fiction – EVOO increases cholesterol.
Fact – EVOO contains no cholesterol or trans-fat, making it a healthy option for cooking. Its abundance of monounsaturated oleic acid offers numerous benefits, rendering it a nutritious choice.
5.Fiction – Olive oil and EVOO are the same thing.
Fact – The purest form of olive oil, known as EVOO, is made only from the juice of fresh olives. It is mechanically pressed, unprocessed, and rich in plant components and antioxidants that are extremely healthy.
Pure olive oil has undergone refinement and some of the plant components and antioxidants are lost during this refining process, making the finished oil less nutritious.⁴
In the world of cooking oils, EVOO stands as a testament to both flavour and health. As the journey through the facts and fictions regarding EVOO surrounding confirms the exceptional properties, remember that its fruity essence, rich antioxidants, and suitability for various cooking methods make it a valuable addition to your kitchen. It’s a choice that not only elevates your dishes but also contributes to your well-being
- North American Olive Oil Associations. Olive Oil Myths vs Facts. Available at: https://www.aboutoliveoil.org/olive-oil-myths-facts Date Accessed September 20th,2023
- 7 Biggest Myths Around Olive Oi. Available at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/food-news/7-biggest-myths-around-olive-oil/photostory/88103367.cms?picid=88103420 Date Accessed September 20th, 2023.
- Olive Oil Centre. Ten Myths and Facts about olive oil. Available at: https://olivecenter.ucdavis.edu/media/files/myths1933.pdf Date Accessed September 20th, 2023
- Olive Oil Wellness Institute. Extra Virgin ole oil Myth vs Facts. Available at: https://olivewellnessinstitute.org/extra-virgin-olive-oil/myths-vs-facts/ Date Accessed September 20th, 2023
By Sylvia Jemutai