Can you use extra virgin olive oil in cooking?

Olive OIl
Olive OIl

The simple answer is yes! Olive oil has a ‘smoking point’ of around 220 degrees celsius. This means it is stable and food for cooking food in temperatures up to 220 degrees which is more than hot enough for most cooking methods. The only cooking method that may get hotter than this is stir-frying but even the temp on that can be turned down. 

Why is extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) better than others?

Olive oil has a few health benefits. Several studies have concluded that EVOO protects against breast cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and possibly even Alzheimer’s disease. 

What makes EVOO special is it contains a strong antioxidant called polyphenols which are found naturally in plants and linked to many health benefits.  And because EVOO are produced through crushing olives and minimal processing, most of the nutrient is maintained. This is why you won’t find polyphenols in other more processed oils such as those from seeds (canola, sesame, sunflower etc) as they require A LOT of work to get out the oil and most of the original nutrients are lost. 

Top tips for choosing the best EVOO? 

Here are some key things to consider when at the shops so you can get the most polyphenols out of each bottle.

  • Buy Australian – the oil will be fresher which means more polyphenals. Olive oil does NOT get better with age. 
  • Look for the Harvest date – these can be found on the back of bottles and try to find something that has been harvested in the last 12 months.  
  • Choose an EVOO in a dark glass bottle – protect your oil from light, heat and exposure to air as these all break down the polyphenols in the bottle.
  • Buy a container that matches your monthly consumption. Then you won’t having oil sitting in your pantry getting old.