Friday, August 3, 2012

Common Myths of Olive Oil

MYTH: Extra Virgin Olive Oil should be green and the greener it is, the better it is!
Reality: Extra virgin olive oils are a variety of yellow to green hues. The color of the oil depends on the type of olive, growing conditions, and the time of harvest. The color doesn’t affect the flavor or quality in any way. Professional tasters actually use blue-tinted tasting glasses so that the oil color does not influence their perceptions.

Myth: You can’t fry with olive oil.
Reality: The key when frying with any oil is to keep the oil temperature below its smoke point. The ideal temperature for frying most foods is between 350° F and 370° F. All olive oils, even extra virgin olive oil, have smoke points higher than this range. And from a flavor perspective,
foods fried in olive oil will be less greasy because the olive oil coats the food rather than absorbing into it. Olive oil also can be re-used for frying up to three times without
compromising flavor.

Myth: Good olive oil must be “First Cold Pressed”
Reality: In the modern era, the term “First Cold Pressed” or “Cold Pressed” actually refers more to a production concept than a literal translation. For thousands of years, olive oil was produced using a “press,” but today this practice is largely replaced by machines that crush the olives. Unlike seed oil production, which uses extreme heat and harsh chemicals such as hexane to extract the oil, olive oil production is completed mainly through physical processes. In fact, the definition of Extra Virgin and Virgin Olive Oil specifically states that no heat or chemicals can be used to obtain the oil. This is where the reference to “cold pressing” originated.

Myth: All oils are fattening, including olive oil
Reality: As with any cooking fat, the key to healthy eating is choosing the best option and using it in moderation. Compared to other cooking oils for example, olive oil contains the highest amount of “healthy” fats, the monounsaturated fat. Consuming monounsaturated fats is shown to help reduce the level of “bad” cholesterol that can cause deposits to form on the walls of arteries and other blood vessels. Butter, on the other hand, is comprised almost entirely of saturated fat, which has been linked to increased risk of heart disease and other health issues. Additionally, extra virgin olive oil is produced using only natural physical processes, and contains a host of healthy vitamins and antioxidants. All olive oil is also cholesterol free, sodium free, gluten free, and has no trans fats or artificial ingredients.

Information from the North American Olive Oil Association


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