Olive Crazy: All About Olives and Olive Oil
Jun 152011

My article about olive oil and smoke point, entitled “When Is EVOO Not Good For You?“, brought in some great comments by email and Twitter. As I’m sure you’ve guessed by my treatment of the subject, I prefer to take a more realistic view of using olive oil at high temperatures.

The eating public is so inundated with cautionary tales that we either fall into the scaredy-cat camp or we throw up our hands and ignore all advice. I don’t like to be either, and camp out with the realistic-caution folks. There are lots of realists, and they are busy figuring things out for themselves.

So here are some more thoughts on cooking with olive oil and the dreaded smoke point. I’m sure you noticed when reading my article the very wide range for reaching smoke point. It is anywhere from 320F/160C to 400F/204C, and except when grilling meat and veggies on the barbeque, cooks rarely reach the high temperatures which produce actual “smoke”.

Even though I am a dyed-in-the-wool Southern Gal, I never deep fry anything. My Mom took a lot of nutrition classes in college, so frying wasn’t an option while growing up. Via Twitter I received some advice from a gentleman who deep fries with extra virgin olive oil and he uses the oil only once. I completely understand. Extra virgin olive oil has organic (not the legal term) fruit matter in it which is destroyed in the frying process, making evoo not good for reuse.

In my article “Extra Virgin Olive Oil Taste Panel Of South Australia Harvest” I mentioned that one of the judges for The Adelaide Review’s “Olive Harvest” competition is a man by the name of Richard Gawel. Richard is a very well known Australian scientist who is a major tasting and blending consultant for many Australian olive oil producers. Richard has a blog with a great article on the science and myth of “smoke point”, it is entitled “The Smoke Point of Extra Virgin Olive: The Whole Story“.

Now you have more opinions on the subject and believe me there are many.

May the sun shine through your branches.


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