Cooking Techniques: Chooseing the Right Olive Oil for You

Tue, Feb 23, 2010

Cooking, Techniques

Knowing how to choose the fats you use for cooking can be as important as learning other cooking techniques. One thing to remember is that not all fats are created equal, not in flavor, smell, and especially not in the way they can benefit your  health.

Olive oil is one kind of oil we hear about frequently. There are a few different kinds of olive oil, virgin oils, refined oil, and regular olive oil. Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat, which means that it lowers LDL( bad) and increases HDL (good) cholesterol. This is the main type of fat that you should want to consume.

Virgin olive oils come in extra virgin or virgin. These oils are all produced solely  from olives and are made as pure as possible by using only physical ways to press and extract the oil, without the use of chemicals. Extra virgin olive oil is the best olive oil you can get. Virgin olive oils have a darker color usually and a deeper olive flavor and smell. These are also the most beneficial to your health.

You’ll probably want to use this oil as a condiment (unheated) on salads, in salad dressings, added on top of soup, potatoes, or bread. If using it for stir-frying, sautéing or browning, extra virgin and virgin olive oils will work (extra virgin olive oil can tolerate the most heat before smoking), but don’t use expensive varieties as it will take away much of the flavor and smell.

Olive oil that is made with the use of refining methods is called refined olive oil. It lacks the taste and smell that a virgin oil has and is made from inedible virgin oils and is no longer a pure olive oil. Equal parts refined and virgin olive oils make regular olive oil. If a product says “olive oil” and doesn’t define what kind it is, it’s most likely to be this blend of the two.  Olive oils such as this have a slight flavor and smell but nowhere close to as strong as the extra virgin variety.

There are many kinds of fats to use in cooking and olive oil is just one. It can make your cooking healthier as well as add flavor, and give an aroma that can improve any dish if used properly!

Photo by fensterbme.

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This post was written by:

Rochelle - who has written 324 posts on Made in Kitchen Blog.

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One Response to “Cooking Techniques: Chooseing the Right Olive Oil for You”

  1. Lourindal Hempen Says:

    A lot of excellent information here. Thank you. There is a great quote at that reads “Extra virgin olive oil is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods in existence.

    Though I cannot promise you an equally long life span [as the olive tree's life span], I can assure you that you will look younger, think more clearly, be more active and, yes, extend your life if you incorporate extra virgin olive oil into your diet on a daily basis.” Emphasis added. (1)
    — Dr. Nicholas Perricone
    M.D., Dermatologist,
    New York Times Best-selling author

    I read further that you want EVOO with hydroxytyrosol which is found in olive trees grown in Spain and Italy. Or the soil. They are sure which but the high levels of hydroxytyrosols in those EVOO are apparently unique to Spain and Italy.

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