For years, there has been a large debate over whether it is safe to cook with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).
The short answer is it depends.
debunking the myth
There is a longstanding belief that it is unsafe to cook with olive oil. Some experts believe that when heated to high temperatures, the oil burns and forms harmful compounds; however, there is little evidence supporting this belief.
In fact, according to recent scientific research, high-quality EVOO that is not blended with other oils is quite stable when heated. Not only has it been proven not to produce harmful compounds, it also has a high smoke point.
The caveat here, however, is that most mainstream EVOO is blended with processed vegetable oils (canola, corn, grapeseed, soybean, etc.) to make the product more affordable. As olives are actually a fruit and EVOO a fruit juice, olive oil does not fall into the “vegetable oil” category.
If your EVOO is not sourced from a reputable company and is blended with these inferior oils, your “olive oil” would consequently be high in polyunsaturated fats rather than monounsaturated fats.
It is important to also source an olive oil that is high in polyphenols—ideally anything above 300mg/kg. These incredible antioxidants protect the oil from oxidizing when exposed to heat. At Zimms, we highly value transparency, so we always show the polyphenol count clearly on the label.
polyunsaturated fats are unstable when heated
Contrary to popular belief, researchers are discovering that processed vegetable oils high in polyunsaturated fats are unsafe when heated.
This study found that pure EVOO is the most stable cooking oil when compared to canola oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, peanut oil, rice bran oil, and sunflower oil. To perform the test, researchers gradually heated the respective oils to a moderate cooking temperature of 356℉ for 6 hours and to a high cooking temperature of 465℉ for 20 minutes.
They found that polyunsaturated oils were the worst performers. Grapeseed oil and canola oil produced approximately twice the harmful polar compounds as EVOO.
the importance of high quality
The only safe EVOO is one that is sourced from a reputable company and its partnering farm(s). The importance of buying from a company you trust ensures your EVOO is pure, unrefined, and free of processed vegetable oils.
At Zimms Organics, we take our standards extremely seriously, ensuring our olive oil is of the highest quality. All our olives are single origin, sourced from a small family-owned farm in Central California. Our oil is also lab tested to meet EVOO standards and is CCOF certified organic.
We love to cook with our specialty COOK EVOO, as its robust and nutty flavors lend a unique depth to every dish!