Points to Look for When Buying a Quality Culinary Oil
- An immediate indicator of quality oil is the container it comes in. Good oils should only come in dark glass bottles (or cans), which keep out light and oxygen and prevent the oil going rancid.
- Extra Virgin. For olive this means the oil meets the standards of the IOOC, and is of superior quality, produced by mechanical means only, with no use of chemicals. Other oils, such as extra virgin avocado oil, use the term to indicate purely mechanical production and superior quality. Note that this term is often incorrectly used, so care should always be taken when choosing an oil. The majority of cheap culinary oils available in supermarkets have been refined, thereby losing their natural flavour and goodness.
- Cold-pressed. Refers, in an informal sense, to an oil that has been produced in a process using the minimum of heat, and no chemicals. Oils, such as avocado oil or olive, produced in this way retain all the healthy properties of the fruit or vegetable.
- Taste and colour. A quality oil should have the taste and colour characteristics of the fruit or vegetable it comes from. For example, Hass avocado oil is green, with a light subtle avocado flavour. A quality olive oil is also slightly green, with a sharp peppery taste at the back of the throat.
- Stability of the oil is important. Oils high in acidity quickly become unstable, referred to as rancidity. Rancid oils not only taste bad, they are unhealthy, a major source of destructive free radicals. Olivado developed a process for cold-pressing avocado oil in a manner which makes it stable for five years; the oil is given a shelf life of a minimum of 3 years.
- Acidity. A good extra virgin olive and avocado oil should have low acidity, olive less than 0.2 and avocado 0.8 (under 0.2% - the IOOC standard is 0.86%).This means it has been produced to the highest standard, and also makes it a much more stable oil, particularly if its vitamin E levels are high.
- Vitamin E. A good quality extra virgin avocado oil should retain all the vitamin E from the fruit of the avocado. Olivado's extra virgin Avocado Oil is an excellent source of Vitamin E, containing 30% of your daily nutritional requirements in one serving.
- Culinary uses: Extra virgin avocado oil is perfect for cooking at high heat, retaining all its healthy properties and flavours up to 255°C. It is also excellent for salads and vegetables, or with bread. Extra virgin olive oil should never be used for cooking; it burns at temperatures above 185°C. Use your extra virgin olive oil for salads or with bread, or on pastas, vegetables and meat after cooking. Buy in quantities related to your use, don't store an open bottle for longer than 2-3 months.
- Health Benefits. Each oil has different health benefits: Olivado's extra virgin olive oil contains high amounts of polyphenols (for heart health); avocado oil has the highest levels of beta-sitosterol (to reduce cholesterol and improve heart health), Vitamin E, lutein and lycopene (helping reduce prostate cancer and macular degeneration).
- Cost: Quality extra virgin oils cost more because they are more difficult and therefore more expensive to produce. The increase in production of quality oils is a response to consumer demand for better quality.
- Cost-effectiveness: Buy quality oil in small quantities. As soon as a bottle of oil is opened and exposed to oxygen, it will begin to deteriorate. Buying large bottles of lesser quality oil in plastic containers is not cost-effective as it will quickly go rancid and be wasted. Because oils such as avocado and macadamia remain stable even at high temperatures, less is needed. It is better to use less of a quality oil than a lot of a cheap oil.