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Unveiling the Secrets of Cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Updated: Jun 12


In the realm of culinary delights, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) reigns supreme as the most versatile and healthy option. Recognised for its exceptional health benefits and robust flavour profile, EVOO has become an essential ingredient in kitchens worldwide. In this blog post, we will explore the art of cooking with olive oil, uncovering the nutritional advantages, best practices, and tips for incorporating this Mediterranean treasure into your everyday culinary endeavours.

Unleashing the Nutritional Powerhouse of Olive Oil:

Extra virgin olive oil boasts an impressive nutritional profile that contributes to overall well-being. Abundant in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, EVOO promotes cardiovascular health by:

  • reducing inflammation

  • improving cholesterol levels, and

  • enhancing blood pressure management.

Additionally, phenolic compounds, including oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol, found in EVOO exhibit potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, combating oxidative stress and chronic diseases.


Numerous scientific studies further substantiate the health benefits of EVOO. A systematic review published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that the consumption of EVOO is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases and improved markers of metabolic health. Another study in the Journal Nutrients revealed that the Mediterranean diet, enriched with EVOO, is associated with a decreased incidence of certain types of cancer. There is extremely strong general consensus in the scientific literature regarding the potential health benefits of EVOO and its association with reduced risks of cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer..


Abundant in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, EVOO promotes cardiovascular health.


The Quest for Quality - Selecting Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil:

To fully appreciate the health advantages of olive oil in cooking, it is crucial to choose high-quality options. Extra virgin olive oil, obtained through mechanical extraction methods without chemical refinement, retains the highest nutritional value and flavour complexity. Look for reputable brands that adhere to strict production standards and certifications, such as the International Olive Council (IOC) seal or Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) labels. Furthermore, select EVOOs with lowest possible acidity level.


Olive Oil to be classed as Extra Virgin cannot have acidity higher than 0.8% however truly excellent EVOOs will have the acidic level much lower than that. Therefore for Aroma di Olio Olive Oil Shop we carefully select only EVOOs with typical acidity between 0.1- 0.3%. Each of our EVOOs is tested at a lab to confirm this and utmost care is taken to preserve the low acidity and high antioxidant content - from efficient logistics through appropriate packaging to optimal storage conditions.



Olive Oil to be classed as Extra Virgin cannot have acidity higher than 0.8% however truly excellent EVOOs will have the acidic level much lower than that.




Numerous scientific studies emphasise the importance of EVOO quality. A study published in the Journal of Food Science demonstrated that phenolic content, an indicator of quality, varies significantly among different EVOO brands. Higher phenolic content correlates with superior antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, further underscoring the significance of selecting premium EVOO for cooking.



Higher phenolic content correlates with superior antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.


As we’re committed to providing Extra Virgin Olive Oils with the highest concentration of polyphenols, our Olive Oil Consultant Magdalena Orzechowska is constantly on a quest to discover exceptional products, from farmers fully and unconditionally dedicated to health and ultra-high quality.


Here are the top five choices from our current collection:

#

Product

Bottle

Polyphenols

1

MARMARO Early Harvest

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Halkidiki, Greece


Marmaro extra virgin olive oil high polyphenol and antioxidants

780 mg/kg

2

MANNI Grand Cru Box

Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Tuscany, Italy

Manni organic extra virgin olive oil high polyphenol and antioxidants from Tuscany Italy

607-521 mg/kg

3

MANNI The Oil of Life

Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Tuscany, Italy


Manni organic extra virgin olive oil high polyphenol and antioxidants from Tuscany Italy

560 mg/kg

4

HERIZZA de la LOBILLA Night Harvest

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Individually Numbered

Osuna, Spain

Herriza de la lobilla night harvest early harvest extra virgin olive oil from Spain

​547 mg/kg

5

BRAVOLEUM Night Harvest

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Limited Edition

Jaen, Spain


Bravoleum night harvest early harvest extra virgin olive oil from Spain

478 mg/kg




Mastering the Art of Cooking with EVOO:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil shines in a range of cooking techniques, adding a distinctive touch to culinary creations. Contrary to a common misconception, there is no scientific evidence to the belief that you cannot cook with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Additionally, antioxidants from the oil transfer into the cooked food, and fat-soluble vitamins and other beneficial components, such as glucosinolates and carotenoids, are better absorbed by the body when cooked in EVOO.



Contrary to a common misconception, there is no scientific evidence to the belief that you cannot cook with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.


Cooking with high-quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which is rich in natural antioxidants, is both safe and suitable. The presence of these antioxidants ensures that the oil remains stable even when exposed to heat, making it an exceptionally healthy choice for all cooking methods from pan frying and sautéing to oven baking and even deep frying, at the same time retaining its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties


The stability of EVOO is attributed to several factors. It is rich in monounsaturated fats, such as oleic acid, which are less prone to oxidation and degradation compared to polyunsaturated fats found in many refined oils. EVOO also contains natural antioxidants that protect it from breakdown when heated, whereas refined oils lack these antioxidants and are more susceptible to degradation. Furthermore, the mechanical production methods used for EVOO preserve its integrity, whereas refined oils undergo multiple processing treatments that can lead to higher levels of oxidative by-products and increased susceptibility to breakdown during cooking.


There is a substantial body of published literature supporting the safety and suitability of Extra Virgin Olive Oil for cooking. These studies reinforce its stability, health benefits, and its role as a reliable and healthy cooking oil.



EVOO contains natural antioxidants that protect it from breakdown when heated, whereas refined oils lack these antioxidants and are more susceptible to degradation.


The smoke point of an oil has traditionally been used to determine its suitability for cooking at domestic temperatures. However, recent research challenges the assumption that smoke point alone predicts an oil's performance when heated. The study concluded that smoke point is not a reliable indicator of an oil's performance, and factors such as oxidative stability, UV coefficients, and the level of polyunsaturated fats are better predictors. The research also demonstrated that among all the oils tested, EVOO produced the lowest level of harmful polar compounds when heated, making it the most stable oil for cooking.


Polar compounds are degradation by-products that can be harmful to health and have been associated with neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease. EVOO, with its high stability and resistance to breakdown, has been shown to have lower levels of polar compounds compared to refined oils.



EVOO produced the lowest level of harmful polar compounds when heated, making it the most stable oil for cooking.


Elevating Flavours - Unleashing the Taste Potential of EVOO:

One of the most delightful aspects of cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oill is its ability to enhance the flavors of your dishes. EVOO adds a unique depth and richness to salads, pasta, soups, stews, grilled vegetables, fish and even desserts. Try experimenting with different varieties of olive oil to explore their distinct flavors. Delicate oils work well in light dishes, while robust oils can stand up to heartier flavors. Infusing olive oil with herbs, spices, or citrus zest can also provide an extra burst of flavour to your creations.


Systematic scientific studies emphasise the positive impact of EVOO on taste perception and sensory satisfaction.


Cooking with olive oil


Tips for Incorporating Extra Virgin Olive Oil in Everyday Cooking:

Here are some practical tips to help you incorporate more EVOO into your daily cooking routine:

  • Use EVOO as a base for salad dressings or marinades to add a healthy twist to your meals.

  • Drizzle over cooked vegetables, roasts, sauces, pasta or soups to impart a rich, velvety finish.

  • Use EVOO in place of butter or margarine when sautéing or frying for a healthier alternative. It also works very well when butter is replaced with extra virgin olive oil in cakes and desserts - just make sure you choose milder, more delicate flavours for this purpose.

  • Add a dash of EVOO to your morning coffee for a health boost and extra creaminess.

  • On bread - use instead of butter and discover how much more delicious it tastes, especially when you top it up with a few drops of aged balsamic vinegar.

  • Experiment with different olive oil varieties and explore their nuances to find your favourites.

  • Store olive oil in a cool, dark place to maintain its freshness and prevent oxidation.





Conclusion:

Cooking with olive oil is not only a delicious way to enhance your culinary creations, but it also offers a myriad of health benefits. Whether you're sautéing, roasting, or dressing a salad, the right olive oil can elevate the flavours of your dishes while contributing to your overall well-being. So, embrace the Mediterranean tradition and make Extra Virgin Olive Oil an essential ingredient in your kitchen. Your taste buds and your health will be thanking you for years to come!



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