Monday, 12 November 2007

How Pure is your Olive Oil?

Remember what I said in the post below about cutting costs and increasing profits with big companies? Classic example here with olive oil. Read this interesting article here on the olive oil scandal. Do read it, it's interesting. What it's basically trying to tell you is that there are no strict regulations for controlling the production of olive oil and nowhere does it say that your olive oil has to be made 100% of olives. Who's to say you couldn't substitute some of it with soy or canola oil? As much as 20% hazelnut oil can be added to olive oil and still be undetectable to the consumer.

Buying "extra virgin" olive oil is sadly, no guarantee of a good quality oil. The way they grade olive oil is by measure of its acidity and nothing much else.

However, we are NOT stupid consumers, right? Right.

So, we will test the purity of our olive oil. How innocent are you, my little bottle of olive oil? Hiding any deep dark secrets? Canola oil, maybe?

Thanks to my fitness nut of a boyfriend who read an article which tells you how to test the quality of your oil through its smokepoint.

Basically start with a cup of olive oil in a frying pan and a baking thermometer. Heat the oil on high and watch for when it hits 350 degrees F. Then turn the heat down low and shine a strong flashlight down on to the pan. Watch for when it starts to smoke then note the temperature on the thermometer.

You want to watch for when the olive oil starts to smoke, a good (one with 20% free fatty acids) olive oil will start smoking at 375 degrees F but anywhere between 355 to 375 will do. An olive oil with 4% free fatty acids will smoke at 425 degrees F.

So short of running your olive oil through a lab analysis, this is the best you can do right at home. Be a smart consumer!

Tip: Don't buy olive oil stored in clear glass containers, light destroys oils. Especially don't buy it if dust has settled on the oil, a sign it has been there a long time. If you must, buy one from the back of the shelf away from direct light.


Anonymous said...

For years I've been telling people about the wonders of cooking with olive oil, yet I did not know about that light damages oils. I just learned that no too long ago, and now seeing it in your blog was good confirmation.

You have really good information here. Thank you.

LoveMichie said...

Hi D.H.Pang!

Thanks for dropping by :). I'm glad I could've helped!

I regularly cook with olive oil and did a bit of reading up on it. If you like, this website...

...has interesting information on cooking with olive oil. Some people worry that heat either diminishes its nutritional value or changes its nature yet this is not the case.

jammyster said...

Just found out from talking to someone that told me about olive oil and it might have hazelnut oil in it. I put Smart Balance Butter & Extra Virgin Oil Blend in my Cream of Rice cereal and got real nauseated and did not know why. Now I do. I am allergic to hazelnut. I don't normally use this product, but I had gotten it by mistake for my parents and I took it off their hands.