Olive oil originated from the Mediterranean region and has been used for food and medicine for centuries. There are different types of olive oil. They differ in quality based on how the oil was extracted. The extraction method influences the quality of the product. Olives are a nutrient-rich food, and the extracted oil contains monounsaturated fats as well as a decent amount of vitamins E and K. The cold-pressing method is beneficial for helping the oil retain antioxidants and healthy fats. The oil is great for its nutritional content. But many want to know if cold-pressed olive oil is good for cooking.
What is Cold-Pressed Olive Oil?
The process of cold-pressing olive oil starts with crushing olives into a paste, then mechanically adding force. The pressing process separates the oil from the pulp. Cold-pressed olive oil is made without using chemicals or heat. Heat breaks down the beneficial plant compounds and nutrient content. Cold-pressed olive oil retains its nutritional value. Higher-grade olive oils are always cold-pressed.
The Difference Between Cold Pressed and Regular Olive Oil
Some oils are labeled cold-pressed. If you take the time to compare cold-pressed oil with regular olive oils, you’ll notice visible differences. Cold-pressed olive oil is pure and has a forest-green color, fruity aroma, and a slightly peppery flavor. Modern manufacturers realize that creating pure oil takes time and can be a rigorous process. They choose to speed up the process by applying heat or using chemicals to hurry the process. This is a matter of convenience for the manufacturers. Time is money, after all. Using heat and chemicals sacrifices quality.
Cold-pressed oil must meet certain standards. If it doesn’t, then it’s labeled as “refined” oil. You’ll notice regular olive oil or refined oil is lighter in color and offers a more neutral flavor than cold-pressed. Most of the time, regular olive oil is blended with other oils, including corn, vegetable, and canola oils. Extra virgin olive oil is made from cold-pressing olives. Regular olive oil is a blend of both processed and cold-pressed olive oil.
Why Cook With Cold Pressed Olive Oil
Cold-pressed olive oil is your top-shelf oil. It’s pure, unrefined, and provides unique flavors to various dishes. But is cold pressed olive oil good for cooking? The short answer is an unequivocal yes! There are several great reasons for using cold-pressed olive oil in cooking, no matter what the cuisine.
Among the reasons to choose cold-pressed olive oil for cooking is the unique flavor it provides. Its pure, earthy flavor is excellent for sauces, dips, and dressing. It’s also a great option as a finishing touch for plated food. A second reason to use olive oil for cooking is its nutritional content. It contains 30 healthy plant compounds, Vitamins E& K, and polyunsaturated fat, which helps lower “bad cholesterol.” Since heat is not used to process cold-pressed oil, it retains many potent antioxidants that have been stripped from refined oils.
For years, people have thought that extra virgin olive oil wasn’t suitable for cooking. But that myth has been busted. The smoke point for olive oil is between 350 and 410 degrees (F). This takes care of most cooking needs. Since cold-pressed olive oil has low acidity, the smoke point is higher. This makes it an excellent option for baking, sautéing, pan-frying, and just about any other way you can imagine.
6 Ways to Cook With Olive Oil
Is cold-pressed olive oil good for cooking? Absolutely yes!
Olive oil is versatile, healthy, and easy to incorporate into your day-to-day cooking regime. Here are six tips for how to cook with olive oil.
- Drizzle A Few Drops
Generally, to enjoy the full aroma of cold-pressed olive oil, it’s best to add it to the food in the final preparation stages. Once the food has been cooked, drizzle olive oil over the top. It can be drizzled over salads, pasta, and sandwiches too. When making toast, drizzle a little olive oil over it while it is warm. For a flavorful punch, drizzle oil with a pinch of oregano and salt over warm toasted bread.
- Use Olive Oil in Place of Butter
Replacing butter or margarine with olive oil provides numerous health benefits. In most recipes, you can replace butter with olive oil by using 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil in place of each 2 tablespoons of butter. It can be used instead of butter on vegetables, potatoes, and rice dishes.
- Use Olive Oil for Grilling
Since cold-pressed olive oil is stable at high temperatures, you can use it for grilling. Just brush the oil on the pieces of meat before placing them on the grill. It adds a wonderful flavor to other grilled foods, too, like corn on the cob, portobello mushrooms, and shrimp.
- Baking with Olive Oil
Olive oil is versatile and can be used and enjoyed in nearly any dish. You can get the same tastes you love while reducing fat and calories. Olive oil is a great addition to baked goods; it’s also easier to use since it mixes well without needing to be melted first. It can also be used to oil muffin tins, pie pans, or other baking dishes to prevent food from sticking.
- Soups and Sauces
In Greek cuisine, instead of adding heavy cream to their soups just before they are served, they add olive oil instead. You can also add some dried Italian herbs or chili flakes to olive oil to create a tasty dipping oil for bread served fresh from the oven.
- Frying and Sauteing
Use olive oil instead of vegetable oils for sauteing meats and vegetables. It can also be used to replace butter when frying eggs. Shallow-fry sliced potatoes or fish in cold-pressed olive oil for an amazing flavor.There are numerous ways to use olive oil. Health benefits, ease of use, and wonderful flavor are just a few reasons you should try it. Are you ready to explore the wonderful, flavorful world of cold-pressed olive oil? Check out Arlotta Food Studio’s organic, cold-pressed California Olive Oil.