Top 10 Myths

In celebration of the Absa Top 10 Olive Oil Awards, we decided to expose 10 of the most common myths, helping you make an informed decision when taking a trip to the grocery store. 

Boiling vegetables is healthier than frying them:
A recent study revealed that frying vegetables in EVOO was actually healthier than boiling them. Not only do you get to keep the nutrients in the veggies instead of pouring them down the drain, but the olive oil helps your body absorb them.

The smoking point of olive oil is too low for frying:
The smoking point is the temperature at which a fat or oil begins to break down. High-quality EVOO can be heated up to 215°C and will last more than a day heated to 110°C with constant exposure to air before it starts to breakdown. This is nearly four times higher than the oxidative stability of other oils. EVOO’s high stability under heat is mainly due to its natural, high levels of monounsaturated and low levels of polyunsaturated fats and its high levels of natural antioxidants.

Frying temperatures will change olive oil from a ‘good oil’ to a ‘bad oil’:
EVOO is the most stable of all oils in cooking, it can withstand very high frying temperatures before losing any of its taste and smell. The heat required to raise the temperature of olive oil high enough to fry food cannot change the chemical composition of olive oil from a good one to a bad one. Due to its composition and high concentration of antioxidants, EVOO is, in fact, the best oil for pan frying.

Fried foods absorb cooking oil, making you fat:
Properly fried food will absorb much less cooking oil if the temperature of the oil is hot enough before food is introduced. Despite fears that EVOO leads to weight gain, this natural, freshly squeezed juice is low in saturated fat and filled with antioxidants and monounsaturated (good) fats – so enjoy with a healthy diet and exercise.

EVOO can’t be heated to high temperatures for long periods of time:
In 2012,  a study was conducted comparing EVOO to sunflower oil. Both oils were heated in an industrial fryer at 110°C for 40 hours. The study found that EVOO performed better than sunflower oil.

You can’t use EVOO in some pots and pans
Whether you’re searing a nice big fat steak or cooking a big serve of pasta, you can use EVOO in any type of pot or pan and even on the hotplate.

You can’t use EVOO when you bake:
You can whip up everything from a great sponge to a tray of cookies using EVOO instead of butter or margarine. Put it to the test with this butter to EVOO conversion chart: 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil gets better with time:
When EVOO is exposed to oxygen, light, and heat, it is subject to oxidation and will gradually go rancid. Once opened, if stored correctly, a bottle can last for a couple of months – it will not be as aromatic and fruity after 2 months and may be slightly oxidised but won’t yet be rancid. Make sure you always check the best before date, keep your oil in a closed, dark bottle or closet and away from sources of heat like your stove.

Colour is an indicator of an EVOO’s quality:
The colour of olive oil is NOT an indicator of its quality or flavour. Colour is determined by the ripeness of the olives at harvest. Flavour is determined by several factors, including olive ripeness, type of olive (varietal), soil quality, climate, irrigation practices and milling techniques.

‘Light’ olive oil has fewer calories:
Olive oils which are defective and unfit for consumption as they are, need to undergo a refining process during which they are deodorised and bleached. The result is a tasteless, almost colourless product, which is refined olive oil. So called Light Olive Oils are light in flavour and colour, in other words, refined olive oil. Every oil contains the same number of kilojoules; there is no oil which has fewer calories than another.

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The Absa Top 10 locally produced EVOOs for 2017 will be announced on the 27th of September! Keep up to date with the latest SA Olive news via social media: Facebook and Twitter.

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