IS COLD PRESSED OLIVE OIL GOOD FOR COOKING?

BY ALINDA VAN DYK

The answer is YES!

We have come to learn that Olive Oil is healthy. However, along with this knowledge come a lot of classifications and terminologies that can create a maze of questions. So how does one decide what cooking oil to use, that will provide the optimum HEALTH BENEFITS and TASTE?

The answer of course is COLD EXTRACTED Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Let us look at the different terminologies and facts that support my bold statement;

  • WHAT DOES COLD EXTRACTED MEAN?

Cold Extracted means that the olives/pulp/oil is kept below 30 °Celsius (ideally below 28) during the MILLING process.

  • WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COLD EXTRACTED AND COLD PRESSED?

COLD PRESSED refers to the original and traditional way of olive oil making, using a milling stone and mat press. The olives were crushed with a granite milling stone. The olive pulp was then placed on hessian mats and PRESSED with a hydraulic system and the oil would seep through. This was normally done in a cool room between 13 and 18°C. Bear in mind that most olive oil was originally made in the Old World like Europe, where temperatures are low at room level.

This was called cold PRESSING.

Traditional Stone Mill used for crushing olives

COLD EXTRACTED refers to modern methods where oil extraction plants are used. Olives are crushed with hammer mills and the pulp is malaxed  – Malaxing is the first step where oil separation takes place. The pulp is KNEADED in the malaxer and the olive oil parts start to separate from the other olive solids. The kneaded pulp is then put through a centrifuge to extract the oil from the pulp and the olive oil and water particles are finally separated from the rest of the solid mass. During the malaxing and centrifugal stage it is important that the pulp is kept at “cold” temperatures below 30 degrees. Hence the term cold EXTRACTION.

Modern Extraction Plant Malaxer used for the olive pulp

  1. HOW DOES COLD EXTRACTION INFLUENCE QUALITY AND HEALTH BENEFITS?
  2. The break-up of certain cells at a milling temp above 30 can result in increased free fatty acid values and higher peroxide levels
  3. Cells at high milling temperatures denaturate (break-up) and therefore most nutrients and vitamins are lost and destructed.
  4. The benefit of Extra Virgin Olive Oil lies in the fact that it contains OPTIMUM vitamins and anti-oxidants.
  5. Conclusion: Without Cold Extraction – you won’t have an Extra Virgin Olive Oil – the two concepts go hand-in-hand.
  • CAN I COOK WITH COLD PRESSED / EXTRACTED OLIVE OIL

Cold Extracted = Extra Virgin

Extra Virgin = Optimum Health Benefits

It is important not to confuse the cold pressed or extracted temperatures with temperatures while cooking with olive oil. These two matters are separate and have different effects on the oil.

Cold extraction is during the milling process and effects the nutritional- and free fatty acid value when making the oil.

Therefore, you BEGIN with a good quality olive oil before your cook.

  1. Cold Extracted Extra Virgin Olive Oil is by FAR the most beneficial cooking oil for all types of cooking and even frying
  2. With increased heat temperatures during milling, the free fatty acid values and peroxide values increase – therefore become a less stable oil to cook with. When the oil is COLD EXTRACTED, the oil “make-up” of free fatty acid chains remain the most stable of ALL cooking oils.
  3. The quality of the olive oil is directly related to the benefit value of the olive oil. Therefore, the better the quality of the olive oil – the higher return of benefits
  • SO, WHAT DOES SMOKING POINT MEAN?
  1. Bare in mind that ALL cooking oils are affected by heat during cooking – what is important, is how stable the oil composition is to START with and this influences that number of free radicals that are released.
  2. The smoking point of Extra Virgin Olive Oil is between 200 and 220 degrees Celsius. Most cooking and baking takes place between 160 and 180 – therefore well before reaching smoking point
  3. IMPORTANT – when olive oil reaches smoking point – it does not become carcinogenic
  4. Carcinogenic means “The potential to cause cancer”
  5. Thorough research has proven that Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the most STABLE oil to cook with. Olive Oil is a mono-unsaturated fat with SINGLE Carbon bonds. The hydrocarbon chains of the fat molecules are shorter – therefore more stable when used at higher cooking temperatures.
  • WHY COOK WITH COLD PRESSED EXTRA VIRGIN RATHER THAN NORMAL OLIVE OIL?
  1. Normal olive oil is a refined product which has undergone a chemical bleaching process and heating process to refine the oil for cooking purposes
  2. Besides olive oil being adulterated by chemicals which is not healthy, most nutrients have been damaged or lost due to the heating processes.
  3. Normal Olive Oil is also less stable when used for cooking or frying, releasing more free radicals as end result.
  4. Cold Pressed Extra Virgin has contained it nutrients and health benefits, is UNADULTERATED with no chemicals or additives and is the most stable cooking oil to use and can be used more than once for cooking.

  • IN CONCLUSION
  1. Cold Extracted Extra Virgin Olive Oil holds the most health benefits, as the controlled temperatures during milling preserved the vitamins and nutrients.
  2. It is a healthy, mono-unsaturated fat that helps combat bad cholesterol
  3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the most stable oil of all cooking oils – releasing the LEAST number of free radicals even when it reaches smoking point
  4. Contrary to many myths, due to its stability, Cold Extracted Extra Virgin is NON-carcinogenic and can be used more than once
  5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is flavoursome and making healthy living TASTE good.

COOKING TIP

Did you know – due to density of extra virgin olive oil, you only need a 1/3 of the volume to cook with in comparison to other cooking oils?