Despite all of its benefits for our health, avocado oil as a cooking oil is a very heat stable and one of the best possible oils for high-temperature frying.
Here’s why it’s worth changing from all those unhealthy processed oils like cottonseed, soy, corn and canola oil, and even the healthier ones like olive oil, to avocado oil for cooking and frying with.
The Smoke Point of Oils
It is very important to consider the smoke point of the oil you are cooking with. This is the temperature at which the oil starts to be visibly smoking in the pan.
At this point, the structure of the oil begins to break down and not only are the nutrients lost and the flavor changed, but dangerous compounds can be created that are damaging to our health. Even a healthy oil like olive oil becomes unhealthy when it reaches its smoke point.
Some very beneficial oils, like flaxseed oil and pumpkin seed oil, should never be used for frying or high-temperature cooking as they have a very low smoke point.
Others, like cheap processed cottonseed oil (420 F), soy oil (unrefined 320F/refined 450F), corn oil (450F) and canola oil (unrefined 225F/refined 400F), may have relatively high smoke points, but can have other health issues like inflammatory fat profiles and toxic residues left over from the solvents and extremely high temperatures used in their extraction. Besides all of this, none of these taste anywhere near as good as a high quality avocado oil.
Many people use olive oil for cooking and it is a healthy oil (though not as healthy as avocado oil – see the previous page for a comparison). Unfortunately, olive oil’s smoke point can vary greatly, depending on its grade and level of processing.
Extra virgin olive oil, the type usually considered healthiest and best tasting, can have a very low smoke point, sometimes listed at only 220 Fahrenheit (105 Celsius), making it completely unsuitable for frying. Despite this, many people do use it to fry with, thinking they’re being healthy. But in fact, once it starts smoking in the pan, extra virgin olive oil can become quite unhealthy and full of damaging compounds that lead to free radical damage in our bodies.
Other lower grades of olive oil usually have a higher point before they start smoking, sometimes cited as high as 430F (210 Celsius). These are usually the ‘light’ varieties. But even these are well below refined avocado oil’s smoke point, usually listed at between 480 and 520F (271 C), making it about the best possible oil for high-temperature frying.
Virgin avocado oil is often listed as having a similarly high smoke point. Independent testing though suggest these figures may be lower and it would be best to keep virgin avocado oil under 375-400 degrees Fahrenheit when frying with it. There shouldn’t really be a need to go that high with it anyway. Charcoaled and heavily burnt foods have a whole other set of dangerous compounds worth avoiding.
Cooking with Avocado Oil
Cooking with avocado oil make sense. Not only do you have a far lower chance of creating dangerous compounds, even with frying, avocado oil benefits our health with its superior fatty acid profile, phytosterols and high antioxidant content. To top it all off, avocado oil probably tastes far better than just about anything you’ve ever cooked with before.
If you’d like to give it a try for yourself the next page has details on where find avocado oil online that is both good quality and at a low price.
Photo credit with thanks: the prodigal untitled13