What is the maximum temperature in the use of olive oil?
We all know that heat and oil is a bad combination. In our kitchen, we often use olive oil to cook, subjecting it to high temperatures; even exceeding its smoke temperature.
But, what is the maximum temperature in the use of olive oil? What happens when we put the oil under too high temperatures?
The smoke point of olive oil is the temperature at which olive oil begins to degenerate and lose part of its initial properties. We can verify this when subjecting the oil to a heat source, it begins to give off smoke. This means that it has exceeded its smoking temperature and that it can be harmful to our health.
It is important to bear in mind that when the oil reaches its smoking point, it begins to degrade and release compounds that are harmful to health, so it should be avoided to exceed these temperatures when cooking with any type of oil.
Thus, depending on the smoking point of each type of oil, we can establish the following limits to which an olive oil can be subjected without being harmful:
- Extra virgin olive oil: 160ºC
- Virgin olive oil: 215ºC
- Olive pomace oil: 230ºC
- Olive oil: 240ºC
Whether an oil has a higher or lower smoking temperature basically depends on its chemical composition: the fatty acids it contains and impurities, such as proteins, carbohydrates, salts and water.
As we can see, the fresher and more natural an oil is, the lower its smoking temperature will be. Extra virgin olive oil, having a greater amount of non-hydrogenated compounds, degrades more quickly when heated at high temperatures. For this reason, it is advisable to avoid cooking with extra virgin olive oil at high temperatures. It is better to cook at low and medium temperatures and use other types of oils, such as olive pomace oil, for frying, for example.
What happens if the oil boils?
Olive oil is one of the most popular vegetable oils used in cooking. However, if olive oil gets hot enough, it can reach its boiling point and begin to boil. Unlike water, oil does not evaporate.
When it reaches a certain temperature (smoke point), the oil begins to bubble and smoke. This is an indicator that the proper temperature for use has been exceeded and we must remove it from the heat source.
Exceeding the smoking temperature means that the oil loses all the components that make it beneficial for our health. The same happens when we often use olive oil to fry. In addition to losing all its properties, the oil keeps in its composition compounds that are not beneficial to health.
In short, olive oil is the best option when cooking and also the healthiest. When choosing an olive oil, we must take into account its smoking temperature to prevent the oil from losing its properties and, therefore, its benefits for our health.