While standing in the aisle at Costco studying a very large bottle of olive oil, a delightful woman walked up beside me and picked up a green bottle I had not even noticed. She asked me if I have ever tried avocado oil. Not only had I never tried it….I had never even heard of it! On her advice I put a bottle in my already overflowing cart and went home to experiment.
I now believe that avocado oil is one of the best kept culinary secrets of our time.
Avocado oil, pressed from avocados, is rich in monounsaturated fat, making it a heart-healthy choice. Cold pressing produces a high quality and great tasting avocado oil, with very low levels of acidity and oxidization.
Cold pressed avocado oil retains its high levels of vitamin E, which is known to aid in improving skin tone and appearance. Vitamin E has also being shown in some research studies to potentially lower our risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and certain cancers.
These days a healthy kitchen has a variety of cooking oils, including avocado oil. A quick count in my kitchen turned up 6 different oils. Things have come a long way from the tub of Crisco in my grandmother’s kitchen.
One of the reasons avocado oil wins a place in my kitchen is for its high smoke point. The smoke point 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.
With a higher smoke point than olive oil, avocado oil is a better option for high-temperature cooking and has a rich, buttery neutral taste that doesn’t interfere with other foods. It is great to use in salad dressings, as a garnish for soups like gazpacho or drizzled over homemade pizza or crusty bread.
When choosing oils for your cooking needs, buy and use organic, unrefined, cold-pressed vegetable oils as much as possible.
Use extra virgin olive oil in salads or to add to cooked foods, but not for high temperature cooking. Another healthy fat, virgin coconut oil, is great for mid temperature cooking and is rich in vitamins and minerals.
Use avocado oil for high temperature cooking. It will not burn or smoke until it reaches 520F, which is ideal for searing meats and frying in a Wok. Even with frying, avocado oil retains its superior fatty acid profile, phytosterols and high antioxidant content.
And it tastes good too!