Giada’s answering all of your questions about olive oil – and doing some mythbusting while we’re at it!
If there’s one ingredient out there with tons of contentious misinformation surrounding it, it’s gotta be olive oil. You can cook with it, you can’t cook with it, it’s good for you, it’s bad for you – we have a feeling you probably already know where we stand on all that, but we’re here to get to the bottom of it and do some olive oil mythbusters.
Can you cook with extra virgin olive oil?
Yes! There’s a reason it’s one of the most popular cooking oils in the world – it’s heart-healthy, it tastes great, and it works really well for most cooking.
Is the smoke point of olive oil too low to cook with?
It depends – but for most cooking, yes, olive oil is fine. The smoke point of extra virgin olive oil is about 425 – 450 degrees – so unless you’re grilling, cooking in a cast iron pan or doing some really high-heat roasting, you’re going to be just fine.
Is it okay to buy olive oil in plastic bottles?
It’s okay, but not necessarily ideal. First of all, plastic doesn’t provide the same kind of heat and light protection that dark glass can. Secondly, it’s said that small molecules of plastic can leak into the oil – which we definitely don’t want! We always prefer buying in glass bottles – read our guide to buying olive oil for more info!
Does olive oil last forever?
Nope, nope, nope! For some reason, it’s a common myth that olive oil lasts forever – or that it can even get better as it matures with age, like wine! Unfortunately, because olive oil is essentially pure fat, it can go rancid – and a lot quicker than you think. Giada recommends that you try and use up your bottle of olive oil within a month. If you’re storing it properly, however (in a cool, dark place) and the bottle is very dark, you can potentially use the olive oil for even longer. So basically, if you ever get gifted a really nice bottle of olive oil… don’t save it, use it!
Can I cook with unfiltered olive oil?
This is the one olive oil we recommend you don’t cook with. Generally, unfiltered oils are more expensive, and much stronger in flavor – something you can lose when cooking something. It’s best to let that prominent flavor shine by using it for finishing a salad, seafood, meat, or even drizzling over gelato.