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Old 02-14-2007, 07:30 PM   #21
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I use extra virgin olive oil for sauces, salads, cooking, searing, sautéeing, and for frying eggs in the morning.
I find it most amusing that the "powers that be" tell us what we should and should not do with one of nature's finest ingredients, yet never mention the fact that MARGARINE is one molecule short of being a plastic...

They obviously have no tastebuds!

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Old 02-15-2007, 10:14 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by BraiseMeUpBeforeYouGoGo
Olive oil (just virgin, etc.) comes from either the second pressing of olives (EV olive oil comes from the first pressing) or from chemical agents used to extract the oil from the olives.
There is a lot in the quoted post I want to take issue with. I think I will have to break the original post into sections for an easier point-by-point reply.

To start with, there is no such thing as a second pressing of olives. Olives are pressed once and the byproduct of this pressing is a gritty mass consisting mainly of fragments of the olive pits and skins. Additional olive oil can be extracted from this mass at a different plant using chemical solvents. The olive oil produced this way is definitely unfit for human consumption and is to be used for production of industrial soaps and similar products.

What is then olive oil? It is simply refined extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), something that is done in order to improve some properties that would be making such EVOOs difficult to sell. Before anyone contests my statement that olive oil is supposed to be refined EVOO, let me explain matters first.

The designation EVOO refers merely to the processing method, ie. the pressing of the olives and the temperature of the water used to flush out the olive oil from the paste of crushed olives. As long as there is no extraneous processing (not even as little as filtration) and the specified temperature of water is not exceeded, the olive oil produced is indeed EVOO according to existing EU regulations. The fact that the oil produced in this manner can be classified as EVOO does not in any way imply that it is the fine product most of the consumers are accustomed to. To ensure the fine qualities that most discerning consumers would expect from EVOO, more is needed. This consists of using olives of high quality, ie. free of insect infestation, freshly collected, green or ripe, etc. Correspondingly, what could lower the quality of the pressed olives is insect infestation (as mentioned), spoilage (eg, molding when picked olives are kept too long or in warmer conditions than necessary before pressing), addition of inferior olives (such as olives that have fallen to the ground much before picking time and have begun to rot partially), to mention the most pertinent factors.

The quality of the olives pressed will reflect firstly in the acidity of the EVOO produced. Based on standard practices, an acidity higher than 1.0 would make the oil produced almost unsaleable as EVOO despite the fact that it certainly qualifies for this designation (EVOO). Other properties of the olive oil that may be affected are its colour and its particular taste (besides the more or less burning sensation in the esophagus that results from high acidity).

Therefore, once an EVOO of an unacceptable acidity is produced, there is little else to do but to subject it to chemical processing (neutralization with a base) that will bring the acidity down to within acceptable limits. Once this is done, there will be a market for such a product but the right to the designation EVOO has been lost. The new one for such a product is 'olive oil.' Other processing steps in the production of olive oil may include filtering, colour improvement, and blending to mention the most common ones. This kind of chemical processing should not be confused with extracting additional olive oil from the pressed mass using chemical solvents (eg. benzene or its derivatives) as the latter implies totally unacceptable health risks. In this respect, it would be ridiculous to fear carcinogenic chemicals produced from heating EVOO while ingesting proven carcinogenic solvents.

In the sense that it comes from the same olives, it's still olive oil but it has different chemical properties.
REALLY??? How can this be so? Olive oil from the same olives with different chemical properties than earlier produced olive oil out of the same olives? Is this some kind of a joke that I missed? Or am I to assume that olives produce two kinds of olive oil with one of them coming out on 'first pressing' to make way for the other one which will come out on 'second pressing?' I grew up believing that substances with different chemical properties are different substances. When did this change?

The fact that olive oil does not taste as good as EV olive oil is evidence of this. When oil is refined, the smoke point is increased. EV olive oil is the LEAST refined (first pressing), giving it its delicate flavor and aroma.
Just how does refining increase the smoke (screen) point? Neither you nor the article you quoted bother to even suggest why this should be so. However, the article takes it as a given and begins to weave yarn upon yarn of convoluted reasoning on this single premise. But what happens if this premise is wrong?

The science of the matter is that when oil smokes, it begins to decompose which can mean the introduction of carcinogenic chemicals (Alton Brown's deep frying episode had a good explanation of this using toy trains).
Science apart, there seems to be quite a variance in opinion as to what the smoking point in question is really, let alone whether cooking in EVOO implies that such a temperature is reached in the cooking pot utilized. BTW, how does science rate the carcinogens you fear versus the ones present in chemically extracted olive oils? Pardon my ignorance but who/what is Alton Brown? Is he a researcher, in the olive oil business, or perhaps a television 'personality?' If my hunch is correct and he is the last, then he should be automatically right I suppose. After all, all about EVOO, olive oil, smoking things etc. was said on tv. Right?

EV olive oil is probably the best tasting oil one can possibly consume, not to mention it's healthier, too. However, care has to be taken when cooking with it because of its low smoke point, that's all.
I can hardly argue with that since illustrious tv personae must have said so. It is only sad that we are going to witness several premature deaths (including my own) on DC, ie, the deaths of all of those who are foolhardy enough not to heed what tv says and continue to use EVOO for cooking as well.

Again, I point you to this article: WHFoods: Is it OK to cook with extra-virgin olive oil?
Impressive website design with a beautiful color scheme. Commendable non-profit organization too. However, decidely light-weight on scientific principles. By that I mean the unsubstantiated premise that refining olive oil raises its smoking point without even a hint at an explanation as to why/how it should be so.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating!
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Old 02-15-2007, 03:10 PM   #23
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I stand (sit?) corrected. Thanks, boufa, for enlightening us.

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Old 02-15-2007, 03:40 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by pacanis
Very interesting reading. I appreciate all the feedback!
Thank you for beginning the thread. Few conversations here are quite so adversarial and pardon me for saying it, luridly entertaining.

My best advise was in this earlier post. I look forward to hearing of your experience. Imagining what the results might be is not particularly useful.
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Old 02-15-2007, 07:31 PM   #25
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Please just tell me: Should I use EVOO? boufao6 do you use EVOO?
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Old 02-15-2007, 07:37 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Aria
Please just tell me: Should I use EVOO? boufao6 do you use EVOO?
In this post boufao6 said:

Just like Andy, I also use EVOO in all of my dishes that call for olive oil.
On the beautiful Monterey Bay, Calif. Life outside the kitchen
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Old 02-16-2007, 01:28 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by skilletlicker
Thank you for beginning the thread. Few conversations here are quite so adversarial and pardon me for saying it, luridly entertaining.
Does this mean I can ask about cooking with margarine, too?

Believe me, I got more out of these responses than I did by reading the labels for intended uses in the grocery store.

I caught part of Emeril last night. Three recipes I heard him say "olive oil". One, where he was melting butter, adding oil, garlic (insert cheering here) and seasoning for some garlic bread he said "extra V" which I took to mean extra virgin (I can be smart like that sometimes ). So, someone said Mario cooks with it all the time and Emeril cooks with it sometime. And boufa could care less because these chefs have a TV show and are considered personalities

So, I will have to play around with foods, heat settings, my new SS pans and the various olive oils, but at least now I am armed with half a dozen guidlines

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