The Price of Olive Oil Is Too Damn High

The Price of Olive Oil Is Too Damn High

Olive oil has many known benefits, from the subtle taste it imparts to food to its status as a heart-healthy food. In recent months, due to weather-related shortages, the cost of olive oil has more than doubled. Given the rising prices, and the scarcity of it, you might be wondering when it’s OK to substitute in a cheaper oil, such as vegetable or canola.

Replacing olive oil with a different oil requires taking two main factors into consideration: taste and smoke point. Olive oil has its own unique taste, one that doesn’t always lend well to substitution, while substitutes may or may not complement the original recipe. For other recipes, the smoke point, which is the temperature at which oil starts to smoke, which will set off your fire alarm and lead to a bitter, burnt taste.

Consider whether you need it for the taste

For recipes where the taste of olive oil is an important aspect of the finished product, such as being used as a finishing element, drizzled on top to complement the taste, it’s probably best to splurge on the real deal, and to use it in judicious amounts.

When taste is an important element of the dish, another option may be to substitute butter for olive oil, which can be used in baking and cooking. The end result won’t be quite the same, but it’s guaranteed to be delicious.

However, if the taste of olive oil isn’t a prominent feature of a dish, then it can work to substitute a relatively neutral oil, such as vegetable or canola oil, which are cheaper and more readily available. This includes using vegetable or canola oil in salad dressings or when sauteing.

Consider the smoke point 

The smoke point of olive oil depends on the type of oil, with extra virgin olive oil having a lower smoke point than refined olive oil. Extra virgin olive oils tend to have a smoke point between 350⁰ to 410⁰ F, while refined olive oils range between 390⁰ to 470⁰ F. The smoke point of vegetable oil ranges between 400⁰ to 450 ⁰ F, while canola oil has a smoke point of 400⁰ F, which is slightly above most extra virgin olive oils, and within the range of refined olive oil.

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