In this article we take a close look at avocado oil vs olive oil, two very popular products. Most of us have at least one, if not both, in our pantries.
When it comes to cooking, the fat you choose can make a big difference in the taste, texture, and the health benefits of your meals. Both have their own unique flavor and nutritional profile, but which one is better?
Why Fats Matter
Humans have a natural preference for foods that are high in fat because our bodies requires it for a variety of functions. Fat is an essential nutrient that provides energy, insulation, and protection for our organs.
Furthermore, throughout human history, high-fat foods were scarce and valuable, making them highly sought after. Our ancestors who were able to find and consume high-fat foods were more likely to survive and pass on their genes to future generations. So we are literally built to crave and desire it.
In addition, fat builds the base for pretty much any savory dish. And the same could be said about sweets. Without it, food doesn't get quite as crispy or taste quite as rich.
For example, who doesn't like extra crispy french fries? A juicy beef burger is so good because it has a certain percentage of fat. And who doesn't love the smell and sizzle of perfectly fried chicken? Fat is a food that we humans naturally need and love!
One of the main concerns consumers voice is around health and smoke point, both of which require a fair amount of unpacking.
Technically both products we're talking about today are considered healthy alternatives to other cooking fats, such as butter or canola oil. However, they have different nutritional profiles, health benefits, flavors, smoking points, and uses. Let's dive in.
Avocado Oil vs Olive Oil
Consumers want to know, which is better for everyday cooking. While both are great options, one offers far better health benefits, flavor, and depth.
To fully compare the two, let's take a look at how each product is made, the refinement process, and more.
The cooking fat section of the grocery store can be a lot. And while perusing you might notice a large range of prices. There's a few reasons for this.
Olive oil is very expensive to produce. It takes a tree between three to seven years to become mature enough to yield any fruit. In sustainable groves, it often takes ten or fifteen years to yield an abundant harvest. This means farmers must wait ten to fifteen years to get a true return on their investment.
In addition, the final yield of product is quite low compared to that of the avocado fruit. This greatly contributes to the price difference.
Avocado trees are similarly slow to grow. Farmers can expect to wait between three to seven years before the plant is mature enough to produce any fruit. However, the yield is between three to five times greater than that of the olive fruit. This is crucial because it means the overall harvest and yield is larger, resulting in more product and more affordable pricing.
What is Avocado Oil?
Avocado oil is made from the fruit of the avocado tree using a variety of different extraction methods. The fruit is native to Mexico and Central America, however, now grows all over the world including California, Florida, Hawaii, and even Sicily!
It's a subtropical plant so thrives in warm climates but doesn't do well with cold winters. This is why it also grows well in warm Mediterranean climates.
As a Fruit
Avocados are incredibly popular in the Americas because they can be used in many different ways. They can be sliced, mashed, or blended to create spreads, dips, or sauces. Looking at you guacamole.
They're also a very popular ingredient in salads, sandwiches, wraps, and smoothies. And can even be used as a substitute for other fats in baking recipes.
Avocados have also become an internet sensation, especially on social media with people showing off their perfectly sliced avocado toast, smoothie bowls, and using the fruit as a base for other recipes. They're very visually appealing and this is one of the reasons people are so drawn to them.
However, we don't usually think about the fruits by products. Avocados can be transformed to make other things.
What Does It Taste Like?
It has a mild, buttery and slightly nutty flavor and is known for its smooth and rich texture. The taste can vary slightly depending on the variety of avocado used to make it and the method of extraction.
Generally, high-quality products have a subtle taste and aroma that enhances the flavor of the foods it is used with, without overpowering them.
What is the Smoke Point?
Avocado oil has a smoke point of 485°F (250°C) which makes it suitable for cooking at high temperatures.
The Health Benefits
Avocado oil has loads of health benefits. For starters, it's rich in monounsaturated fats, which can help reduce inflammation and improve heart health. It also contains vitamins E and K, which are important for healthy skin, hair, and nails.
It should also be mentioned that eating the fruit whole also has additional benefits and it's one of the reasons the fruits by products have become so popular.
What is Olive Oil?
Olive oil is made from the fruit of the olive tree, which is native to the Mediterranean region. It's extracted using mechanical means and must meet certain physiochemical standards.
There are different grades and the method of production changes based on the type. For example, virgin and extra virgin products must meet even higher standards.
Related: What Makes an EVOO 'Extra Virgin'?
What is the Smoke Point?
The smoke point of olive oil is 470⁰F (245°C) making it a great option for everyday cooking. However, it stands apart from avocado oil due to its stability.
The Health Benefits
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. It also contains antioxidants that can protect your body against oxidative stress and inflammation.
In addition, it can potentially prevent Alzheimer's Disease and cancer.
Which One Should You Use?
Olive oil is the better overall cooking fat because it's more stable and lends more flavor and depth to food. In addition, it offers much greater health benefits because it contains both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. It's also must richer in antioxidants.
Avocado oil is a good neutral cooking fat that's an ideal choice if you're looking for a more affordable cooking fat. However, it doesn't have as many health benefits or the depth of flavors of a high-quality EVOO.
Which One is Better for Everyday Cooking?
Olive oil is better for everyday cooking because it's a more stable cooking fat which is very important. The difference in smoke point is minimal and does not impact the needs of home cooks who are sauteing, roasting, frying, or baking.
Both cooking fats have their own unique benefits and uses. It depends on your own personal cooking needs, taste preferences, and budget.
They're both good options for home cooks, however, olive oil offers more health benefits and bigger bolder flavors.
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