I recently received some samples of avocado oil and decided it was time to play with it in the kitchen. Avocados are typically pricey, so as a cooking oil, my concern is always health first, but secondly – can I afford it?
The 16 fl. oz bottle of avocado oil is about $13.95. In contrast, high-end quality olive oil about the same size is about $12.50. So, the price difference isn’t really an issue. So why switch?
Health Benefits of Avocado Oil
The majority of essential fatty acids found in avocado oil are monounsaturated oleic acid, which is the same omega-9 EFA that won olive oil its status as a healthy oil. Oleic acid is known to have several positive effects throughout the body including lowering risk of some cancers, preventing flare-ups of certain auto-immune diseases, speeding cell regeneration and wound healing, aiding the body in repelling and eliminating microbial infections, as well as reducing inflammation inside and out.
Avocado oil is also very high in vitamin E, which is a fat-soluble vitamin is known for improving skin and eye health and bolstering the immune system. Vitamin E can improve the defense against oxidative damage to cells caused by free-radicals, improving memory and mental acuity, as well as increasing the overall efficiency of the digestive tract.
So, now that we’re wondering where Avocado oil has been all of our lives, how about cooking it?
Heating Avocado Oil
Along with healthy coconut oil, avocado oil is one of the best possible oils to have your kitchen for cooking with. The refined oil has a very high smoke point, usually listed as between 480 Fahrenheit and 520 Fahrenheit (270 Celsius). The samples I received claim to have a 500 Farenheit smoke point. This makes it a great choice for high heat stir-frys and other quick flash cooking.
Olive oil’s smoke point, by comparison, can depend on the grade of the olive oil and its processing, however low quality “cooking” olive oil is around 430 Fahrenheit smoke point which may be ok for medium heat cooking.
Cooking Ideas with Avocado Oil
Avocado oil is light and buttery tasting. It’s wonderful as is on salads with a little balsamic, rich and creamy, but it’s also fun to cook with.
Today I experimented with some fresh broccoli greens from my CSA (yes, you can eat broccoli leaves!), onion and mushroom. I did a quick stir fry with only avocado oil, seasoned and mixed with some good old fashioned cheapie ramen noodles.
The result? Outstanding. The avocado oil is light and doesn’t interfere with my seasoning choices of cumin and tumeric. The oil is light and absorbed perfectly into my vegetables and noodles.
Can’t wait to look for avocado oil my local store and play with it some more!
Nonstick pan by TeCHEF.
Photography by Brian O’Hearn