Canola vs Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by delta223, Oct 29, 2010.

  1. delta223

    delta223

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    Which do you guys think is the better choice for medium temperature cooking? I have read positive to both. I've also read that Canola comes from some cancer causing seed; not sure if I believe that but olive does seem to have the longer history.
     
  2. tylerm713

    tylerm713

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    Unless you are cooking something with a very strong flavor (in which case you can't taste the olive oil), I would suggest the olive oil. However, if you want to take the heat up, gotta go with something that has a higher smoke point. If I really need a hot pan, I usually go for refined safflower oil. Not much taste, but it can get screaming hot.
     
  3. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    The general rule is to not cook with extra virgin olive oil for cost and flavor reasons. Why, the reasoning goes, ruin that great (expensive) flavor with heat. So for cooking the recomendation is to use straight olive oil.

    That aside, there is a major difference between canola and any olive oil. Canola is neutral, bringing no flavor of its own to the table. Olive oil, on the other hand, is richly flavored, and, thus, affects whatever you're cooking in it.

    So, your choice isn't either/or, but, rather, which to use in a particular application.

    No comes the reality; or at least the reality of my kitchen. First off, I pay nearly the same for extra virgin as for straight olive oil. That being the case, I see no reason to keep two of them around, and often cook with the evoo.

    Second, the tale about carcinigens in canola is an urban legend, and you don't have to worry from that viewpoint. But it is produced from genetically modified rape, and I don't allow frankenfoods in my house. So Canola is never used. There's a long list of other neutral oils, however, so that's not a hardship.
     
  4. gunnar

    gunnar

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    Just stay away from Canola there are a few reasons the main one being what KYH said about it being a GMO. Safflower or Sunflower oil are great for med to high heat use and Olive oil for everything else. Unless your doing some cooking that specifically calls for peanut oil, which is great but strong flavored.
     
  5. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    If the consensus is that evoo and light flavored oils do different things, add me to it (the consensus not the oil).

    Evoo doesn't deep or pan fry well, but it's certainly very good for a lot of sautees -- and even for pan sears. 

    An oil which brings a lot to the party for both utility and flavor is peanut. 

    Corn oil is just as versatile, and with a skosh more character than sunflower, safflower or canola; but not as much as olive or peanut. 

    Evoo and corn cover our oil bases.

    BDL
     
  6. french fries

    french fries

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    I use EVOO for almost everything, and grapeseed oil for those times when I don't want the EVOO-taste to my dish.
     
  7. homemadecook

    homemadecook

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    For me, olive oil is still the best for me but, it is really expensive. /img/vbsmilies/smilies//frown.gif
     
  8. tylerm713

    tylerm713

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    Best for what? Making dressing or frying french fries? Olive oil is fine for sauteing some vegetables, but if I have a pan that needs to get hot or need to fry something, olive oil won't work. It will lose a lot of its flavor by getting so hot, and really won't be able to get as hot as I need it to. Extra virgin olive oil smokes at about 370-375*. Refined safflower oil smokes at about 510*. Just a better choice when high temp is needed. There really is no "best" oil. It's whatever is best for the job you are trying to complete.
     
  9. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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  10. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    It's true about people using olive oil for deep frying in the Med region.  Frequently though, they're using second press, third press, or even pomace, as opposed to evoo (first press).  That makes differences in lots of ways. 

    I have no theoretical objections to using evoo for pan and deep frying -- I just don't think it does a very good job for most things.  Temperature constraints aside, the results are too heavy and too greasy.  Used at a shallow depth, or mixed with a different oil -- different result.  If I seemed dogmatic, pardon me.  As far as I'm concerned cooking is results oriented.  Whatever works.

    BDL
     
  11. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    BDL I was just telling you about that so that you could try it for yourself.  I dare you to cook french fries in a peanut/oil mix.
     
  12. peterd

    peterd

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    The tale of Canola being a GMO product is just plain an untruth. In the 1960's, before GM was being done, it was noticed that some Rapeseed plants had healthier qualities than the average. Seed from these plants were selectively bred and all of the offspring from this breeding was called Canola. I was helping my father farm when this took place and there was much discussion among farmers about this "selectively bred" new crop.
     
  13. siduri

    siduri

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    Funny you say that Koukouvagia, again we agree.  I came to this gradually.  Bizarrely, i used to fry in pure extra virgin because for me it was cheaper.  (Cheaper because my inlaws would be giant bottles of it from the country where they knew the guy who made it so i didn;t have to pay for it!  I never even thought of buying any oil for any use, because paying anything is more than paying nothing and we had little money back then.  I then continued because i rarely fry stuff, and the oil i'd buy for frying would always get rancid between uses and have to be tossed out.  Now i do buy peanut oil because i pretty frequently make some japanese or chinese dish and though i used to use extra virgin even for this (!) (hey, it was free!) the peanut oil gives me the flavor i want.  So now that I have to buy my own oil,. i have peanut oil. but the olive adds flavor to fried things like potatoes, or various croquettes. 

    I never got the reason for this canola oil - it doesn't exist here and I can't understand why it would have become so popular that it actually is specified in many recipes.  I imagine it's some sort of marketing thing.  (Why, for instance, would the title of the thread be canola vs olive, when there are tons of different kinds of oil, why would canola be the only alternative to olive that comes to mind?)  What i understood about it is that it's got some more processing than regular oils - therefore more industrial, in some way.  Is that possible? 

    Third point, when another american here was asking me where to find crisco some italians who were there asked why she needed it - i explained it was a fat with no flavor for baking or frying.  And they said "well if it has no flavor, what's the point of using it?"
    good point!
     
  14. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Can-ola Developed and most of it manufactured in CANADA(therefore the name) from a generic change done to the rapeseed plant which at one time was used in manufacturing of paints.  Why so popular ? One reason is Canadian Government paid our government off as to be allowed to manufacture and export so much of it.to us. Another reason is thay have refined it to a point where it is almost tastless and has a high smoke point.

    Olive oil for deep fry ??  I dont think so, at least not here. Compared to a lot of other oils the smoking point is lower, when used for high heat frying it tends to get bitter. The color starts to change after use and tends to brown the product your cooking to fast.

    . Looking back it gained popularity in this country because of the health claims . It really only got popular with a lot of non Italian people here in the 80s.Many of the places I worked in both upscale and other prior to the 80s you did not even see it in the kitchen. They kept a bottle in dining room in case someone wanted on a salad..
     
  15. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Likewise with me.  Where I come from everybody makes their own olive oil (Krete produces some of the finest quality olive oil in the world).  My parents ship me a ton of of it after manufacturing every winter.  I have it in abundance.  Nobody even considers using anything different there for any purpose at all.  Of course I do like to have various oils, I have used grapeseed oil for stir fries, sesame oil for asian dishes, peanut oil for frying, vegetable and corn oil for frying (yuck!), and even crisco for cookies.  Somehow I always come back to olive oil.  I do not use canola oil though.  It's very irritating when I see someone making salad dressing with it.
     
     
  16. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    I never got the reason for this canola oil - it doesn't exist here

    Siduri, I don't know about your specific area. But it's available all over Europe, where it's called either Rape Oil or Rapeseed Oil.

    Because of the American reaction to the word "rape," it was never popular here until they changed the name (and, despite what PeterD says, the genetics).

    Its appeal for cooking is that it is a high smoke point, neutral tasting, oil.

    I never use it myself, partly for the reason your neighbors gave (if it has no flavor, why use it?), but mostly because I do not knowingly allow frankenfoods in the house.
     
  17. ishbel

    ishbel

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    Rapeseed oil is readily available in the UK - but under that name, not Canola.

    I never use it - one of the reasons is that I object to so much of the UK's countryside (even in cold Scotland and Wales) give so much of their fields over to the growing of the stuff and the bright yellow, in fact, eye-searingly yellow, looks so alien in our gentle fields!  I also object to the smell of the crop after it has flowered but before harvesting.  It is RANK!
     
  18. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    I also never heard of canola oil. To be honest, it sounds like something to wax your car with. Rapeseed oil is known around here, but I don't know a single person who ever uses it. I'm a little worried to buy stuff like this suddenly becoming popular. I wouldn't be surprised it's some genetic manipulated variety? Dito for soy-oil on my genetic manipulated not-to-buy list.

    I mostly use sunflower oil to panfry with; neutral taste, no smoking, high temperatures are never a problem.

    But, I also just ordered 5 liters of my favorite Italian (sorry Koukou) olive oil, coming from the Puglia regio (heel of Italy). The brand is Pruvas; they have a website, I thought it was "pruvas.it". I mainly use good olive oil in cold preparations or in low temperature preparations like to sweat onion/carrot/celery mix.
     
  19. ishbel

    ishbel

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    If I don't want the very obvious taste of olive oils when I fry, I mostly use sunflower oil.  I sometimes use peanut oil when I'm cooking Chinese,Malay, Thai (etc) foods.

    GM foods are still outlawed in the UK (or were last time I checked) - so I'm wondering if the rape grown here is different to the GM mod stuff used elsewhere...  hmmm  I need to investigate!
     
  20. siduri

    siduri

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    Never heard of rapeseed oil (or grapeseed oi either)l here.  There's a rice company that is tryinhg to convince people that rice is healthier than pasta and they even make rice pasta (why would you think less protein is "healthier", i don't know) and they just came out with rice oil.  (Oil in rice?  is it in the germ which they remove?  beats me).

    Here the fields are all covered in rape in the countryside, and it's sold for animal feed i believe.  But in the supermarket, where i can find a wide range of oils, i've seen olive, peanut, sunflower, and rice oils.  Then they have "frying oil" which is a mixture of the above.  I was curious one day and spent some time looking through them all, and never found anything with any name that referred to anything else.  Oh, and of course in the oriental food stores (I live sort of on the edge of what might be considered rome's chinatown) they have sesame and other oils.  In the super expensive specialty store they may have nut oils, though i never noticed. 

    GM foods are either not sold here or if they were, would certainly not be bought.