The Dish on Olive Pomace Oil *Read before Buying*

Sounds like Olive Oil but at half the price? Think twice. When it comes to cooking oils, olive oil has always been a go-to option for its health benefits and distinct taste. Enter olive pomace oil - a lesser-known oil that is often marketed as a healthier and cheaper alternative to olive oil. But what exactly is it, and is it as healthy as it claims to be? In this blog post, we will explore the details about olive pomace oil and help you make an informed choice.

close-up-of-patterns-in-olive-pomace-oilWhat is Olive Pomace Oil?

Olive pomace oil is made from the waste products of olive oil production. Olive pomace is the residual paste made from leftover skins, pulp, and pits of the olives (basically after they've already been squeezed dry for EVOO and regular olive oil and everything in between). These materials are processed with solvents like hexane* to extract the remaining oil, which is then refined with heat and chemical treatments, and then blended with some virgin olive oil to improve its flavor. "Waste" and "solvents"??? There are so many red flags in the process alone and this is why olive pomace oil doesn't fly with us. Nonetheless, let's evaluate the nutritional qualities of olive pomace oil.

Nutritional Content of Olive Pomace Oil

Olive pomace oil is high in monounsaturated fats, which are considered to be "good fats" that can help reduce the risk of heart disease when consumed in moderation. However, the heat and chemical treatments that remove impurities and improve the oil's clarity and stability are the same processes that strip away the natural compounds and antioxidants found in virgin olive oils. It is also higher in free fatty acids, which explains its less desirable flavor.

So... is it even healthy?

The reality is olive pomace oil is not anywhere close to the high-quality and nutritious extra-virgin olive oil, but has a higher smoke point, making it more suitable for high-heat cooking methods such as frying and grilling. However, it is still important to consume it in moderation and look for reputable brands to ensure that it has undergone proper refining processes to remove the solvents and other impurities used in its production. For high heat cooking, we believe there are better alternatives out there which we've covered in our Cooking Oil Cheat Sheet.

Is Olive Pomace Oil even Real Olive Oil?

Olive pomace oil is a legal and regulated term in the European Union, and it is classified as a type of virgin olive oil. However, it is important to note that some manufacturers may mix it with cheaper oils or label it incorrectly, so it's hard to know exactly what you're getting. None of the Italians we know (and we know many) would buy Olive pomace oil so... 😶‍🌫️

*In case you're wondering what this is, see what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has to say about Hexane.

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