Virgin Olive Oil as Frying Oil
Frying is one of the oldest cooking procedures and is still among the most popular ones for food preparation. Due to their unique sensory characteristics, fried foods are consumed often and with pleasure. During frying, part of the oil is absorbed by the food, thereby becoming part of our diet; most interestingly, in the Mediterranean area a pproximately 50% of total fat intake is provided by cooking fats. Olive oil is the key lipid component of the Mediterranean diet, the health-promoting effects of which have been largely attributed to olive oil intake. Olive oil is unique among vegetable oils due to its desirable lipid profile and some of its minor components. Scientific evidence now indicates that during frying olive oil behavior is usually equal or superior to that of refined vegetable oils. Herein, an overview of virgin olive oil performance under frying is given, with special reference to the fate of olive oil microconstituents. The compositional changes of foods fried in olive oil are also reviewed and discussed in detail.