Avocado oil is a versatile, healthy cooking fat. So why isn’t it more of a staple? Here, we take a look at its benefits in relation to other commonly used cooking oils, and show why avo oil is worthy of a prime spot in your pantry.
FIRST OFF: WHAT IS AVOCADO OIL?
Avocado oil is oil that is pressed from the flesh of the avocado fruit. Most avocados – depending on the season and quality – yield, on average, 17mls of oil for every avocado pressed. The great thing about this oil is that it can be pressed from avocados in a variety of states: the ripe and ready-to-eat avocados you’d pick up at your local supermarket, as well as the ‘uglys’ – those with a few bumps, bruises and blemishes.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF COOKING WITH AVOCADO OIL?
Avocado oil is one of the healthiest oils around. It’s got the highest smoke point of all plant-based oils – higher than olive oil and canola (or rapeseed) oil – meaning that while other oils’ nutrients burn off at a certain temperature, avocado oil maintains its nutritional value up to a searing 270ºC.
Avocado oil is high in monounsaturated fat, most of which is oleic acid. This is considered better for your heart than the saturated fat found in coconut oil and butter. It is less prone to oxidation when compared to that of polyunsaturated fat, which makes up the majority of the fat concentration in cooking oils such as sunflower and corn oil. Avocado oil is also a great source of omega-9, and vitamin E (an antioxidant!)
WILL IT MAKE MY FOOD TASTE LIKE AVOCADO?
The flavour of avocado oil comes down to how it’s produced – is it extra-virgin or cold-pressed? Or refined? Extra-virgin and cold-pressed avocado oils are bright green, and have a rich, nutty taste. Refined avocado oil – oil like Healthy Oil, for instance, that has been naturally filtered of impurities – is clear in colour and more subtle in flavour: practically tasteless. Meaning it won’t impart overwhelming flavours on your food, like coconut, sesame or peanut oil will.
BUT WHAT ABOUT AVOCADOS AND SUSTAINABILITY?
With the benefits of avocado oil in mind, there remains a big question mark around the fruit’s impact on the environment. How much water it requires to grow. The social and economic conditions of the region in which it’s grown. The issue of avocado waste both globally and within the EU.
While the large amount of water needed to grow a kilogram of avocados is undeniable, technology is improving to allow for less wastage, to utilise rainwater better, and to improve upon irrigation. It might be surprising to some that avocados are listed as having a ‘medium’ water footprint, with a smaller water impact than that of apricots, mangoes, cherries and sweetcorn, among others.
When compared to other fruits such as tomatoes and bananas, avocados have the largest nutritional value per litre of water used to harvest it.
Farmers, importers, retailers and consumers are all taking major strides to become more environmentally and socially responsible, more conscious of their – our! – collective impact on the food industry and earth. Farmers in particular strive to be a part of programs such as GLOBALG.A.P, which promotes and certifies good agricultural practices. Retailers are publishing annual sustainability reports, with transparency around food waste front of mind. Consumers are buying into the idea of imperfect fruit and veg, and moving towards more sustainable diets.
But, despite this, every week there remain mountains (millions!) of avocados that get shipped to the Netherlands only to be rejected and discarded for not being ‘pretty enough’ for stores. And until that ends, Soilmates will always have work to do.
SOILMATES: TURNING UGLY INTO OIL
Soilmates care about both body and soil. We believe that everything our bodies need comes from nature: it’s all already in our soil. Which is why our avocado oil – Healthy Oil – is pressed from ‘category two’ or ‘industrial’ avocados only – those that have been rejected by supermarkets for being ‘too ugly’ for shelves. Healthy Oil has 30 uglys in every bottle, which may seem like quite a lot, but really it makes up just some of the eight million that are rejected every week, in the Netherlands alone.
Soilmates’ uglys are local avocados, saved at the source – from the port right here in Rotterdam. They all come from GLOBALG.A.P-certified farms. And they are all just as healthy as the prettiest you’d buy in Albert Heijn. Which is also where you can find Healthy Oil: 100% ‘ugly’ avocado oil. Your new best friend in the kitchen.