Can you reuse avocado oil?

In this brief discussion we will answer the question “can you reuse avocado oil?” by first introducing the chemical features of avocado oil that make it suitable for a healthy cooking method. Further, we will discuss some of the key ways by which avocado oil can be reused with a few key steps.

How is avocado oil made?

Avocado is the fruit of the plant Persea Americana or also called Butter Fruit Plant. The fruit contains pulp which is soft like butter and hence the name.  Avocado oil is obtained from the pulp of avocado fruit and has many nutrition values. As such, avocado does not have a strong taste or smell hence its oil is used for cooking purposes, skin care products, and for other external applications. 

Around 25% of the weight of the avocado is its oil.This is extracted from its pulp by mechanical means similar to olive oil where the pulp is malaxed for an hour at a high temperature of 50 deg celsius. This temperature helps in higher yield of oil without affecting its quality. After several rounds of centrifugation, the oil is separated from water and collected to be used later as extra virgin avocado oil. 

The green color from the flesh and pulp gives the characteristic color to the avocado oil. When refined with chemical or heating, these chlorophyll pigments are reduced and the oil takes a light yellow color. The green chlorophyll pigment present in the oil can be a cause of problems as this helps in photo-oxidation if oil is kept under direct light. Remember how the pulp turns to a dark color when kept outside for some time. 

Though avocado fruit doesn’t contain any proteins, it has many nutritional value owing to the presence of oleic acid, vitamins, monounsaturated fatty acids, and lutein. These fruits are a good source of unsaturated fatty acids and hence are also known to contain good and healthy fats. A drizzle of avocado oil in salad gives dietary benefits to your health.

What is the purpose of avocado oil?

The products from nature, when used properly, tend to heal us in many ways. Avocado oil also has many health benefits to us humans owing to its chemical composition and nutrient values. This oil is mainly used for cooking purposes or as dressing for salads. The high smoking point of avocado oil (271 deg celcius) prevents it from decomposing as the heat from the cooking never reaches this point. 

Some oil will produce smoke such as coconut oil on heating which causes the formation of free radical and toxic fumes. Since avocado oil’s smoking point is very high it can be used for deep frying, sauteing, and searing without worrying about breaking down the oil. There are other potential health benefits of using avocado oils such as lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, and improved heart health. 

Thus, substituting your daily intake with a healthy alternative can help you in many ways. Other than the health benefits from its intake, it has many cosmetic values such as hydrating your skin. People use it for healing chapped skin, calming itchy skin, promoting collagen content of your skin, treating dryness in the scalp, and the list goes on. No matter, avocados are dermatologists’ favorite piece of treasure.

Can we reuse avocado oil?

Like any other oil that is unsafe to use, avocado oil should also not be reused. Though the smoke point for avocado oil is high, with regular use these produce toxic elements such as 4-hydro-2-trans-nonenal or HNE which is a free radical linked to elevated levels of LDL cholesterol, liver disease, and an increased risk of stroke. Thus it is wise to know if the temperature has crossed the smoking point for every cooking episode which can be tedious. 

Avocado oils have a neutral flavor, but they tend to absorb the flavor of the food that is cooked with it. So next time you use the avocado oil it will not have its fresh flavor instead the flavor of the food cooked with it  and making it undesirable for future use. Reusing oil too many times makes it more destabilized and finally it decomposes. 

Their appearance also changes with regular reuse as the oil starts to decompose. Foams or gazy appearance of oil is an indication that oil should no longer be used. Avocado oil, with its regular use, tends to thicken and form a gummy consistency with darker color. This is due to the polymerization of oil molecules under the action of heat.

How to dispose of unused avocado oil?

The shelf life of an avocado oil is 1 -2 years or until the date of expiry as seen on the labels. Keeping it refrigerated will increase its shelf life, but once open, it is better to use it within the specified expiry date. However, this is true only for refined avocado oil. The fresh extracted oil that does not go through any processing will last for only 6 months. Hence, buying a small or required volume of oil will prevent its wastage.

The unused oil if discarded through the drain will stick in the pipes and doing it repeatedly will trap all the dirt with it. The best solution for this is to mix it with any detergent before discarding them through the drain. This way the stickiness of the oil will not be there to cause any blockage in the drain. 

Another way is to let it cool completely in a secured can and throw it in a recyclable trash can or send it to the recycling centers that accept the oil. Some companies accept cooking oil where it is degraded through anaerobic process and converted to biogas to power cars, heat water, and generate electricity.

In an experiment conducted , the team tested the extent to which avocado oil can be reused that depends on the type of food that is cooked with avocado oil. They cooked two food items separately, breaded chicken and potato, and tested the oil for contamination with a test kit. It was found that the avocado oil used to fry chicken did not last longer than the one that fried potato chips. Hence not suitable to be reused compared to the one that used potato chips. 

This experiment suggests that the reuse of avocado oil depends to a great extent on the type of food that is cooked with it. When food particles that could not be removed from the oil tend to make the oil rancid. Tiny food particles are hard to remove, even the ones that pass through a strainer. Once the oil is used for cooking, its quality is always compromised.

Conclusion

In this short report we have discussed whether it is wise to reuse avocado oil and ways to do it. We have also introduced several aspects of avocado oil that make it one of the suitable options for deep frying and cooking. On a final note, we have also discussed how frying different food affects the quality of avocado oil differently.

Frequently asked question (FAQs): Can we reuse avocado oil?

How many times can I reuse avocado oil?

The high smoking point of avocado oil prevents it from becoming rancid or releasing toxic substances and hence is a good choice for cooking, especially for deep frying. However, with regular reuse the quality of the oil is compromised and hence, most of the oil can be used for 3-6 times or even more if you are replenishing it with fresh oil.

Can I reuse oil after frying?

Frying any food leaves some particles in the oil. The used oil when stored with these food particles tends to become rancid and darkens giving an off flavor to the oil. Once used for deep frying, this oil is better off with other purposes such as the grease.

Reusing avocado oil also depends greatly on the type of food that is used to fry. As bread coated or flour coated items when deep fried, always leaves behind some food particles that cause rancidity in the oil making it unfit for further use. 

Is it ok to use avocado oil for deep frying?

Yes, avocado oil is good for deep frying as its smoking point is very high which means that this oil will not be burned off at the temperature used for deep frying. Whereas peanut oil, coconut oil, and palm oil, whose smoking point is less, are not suitable for deep frying. However, it should also be noted that reusing a frying oil, be it an avocado oil, has its disadvantages. The food particles that remain with the oil cause rancidity and oil quality is lost.

How do you reuse fried oil?

Well if you want to reuse your fried oil the best is to handle the used oil properly by following three steps – cooling, straining, and storing. Cooling the oil is very important as it is risky to play around with boiling oils. Also cooling will prevent the breakdown of oil and prevent it from becoming rancid. 

Strain out as many food particles as possible. Using a fine meshed sieve lined with cheesecloth will do the trick in the first pass itself. Leaving the food particle behind not only brings the nasty taste of the food but also lowers the quality of the oil. 

Oil tends to break down under exposure to oxygen and sunlight. Thus, it should be stored in an airtight container or a dark bottle away from sunlight.

What is the healthiest oil to cook with?

Though oils with high smoking points are always a healthy option but if you want to pick one then that will be to pick olive oil. Olive oil has slightly higher nutrition values due to more potassium, calcium, iron, and vitamins than the avocado oil. When we have to decide on the oil for high heat cooking it is good to go for avocado oil as it has a slightly higher smoking point than olive oil. 

In terms of the good fats, both oils have the same amount of monounsaturated fatty acids that promote a healthy heart.

References

Woolf, A., M. Wong, L. Eyres, T. McGhie, C. Lund, S. Olsson, Y. Wang, C. Bulley, M. Wang, E. Friel, and C. Requejo-Jackman, Avocado oil. From cosmetic to culinary oil, in Gourmet and Health-Promoting Specialty Oils, R. Moreau and A. Kamal-Eldin, eds., AOCS Press, Urbana, Illinois, USA, 2009, pp. 73-125.

https://www.webmd.com/diet/avocado-oil-good-for-you#1
https://www.mahoneyes.com/blog/how-to-dispose-of-cooking-oil-environmentally/

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