Avocado oil is an edible oil pressed from the fruit of the Persea americana (avocado). As a food oil, it is used as an ingredient in other dishes, and as a cooking oil. It is also used for lubrication and in cosmetics, where it is valued for its supposed regenerative and moisturizing properties.
It has an unusually high smoke point, both unrefined and especially when refined. The smoke point of the unrefined form is 480 °F (249 °C) and the refined form can reach 520 °F (271 °C). The exact smoke point depends heavily on the quality of refinement and the way the oil has been handled until reaching store shelves and subsequent kitchens.
Because the avocado is a year-round crop, some olive oil processing facilities, particularly in Australia and New Zealand, process olive oil during the olive season, and avocado oil during the rest of the year.
Avocado oil was originally, and still is, extracted for cosmetic use because of its very high skin penetration and rapid absorption. Following drying of the avocado flesh to remove as much water as possible (≈65% water in avocado flesh), avocado oil for cosmetics is traditionally extracted with solvents at elevated temperatures. After extraction, the oil for application in skin care products is usually refined, bleached, and deodorized, resulting in an odorless yellow oil. Like extra virgin olive oil, cold-pressed avocado oil is unrefined and so retains the flavor and color characteristics of the fruit flesh.
Avocado oil is one of few edible oils not derived from seeds; it is pressed from the fleshy pulp surrounding the avocado pit. Extra virgin avocado oil from the Hass cultivar has a characteristic flavor, is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, and has a high smoke point (≥250 °C or 482 °F), making it a good oil for frying. ‘Hass' cold-pressed avocado oil is a brilliant emerald green when extracted; the color is attributed to high levels of chlorophylls and carotenoids extracted into the oil. Cold-pressed ‘Hass' avocado oil has been described as having an avocado flavor, with grassy and butter/mushroom-like flavors. Other varieties may produce oils of slightly different flavor profile as has been seen with ‘Fuerte,' which has been described as having more mushroom and less avocado flavor. As a culinary oil, avocado oil compares well with olive oil. It has a similar monounsaturated fat profile which helps to protect the oil from breakdown during heating. Avocado oil is naturally low acidic, helping to increase smoke point. An extra virgin avocado oil, characterized by a deep emerald green color (from avocado's chlorophyll content) can safely be heated to degree of 480 °F (249 °C) Both unrefined and refined avocado oil can safely be used to conduct almost any high heat cooking application including baking, stir-fry, deep-fry, sear, barbecue, roast and saute. Avocado oil is relatively new to the culinary world and is often mislabeled in regard to smoke point. It is important to note that like all oils, the more refined, the higher the smoke point.
The following table provides information about the composition of avocado oil and how it compares with other vegetable oils.
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|Polyunsaturated fatty acids||Oleic acid
|Total poly||linolenic acid
|Avocado||11.560||70.554||13.486||1||12.5||249 °C (480 °F)|
|Canola (rapeseed)||7.365||63.276||28.142||10||10||204 °C (400 °F)|
|Coconut||91.000||6.000||3.000||2||6||177 °C (350 °F)|
|Corn||12.948||27.576||54.677||1||58||28||232 °C (450 °F)|
|Cottonseed||25.900||17.800||51.900||1||54||19||216 °C (420 °F)|
|Flaxseed/Linseed (European)||7.500||15.500||79.000||64||15||11||107 °C (225 °F)|
|Olive||14.000||72.000||14.000||1.5||15||193 °C (380 °F)|
|Palm||49.300||37.000||9.300||10||40||235 °C (455 °F)|
|Peanut||16.900||46.200||32.000||32||48||225 °C (437 °F)|
|Safflower (>70% linoleic)||8.000||15.000||75.000||210 °C (410 °F)|
|Safflower (high oleic)||7.541||75.221||12.820||210 °C (410 °F)|
|Soybean||15.650||22.783||57.740||7||50||24||238 °C (460 °F)|
|Sunflower (<60% linoleic)||10.100||45.400||40.100||0.2||39.8||45.3||227 °C (440 °F)|
|Sunflower (>70% oleic)||9.859||83.689||3.798||227 °C (440 °F)|
|Values as percent (%) by weight of total fat.|
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