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May 13, 2010 03:51 PM

Olive *pomace* oil?

The Husband and I accidentally picked up a giant bottle of olive "pomace" oil from the store, and of course, lost our receipt.

I've read that it's made using solvents and industrial processes and that it shouldn't be used for cooking.

How bad is it, and if horrible, what on earth can we use it for?

Many thanks-

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  1. Solvents are commonly used to process vegetable oils , so that's nothing especially worrisome unless you avoid anything but cold/expeller pressed oils, but it is the lowest grade of olive oil. Since you can't return it, you might as well try it - it's not going to hurt you - but if you don't like it, the only alternate use I can think of offhand would be making soap. :)

    1. The stuff that's unsuitable for human consumption is sold as "lampante" oil, not pomace oil. Yes, pomace oil is extracted using heat and solvents (usually hexane). But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be used for cooking.

      If that were the case, you couldn't use commercial oils from canola, corn, grape seeds, peanuts, safflower, soybeans, or sunflower seeds, either. They're all extracted using similar industrial processes. So unless you're limiting yourself to cold-processed expeller-pressed oils (which tend to be horrendously expensive and poorly suited for many applications), you don't need to worry about the process by which olive pomace oil is extracted.

      As far as uses for pomace oil, it's versatile stuff. It has a very high smoke point and no discernible flavor, so it's good for deep-frying, stir-frying, baking, and any other application where you might use another neutral vegetable oil. But the key is "neutral vegetable oil." This stuff is a substitute for canola, not EVOO. Although it does have olive oil's lipid profile, if that's important to you.

      The biggest problem with the stuff is that it's pretty hard to find. There was actually a thread around here a while ago where somebody was trying to figure out where to buy it. Consider yourself lucky to have stumbled across it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: alanbarnes

        Brooklyn must be on a different planet; pomace is readily available here, even in some rather "off" neighborhood supermarkets. $7.99/100 oz this week at my local. Would I buy it instead of a gallon of vegetable oil? No, considering the price difference between the two. I think people see the "olive" designation on the label and get sucked in, thinking it's possibly some sort of high end olive oil variation, without the $$$. Olive pomace oil, it sounds good, right?

        I don't find it completely devoid of olive flavor, but I wouldn't use it as anywhere near a sub for EVOO. it does have it's deep frying, baking and sautéing applications. Use it up without fear.

        1. re: Annie S.

          I use it to make chicken confit. 4 lg chicken leg quarters aggressively salted. Then sandwich between 2 pair of leg quarters-each pair 2 cloves of garlic 10 peppercorns 2 bay leaves and 3 or so tyme sprigs. Cover and overnight in fridge. Put the peppercorns garlic tyme bay leaves in bottom of a dutch oven. Quick rince most of the salt of chicken legs and place skin side down in the dutch oven. Cover with 4 cups olive oil the 200 degree oven for 12hrs. Cool pick meat into jar and cover with the oil great stuff. Use in Emeril's confit and pasta rags recipe or on salads.


        2. I would just use it to deep fry.
          The confit idea previously suggested sounds really good too. I've done it before with a chuck roast (albeit I used EVOO),less time, and some hearty herbs added. The meat was shredded, mixed with a bit of the fat and then shaped like a log and rolled very very tightly in plastic wrap. After a chill overnight, the roll set up, and was sliced and fried just until reheated and golden on both sides. Delicious, and looks really cool too.

          1. I've always heard it described as "bottom of the barrel". That it wasn't as clarified as regular olive oil, but not that it was horrible. I know plenty of chefs that use it on purpose.

            2 Replies
            1. re: coll

              "Bottom of the barrel" may be a fair descriptor. It's what's left in the olives after all the delicious premium oils have been removed. But what with all the processing it undergoes, it's actually more clarified than regular olive oil. Thus the very high smoke point.

              1. re: alanbarnes

                Thanks for the info, I needed that!