Vegetable or Olive: Does it Matter in Used Cooking Oil?

August 17th, 2019 |  Blog and Used Cooking Oil
Olive Oil Poured In Pan

Commercial kitchens use a variety of oils to prepare the meals customers crave, but few are more popular than vegetable and olive oil. Cooks know both oils have unique properties that make them the best choice for various dishes, but how do those differences play out when it comes to recycling? If you’re curious about how the type of oil you use affects the recycling process, SeQuential explains everything you need to know about the differences in used vegetable oil and used olive oil.

Smoke Point and Used Oil

Chefs determine which oil is best for the task based on a number of factors, including smoke point. This refers to the temperature at which the oil starts to break down, producing smoke and potentially diminishing the flavor of the finished product. Vegetable oil has a high smoke point, so it is often used for preparation methods that require high temperatures, such as deep-frying. Because foods are submerged in oil for this style of cooking, small pieces are likely to break off and stay behind in the fryer. This can cause used vegetable oil to be thicker with a higher percentage of solids. Filtering the oil with a cheesecloth or coffee filter after frying can help cut down on these solids to allow re-use and reduce the risk of bacteria.

Due to its mid-range smoke point, olive oil is a better choice for lower-temperature applications, such as grilling and pan-frying. Pieces of cooked foods can still break off and collect in olive oil, but due to the lower ratio of oil to food, the percentage of solids after use is typically lower.

Oil Re-Use and Recycling

All cooking oil will deteriorate over time, but the smoke points noted above will determine how often you can re-use each variety and when you must recycle them. Olive oil is often prized for its distinctive flavor and aroma, both of which are imparted to the foods it’s used to prepare. Due to its lower smoke point, however, these qualities will break down more quickly during the cooking process. This limits your ability to re-use olive oil, sending it to your oil collection container more quickly.

In contrast, cooks choose vegetable oil because it lacks a distinctive taste and scent. When cooking with this oil, the flavors and aromas of food should shine through alone. This allows longer re-use of vegetable oil, so you can serve up several batches of fried foods without cleaning the deep fryer. When used oil develops a smell or changes color, it’s time to discard it. Failure to do so can result in food-borne illnesses, lower food quality and diminished customer satisfaction.

Used Oil Recycling Made Simple

No matter which type of oil you use, recycling it with SeQuential allows us to turn everyday kitchen waste into clean, highly efficient biodiesel that fuels vehicles and greatly reduces environmental impact. Taking advantage of our used cooking oil collection service is simple – there’s no need to separate your oils by type, and we’ll provide a free collection container to help you get started. To learn more about how we help businesses from Washington to California recycle used cooking oil, contact us today. We’ll explain the process and arrange regular pickups that work with your schedule, making it easy to properly dispose of used cooking oil of all kinds.