Avocado oil is a plant-based oil that is obtained from the avocado (Persea americana Mill., also Persea gratissima C.F. Gaertn.), the fruit of the avocado tree (Persea americana). The avocado belongs to the laurel family (Lauraceae); from a botanical perspective, avocados are actually berries. The avocado tree originated in the warm and humid tropical rainforests of Central America.
Avocado oil is an aromatic cooking oil that is a good choice for salads, appetizers, dips, and dressings. You should always look for high-quality oils, and if possible use only organic virgin, cold-pressed avocado oil. Avocado oil can be used as a carrier for other flavors.
Avocado oil is a triglyceride, or rather a mixture of many tri esters of fatty acids and glycerol. Of the fatty acids it contains, oleic acid is found in the highest proportion at about 52 %.
The high proportion of unsaponifiable phospholipids (lecithin) and phytosterols is typical of avocado oil. In addition, the colorless and oily liquid squalene, which makes up a significant part of the skin’s hydrolipid film, is one of these unsaponifiables. In contrast, avocado oil contains a relatively small amount of vitamins A, E, and D.
The oil is rich in monosaturated fatty acids (primarily oleic acid and palmitoleic acid) and saturated fatty acids (primarily palmitic acid). The oil is a good source of alpha-linolenic acid (0.96 g/100 g), but because of the high proportion of linoleic acid the ratio of ALA to LA is not ideal (13:1). Thanks to the high levels of saturated palmitic oil and the shielding effect of this fatty acid, avocado oil has a relatively high smoke point. However, you should only heat it briefly, if at all, as the monosaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids are transformed or destroyed during the cooking process.2
From Wikipedia: 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 subsequently kitchens.1
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 be safely heated to a temperature 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.1
Avocado oil is frequently used in cosmetics. Early on, the oil from avocados was used to protect the skin from getting rough or dry. New studies have shown that the positive effects on the skin are less a result of the dense vitamins found in avocados and more due to the unsaponifiables (components of oil that fail to form soaps when treated with sodium hydroxide (lye) or potassium hydroxide) they contain. The phytosterols in avocado oil make it easy to apply to the skin and allow it to be readily absorbed. Avocado oil is suitable for damaged and sensitive skin and thought to support cell regeneration and the moisture balance. Avocado oil is therefore also sold as anti-aging oil, in intensive care products for dry skin, and in hair care products for dry, brittle hair.