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Exploding Olive Oil

bonnieruth's picture

My DH has been pulling my bottle of olive oil away from the counter by the stove where I'm using it, saying that like any other oil, it can explode when heated; and the risk is even worse if it is opened, which it of course usually is.  He is an engineer and a heat transfer expert, and I don't doubt what he says, but it puzzles me that with all the reading and discussing I do about cooking, I have never heard this before.  Is this common knowledge?  Or has anyone else even heard of it?

Heather's picture

(post #37822, reply #1 of 28)

I would think it would have to get mighty darn hot before it would explode. I have some right by my stove too and have never worried about it.

MadMom's picture

(post #37822, reply #2 of 28)

I agree with Heather.  Now, if you put it directly on a lit burner, it might eventually get hot enough to explode, but on a nearby counter?  Ask him at what temperature it would explode, and decide for yourself if your counter gets that hot.



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Heather's picture

(post #37822, reply #4 of 28)

I think if it were hot enough to explode the olive oil it would be much too hot to stand next to the stove to cook! LOL

bonnieruth's picture

(post #37822, reply #5 of 28)

Thanks for all of your responses.  I will relay them to DH and see what he says. 

Napie's picture

(post #37822, reply #13 of 28)

No doubt, that would be one hot kitchen.

Gretchen's picture

(post #37822, reply #3 of 28)

I have about 3 bottles of oil by my most used burners. I don't think it would be possible unless there was a fire.

Gretchen

Gretchen
leonap's picture

(post #37822, reply #6 of 28)

The taste of your olive oil will probably degrade faster being close to your stove, but I agree with everyone else. Here is a suggestion and some reading for you. The suggestion being to put a thermometer where you usually keep your oil so you can ease DH's concerns and if we're all correct here, you may delight in proving him wrong!

http://cesonoma.ucdavis.edu/hortic/pdf/iocc_standards_purity_grade.pdf

The above article says that virgin olive oils have a flash point of between 410-428 degrees Fahrenheit. See page 6. Probably should be pointed out that smoke point is lower than the flash point -- just to increase your credibility when you hopefully prove him wrong. Hee hee. Keep us informed, please.

Gretchen's picture

(post #37822, reply #7 of 28)

Actually there is an example of a bottle exploding--cap popped off. They "explained" it, but I think it is REALLY a stretch, and I don't see how it could have been that hot.

Gretchen

Gretchen
JillElise's picture

(post #37822, reply #8 of 28)

I don't know anything about exploding oil, but it's lovely that your husband watches out for you.

bonnieruth's picture

(post #37822, reply #9 of 28)

I don't know anything about exploding oil, but it's lovely that your husband watches out for you.


LOL, you're right, it is! 

Astrid's picture

(post #37822, reply #10 of 28)

I have a gas stove and have also cooked french fries in a commercial fryer, so am a little touchy about the use of oil on or near a stove top. I keep the oils I use in my pantry.
One reason oils may explode is super heat, water in the oil, or cold items dropped into very hot oil.

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Edited 8/24/2009 6:18 pm by Astrid

New Mexico home organic gardener Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience. Emerson
bonnieruth's picture

(post #37822, reply #11 of 28)

Ah, so maybe there is something to this.  I haven't had a chance to show all my feedback to DH yet, but I was wondering about deep frying, for instance.  Surely that heats oil hotter than it would get in a bottle next to the stove?  I'll ask him about that, too.

shar999's picture

(post #37822, reply #12 of 28)

Maybe it has something to do with the cap being screwed on tightly.  Can't wait to hear what your hubby says.

unbaked's picture

(post #37822, reply #14 of 28)

My father was originally a heat transfer engineer before he was drafted into computing in the 50's. What your DH did reminds me so much of my dad, lol. Brilliant, but they will get on your last nerve at times, hehe.

'The desire to make an effort to improve the lives of those around you does not yet live in everyone, but it does live in everyone who cooks.' -Bill Penzey, one magazine

'The desire to make an effort to improve the lives of those around you does not yet live in everyone, but it does live in everyone who cooks.' -Bill Penzey, one magazine

kathymcmo's picture

(post #37822, reply #15 of 28)

My Dad and yours are surely chatting in heaven! Mine was an aerospace engineer so he would probably know some stuff about heat transfer. Funny coincidence!

bonnieruth's picture

(post #37822, reply #16 of 28)

DH replies:


Thank you, everyone, for your kind thoughts.  I agree with the responders who felt the oil would rarely get to the flash point.  My concern was more the proximity of a potential liquid fuel (olive oil) to an open flame (my DW's cherished gas stove).  The possibility of the slender bottle of olive oil being tipped over into the fire sets off my engineer's alarm bells.  The burner metal is probably 500 degrees F., and if the spilled oil touches the burner, a thin film of some oil will be above the flash point and the open flame will ignite it.  The burning oil and fire could spread to anything (oil, wood, clothing) combustible nearby.  A liquid fuel next to an open flame is a fire waiting to happen.

Gretchen's picture

(post #37822, reply #18 of 28)

It is easy to remedy, but I think still overly cautious. It is probably more a matter of huriting the quality of the olive oil than any danger.  I would also thinnk that if olive oil went over the flame, it would smother it and just make a G Awful mess.  ;o)

Gretchen

Gretchen
Adele's picture

(post #37822, reply #19 of 28)

Aha!  As I've been reading this thread and cooking, I found I was touching my olive oil container to see if it got hot.  Nope.  Now I see it's the possibility of it tipping over, which will now of course happen since it was mentioned. :)


Solving the problem?  Get a bigger bottle.  LOL


 


But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

soupereasy's picture

(post #37822, reply #20 of 28)

Isn't it lovely to have someone care that much?! :)

bonnieruth's picture

(post #37822, reply #21 of 28)

It is, yes.  He got very amused by my posting and all the discussion.  We ended up talking about flash points and ignition points and heat transfer in the middle of the night, LOL!

kathymcmo's picture

(post #37822, reply #22 of 28)

Hmmmm, ignition points and heat transfer in the middle of the night--sounds pretty sexy!

bonnieruth's picture

(post #37822, reply #23 of 28)

LOL!  Actually I changed my sentence from "...and heat transfer in bed in the middle of the night" because the sexy interpretation occurred to me. 

UncleDunc's picture

(post #37822, reply #24 of 28)

>> Actually I changed my sentence ...

LOL. Not fixable. No matter how you phrase it, "heat transfer", "ignition points", and "middle of the night" are going to trigger the same reaction.

Doodabug's picture

(post #37822, reply #25 of 28)

It's always good to talk about it.

SallyBR1's picture

(post #37822, reply #26 of 28)

Perfect topic of conversation.... :-)

 


 


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unbaked's picture

(post #37822, reply #17 of 28)

My Dad spent most of his career in Aerospace. Hughes, JPL, Caltech, etc.

'The desire to make an effort to improve the lives of those around you does not yet live in everyone, but it does live in everyone who cooks.' -Bill Penzey, one magazine

'The desire to make an effort to improve the lives of those around you does not yet live in everyone, but it does live in everyone who cooks.' -Bill Penzey, one magazine

Ginnyj's picture

Exploding olive oil (post #37822, reply #27 of 28)

I just had this happened! I use an electric stovetop, it does not get that hot and my home is not of an out of he ordinary temperature. My bottle of oilve oil was next to my stovetop. I heard a loud pop and a crash. My twist off cap blew off the bottle and the bottle fell off the counter spilling olive oil all over my kitchen floor as well as knocking other items off the counter! Incredible. Considering keeping the cap loose on future bottles. 

Pielove's picture

yikes! (post #37822, reply #28 of 28)

...Glad noone was hurt!