Extra virgin olive oil is the main pillar of the Mediterranean diet and we should take care of it the way it deserves. Such a valuable product is worth our attention both when conserving it and when using it for cooking. Today I'll share a few tips to make your oil last longer in optimal condition and to allow you to make the most of all its flavor.
You probably use extra virgin olive oil on a daily basis, just like me. Over the years I have learned to take care of little details that are often neglected in day-to-day use. Reading and listening to advice--anything is welcome when it comes to taking care of our liquid gold so as not to make any mistakes when using, consuming and conserving it.
The first mistake is crystal clear: cooking with anything other than extra virgin olive oil. The notion that extra virgin oil, being of higher quality, should only be consumed uncooked is widespread. But EVOO is perfect for cooking for a number of reasons. For instance, it boosts the flavor of foods and makes them conserve their properties much better--and that in itself is a health benefit.
HOW TO COOK WITH OLIVE OIL
When cooking with olive oil there are a number of very common mistakes that we often make. One of them is pouring some oil on a cold frying pan when we are going to prepare something grilled. Here we'll see that the oil starts smoking, meaning that it's burning, and you surely won't get the benefits you could from it.
What's the solution? Very simple: pour the oil on when the frying pan is already hot or pour it on the food we are about to put in the pan.
Another mistake is frying with very little oil. Contrary to what many think, food must be fully submerged in the hot oil to cook the fat part correctly. And some food might stick to the frying pan if you err on the stingy side.
NEVER GET RID OF OIL BY POURING IT DOWN THE DRAIN
My dear friend, because of my moral commitment to nature and what it gives us as human beings, take my word for what I am about to tell you. Never pour the oil you are no longer going to use down the drain. Sift it into a jar and take it to a local waste facility to avoid polluting and so that it can be recycled into soap, detergent or even bio fuel.
KEEP OLIVE OIL AWAY FROM HEAT SOURCES
Temperature is crucial for conserving oil. Until I was aware of this fact, I used to leave the bottle near the stove when I was cooking because I would be using it again right away. The oil will get warmer even though it's in the bottle, and that's not good for its conservation. My advice is clear: keep your bottle of oil away from the heat while you're cooking.
You should also consider the temperature when you are not cooking. Ideally, oil should be stored in a cool, dry place at a temperature of around 17° C (63° F). Also protect it from light, another factor that will accelerate its deterioration.
This is why I recommend storing the oil in a dark glass bottle, that way you will minimize the effect of light. Please note that Carapelli's bottles are perfect to guarantee the conservation of the oil's color, flavor and aroma.
THE BOTTLE SIZE DOES MATTER
The next mistake I have often made is that of not buying the right sized bottle (or can) according to how fast I am going to use the oil. I'll explain this. Before buying you should think of how long the product is going to be in use.
If you are not going to consume a large amount of oil over a short period, then you should buy smaller bottles. Why is this? As you use up the oil in the bottle, air takes up the space previously filled by our liquid gold. Oxygen speeds up the oil's deterioration. The larger the space taken up by oxygen, the greater the deterioration of the oil. This is why glass is better than plastic, because it lets less oxygen get in.
I've laid before you a series of common mistakes that we all make every now and then, and I'm no exception. The important thing is becoming aware of these facts, so that we can learn from the advice and put it into practice. EVOO is a living food and that's why we need to learn to conserve it. Carapelli seeks the maximum quality from the olive tree to our table. My advice seeks to prevent losing that quality. In any event, if you make any of these mistakes the oil is still perfectly usable. But if you avoid these mistakes, your enjoyment of extra virgin olive oil will be much greater!