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4 Tips To Make Sure You Are Getting The Most Value From Olive Oil
It has been well established by now that extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest foods in the world. The combination of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and heart-healthy compounds just can’t be beat. But as with any other product, the quality of what you are buying can vary significantly, and many shoppers can unknowingly end up buying a subpar olive oil, or spoiling the good oil they already have. Here are some simple tips you can follow to make sure you are getting the best oil for your money and preserving it once it is in your home.
Tip #1: Do not store your olive oil near a source of heat. This includes the stove, ovens, or even leaving it on a window shelf that gets a lot of sun. Heat can degrade the polyphenol compounds found in olive oil and ruin its flavor. It is a much better idea to store olive oil in a cupboard or pantry that is safe from heat and light.
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Tip #2: Choose olive oils which are sold in dark glass bottles. The best olive oils tend to be sold in dark green or brown glass bottles. The color shields the oil from sunlight and prevents it from spoiling. Clear glass bottles do not offer this protection, and plastic bottles can contain chemical compounds which can seep into the oil, especially if the bottle gets too hot. Olive oil sold in metal containers is a better choice, but ideally, you should go for the varieties sold in a dark glass.
Tip #3: Don’t keep olive oil for too long. A decent extra virgin olive oil has a shelf life of about 24 months after it is opened. The problem with these giant tins of olive which are the size of a can of gasoline is that they will probably last a lot longer than that in a typical household. You simply can’t go through that much oil fast enough unless you’re working in a cafeteria or restaurant. Olive oil which outlives its shelf life will taste rancid and increasingly unpleasant, and its health benefits will erode as well. Make sure your oil is fresh.
Tip #4: Do not use olive oil for cooking over high heat. This is a common mistake that even experienced cooks can make. Very high temperatures will ruin both the nutritional benefits and the flavor of extra virgin olive oil. So, for cooking methods like frying, consider using a different oil such as vegetable or canola. For sautéing and poaching, olive oil can be used. Just be mindful of the temperature.
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