The use of Olive Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Make sure you use a cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, and know your harvest or milling date in addition to the best use date.
Olive oil is best used within 12-18 months of the harvest date. Once opened, use it within 6 months and store it away from light, air and heat. Rancidity happens when an oil has been exposed to heat or light or is simply old, so following these storage tips will help to slow this natural process.
Cooking with extra virgin Olive Oil? Yes!
Extra virgin olive oil is a great and much tastier substitute for butter and other cooking fats when cooking and baking. Its use provides a depth of flavor, antioxidants and monounsaturated fat, elements which are still preserved when heating.
You can use extra virgin olive oil in just about any application, including sautéing and frying. The Extra Virgin grade has the highest smoke point of olive oil at about 400° Fahrenheit.
Overall, Olive Oil degradation due to processing is a complex process determined by many different factors. Regardless of some benefits being shown toward deep frying, high temperatures of deep frying will potentially induce chemical changes such as oxidation, polymerization, cyclization, and hydrolysis. However, compared to other vegetable oils, Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a better choice for cooking, regardless of the method, as it is more resistant to the effects of oxidation and free radical production.
According to the authors of the study published in Food Chemistry 2015, “These chemical reactions are influenced by the type and quality of the oil, the food properties, and the food/oil ratio, among other parameters.”
Olive Oil but in particular Extra Virgin Olive Oil is considered better for cooking, especially in comparison to other vegetable oils. Minimizing cooking time and not reusing the Oil helps reduce oxidation and the loss of phenolic compounds. However, to maintain the full benefits and bioactive compounds in Olive Oil the best way to consume it is raw, in its original unprocessed state.
How to taste Olive Oil
The best way to discover an oil’s flavour is to sip it "clean", meaning, on its own without bread or other food. This will allow you to savour the oil’s flavour in its purest form, without distraction from other flavours.
Professional tasters use specially-made blue glasses that are tapered to concentrate the oil’s aroma; a good and odourless wine glass is a good substitute when tasting at home. The blue colour of the official tasting glasses ensures that tasters aren't influenced by the colour of the oil, which is not an indicator of quality or flavour profile.
Cover the glass and allow it to gently warm in your hand; optimal tasting temperature is 27° and it is important to evaluate the oil in an odour-free environment.
Tasting olive oil, the 4 SS
Swirl - this releases the oil’s aroma molecules, keep the olive oil covered until ready to sniff.
Sniff - uncover the oil and inhale from the rim of the glass. note the intensity and the description of the aroma.
Slurp - take a small sip of the oil while also “sipping” some air. this slurping action emulsifies the oil and helps to spread it throughout your mouth. take note of the retro-nasal aroma as well as the intensity of bitterness.
Swallow - an oil’s pungency is judged by a sensation in your throat so you must swallow at least a small amount to thoroughly evaluate it.
Proper tasting should be based on the following principles:
Avoid having a meal 2-3 hours prior to the tasting process, as well as being hungry,
Avoid wearing perfumes or washing your hands with scented soap,
Avoid smoking prior to the tasting,
Select a tranquil and pleasant location for your olive tasting experience,
Ideally, select the time period between 10 am and 2 pm for the tasting process.