This virgin is delicious!

This virgin is delicious!
Extra Virgin is dark in colour

There is nothing more delicious and healthy than extra virgin olive oil. It is rightly called one of the seven wonders of the food. While olive oil is a popular kitchen staple, many people still don’t know the right way to use it. Here are some of the most common faux pas that people make when cooking with extra virgin olive oil:

Mistake #1: Storing your olive oil in clear glass or plastic jars
Sunlight and oxygen are two biggest enemies of extra virgin olive oil. That is why you should never use clear glass or plastic jars to store your oil. Olive oil tends to get rancid when it comes in contact with light and air. Always choose glass bottles which are dark brown or dark green in color so that the quality of your olive oil is preserved.

Mistake #2: Storing your olive oil close to a heat source
You should never store your olive oil near a direct heat source. When extra virgin olive oil is exposed to heat, it causes the polyphenols, which is a type of antioxidant, to degrade and hamper the flavor of the olive oil. The best place to store it is in a pantry cupboard and not above your stove or on your windowsill.

Mistake #3: Judging your oil by its colour
Remember that the colour of olive oil is absolutely no indication of its quality. It is only a cue to indicate when the oil was harvested.

Mistake #4: Believing that you can use any olive oil for just about any purpose
Different olive oils have different purposes. If you think you can get away with choosing the cheapest one, think again. Most people tend to opt for one single type of olive oil, which they believe, will fit all their culinary purposes. This is true to a certain extent when it comes to cooking, but if you are looking for a robust flavor over your pastas and in your salads, you need a good quality extra virgin olive oil.

Mistake #5: Using extra virgin olive oil over high heat
Heating extra virgin olive oil at high temperatures can destroy the antioxidants and alter its flavor. Avoid using extra virgin olive oil for any cooking methods which require temperatures over 360° F. You may use it to poach fish, to saute vegetables or to drizzle over salads and pastas, but avoid frying food in it.

Mistake #6: Not knowing how to cook with delicate oils

There are different kinds of olive oils which have milder flavors. These oils should not be exposed to high heat so that their flavours and aromatic properties are retained. You should use such delicate oils with their milder flavours to complement bruchettas, salads or the taste in a pasta dish.

Mistake #7: Keeping your olive oil too long
Most of us tend to pick up a large can of olive oil just to save on costs or because there is a buy-one-get-one free offer. Remember that the shelf-life of any olive oil is around 24 months. Make sure you keep your olive oil only for about that long and discard any bottles that you have kept for longer than that. Olive oil that has past its use-before date can not only taste rancid and unpleasant, but has also lost its health benefits.

Mistake #8: You soak all your food in olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is known to be high in ‘good’ monounsaturated fat. This kind of fat helps to lower LDL cholesterol and has about 477 calories and 54 g of fat per 1/4 cup. You could end up with more oil than you need if you do not measure the amount of oil you use to grill, sauté, roast or broil. The best tactic is to use a non-aerosol pump or a pastry brush to lightly glaze your food with oil when broiling and grilling. Wipe a paper towel dipped in olive oil around your wok before you add your ingredients, if you are whipping up a stir-fry. Another option is to use a non-stick pan or skillet. Use ingredients like soy sauce, wine, chicken broth, or vegetable, carrot or tomato juice to make your sautes taste better. To make you feel fuller, poach your fish in watered-down orange juice, or in low-fat broth. This will allow the fillets to soak up much of the liquid.

Mistake #9: Using olive oil in the wrong cooking methods
Olive oil has a low smoke point as compared to other oils. A smoke point refers to how hot something gets before it starts to burn, and eventually catch fire. Oil that is heated above its smoke point shouldn’t be consumed or used to cook food. Not only will this taste bad, but it isn’t good for you as it starts to break down chemically, releasing toxic chemicals, and therefore, loses most of its antioxidants. Avoid using olive oil for searing steak, fish, lamb, or pork, frying burgers, roasting chicken or vegetables, cooking in a wok, or while deep frying or stir-frying anything.

-Contributed by Aditi Jain

Extravirgin olive oil is made from pure, cold-pressed olives, whereas regular olive oil is a blend, including both cold-pressed and processed oils. … Any cold-pressed oil that doesn’t meet extravirgin standards is then refined to get rid of undesirable impurities, giving the oil a more neutral flavour and lighter colour. It is expensive.

The second pressed olive oils like pomace olive oil are far cheaper, but used for deep frying, etc. Certainly not in salads. In Europe it is against the law to identify pomace as olive oil. [Editor]

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