Thursday, October 23, 2008

Simple Food Storage Items - Cooking Oils - Olive Oil

Cooking oil is a common ingredient that is used in many recipes and is also used for frying. One of the healthiest cooking oils is olive oil. There are several types of olive oil that you can use as a part of your diet as a healthy alternative to other cooking oils. The different types of olive oil are fairly common and readily available for purchase at your local grocery store. Do you know which olive oils are the best, their proper use or the proper way to store them? Here you will find the main types of olive oil and the proper use for each of these types, and the best manner in which to store your olive oil.

Olive Oil

There are several different varieties of olive oil: extra virgin, virgin, extra light or light, and pure (also known as refined olive oil). There are many uses for all the different varieties of olive oil. These uses include stir-frying, cooking, sautéing, as a preservative for herbs, and as an ingredient in many cooking recipes. Many people use it daily in their meals by drizzling it over a wide variety of foods or salads. Olive oil is most frequently used as a salad oil or as a dip for pita bread. Olive oil is best suited for low to moderate cooking temperatures when used for frying or sautéing.

The Different Types of Olive Oil

1.) Pure Olive Oil

Pure olive oil (also known as refined olive oil) is the healthiest of all the oils as it is the highest in mono unsaturated fats (the good kind) and has been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease when included as a regular part of your diet. Pure olive oil is refined by a process that does not destroy any of its valuable nutrients or properties. Pure olive oil has a shelf life of several years when properly stored and is excellent as a long term storage cooking oil. It is also more expensive than other types of olive oil due to the special refining process used to make it.

2.) Extra Virgin and Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin and virgin olive oils are the most commonly used of the different types of olive oil and generally easy to find at your local grocery store. Extra virgin or virgin olive oils work great as a preservative agent for your fresh herbs. They have a shelf life of approximately one year when stored properly. It has a moderate cost among the different types of olive oil.

3.) Light or Extra Light Olive Oil

Light or extra light olive oils are most generally a combination of several different types of olive oils in order to achieve the lighter color. Many light or extra light olive oils contain particles that can create sediment in your olive oil that can lead to spoilage which will cause your olive oil to go rancid. Most “store brand” olive oils are of this type and generally have the lowest cost. They also have the shortest shelf life. Most "light" olive oils have a shelf life that varies from 3 to 6 months depending upon sediment levels. They should not be considered for long term storage.

Storing Olive Oil

All olive oils remain a liquid when kept at room temperature. It is best to store olive oils in a dark place away from the sun or other light sources, kept in a dry place that is not subject to excess moisture, and not subjected to extreme fluctuations of room temperature. This makes it ideal for storing in the majority of most pantries.

Staying above the water line!



Sneaux said...

Hi There - just started reading your blog this week. I was wondering if you know (roughly) how long you can store an unopened bottle of oil. I do have them in a cabinet, away from light, and haven't opened the bottle at all so it's still got the factory seal. Thanks so much!

riverwalker said...

To: sneaux

Pure(refined) = 3 years
Extra virgin / virgin = 2 years
Light / extra light = 3 to 6 months depending on sediment count
(these are usually the "store brands that are combination of olive oils referred to as "blended".

Figure your shelf life from the best by date. Unopened or opened makes very lttle difference, although unopened it will not have been exposed to the humidity in the air.

The main causes of food spoilage are exposure to temperature extremes, moisture,excessive sun or light, and insect pests.

As in all cases, if it doesn't smell or taste right - discard it.

Hope this helps. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will come back soon!


merriday said...

It's been my understanding the EOV is the best, with consideration for the different producers, country of origin, etc. I've never seen Pure Olive Oil, or didn't even look at it since I focused on EOV. How much more expensive is it, and does it retain good flavor in addition to having a longer shelf life? If EOV is stored like wine (cool, dark etc) does that increase its shelf life and if so by how much (approximately). Thanks,
Meredith in Vermont

riverwalker said...

To: merriday

The pure olive oil is a specialty product and to find it you will probably have to check out a health food store or similar place in your area to find it. It's probably going to cost more and the additional shelf life may not be the best cost option for you.

Mrs. RW has found the "cold extracted" type of extra virgin olive oil to be the best for our purposes. Mrs. RW uses the "Mazola" brand.



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