Summer and Olive Oil: Natural Enemies

Although olive oil is a well-known product in our gastronomy, very few consumers know about its correct preservation and use. Poor preservation of the product can ruin the best oil, and the factors that have the greatest influence on preservation are mainly light and temperature.

Very often during the winter we receive enquiries from customers whose oil has solidified or has ugly lumps in it, worried that the product has spoiled or may be harmful to their health. Despite what most people think when the oil is in this state, the cold is a factor that does not affect the quality of the olive oil.

This often occurs when oil is exposed to very cold environments, either during transporters’ overnight transits or by leaving it outdoors or exposed to drafts. This is due to its high density and the presence of fatty acids. In cases like this, simply bring the olive oil to a suitable room temperature and it will return to its normal appearance without having lost any of its properties; under no circumstances should it be heated. Why?

In contrast to cold, heat and high temperatures, as well as the light that usually accompanies these factors, do have a significant effect on the product. Here are some tips to help you preserve olive oil in the best possible way.

Where to store the product?

Keep the product in dark and cool places. Ideally in a cupboard or pantry. If it is the first option, choose a cupboard that is not located next to an appliance that generates heat.

Does packaging matter?

Always choose glass containers. Cheaper, larger capacity containers, such as PET, are the least protective packaging for oil against light and oxygen.

Is it bad to use olive oil for frying?

The quality of extra virgin olive oil, its flavour and its ability to protect food and prevent it from becoming over-impregnated are the main reasons for using this product in our kitchens. But we must be careful with the temperature: when it burns, it starts to release compounds that are harmful to our health. This is true of all cooking fats.

The most useful tip to avoid burning the oil and to use it in frying without any risk is not to wait for smoke to come out before introducing the food.

Can olive oil from frying be reused?

Extra virgin olive oil, although more expensive, can be used several times in a healthy way. To do this correctly, it is advisable to filter the oil once it has been used, to prevent impurities from causing the oil to deteriorate earlier.

How do we know if the olive oil has deteriorated?

If it is a bottle that has already been opened, it is good to make sure that it does not have a strong “rancid” and unpleasant smell. This is a sign that the oil is not in good condition. This is avoidable with proper conservation.

En el caso del aceite de oliva de las frituras, al deteriorarse éste presenta un color muy oscuro, hace mucho humo, y además tendrá muy mal olor. In this case, it is advisable to renew the oil and take the deteriorated oil to a recycling point.

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