Olive Oil 411

Cooking How-To, How-To
on April 19, 2011
Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn

With so many olive oil variations, price points, colors, and brands, you’ve got to know the basics before you bring it to the kitchen. To help you out, we’ve gathered six of our top tips and tricks to make you an olive oil master:

  1. Some just can’t take the heat. Never overheat your extra virgin olive oil—it destroys the fruity flavor. Extra-virgin is the highest quality oil and therefore the most delicate. It’s fresh and silky taste is perfect for salads and pestos.
  2. For times when you want to turn up the temp. Not all oils hate the heat, in fact the less expensive light and pure olive oils are perfect for baking, sautéing and frying.
  3. Don’t judge an oil by it’s color. The color reflects the olives the oil was made from and doesn’t signify flavor or calories. In fact, light olive oil is just lighter in flavor, not calories or fat.
  4. Foreigns are not flawless. Just because an olive oil says product of Italy or France on the label, doesn’t mean it’s good. In fact, the ingredients may not even be from that country. A rule of thumb is, if you see an “Italian” extra-virgin for four bucks, it probably isn’t the Tuscan tantalizer it’s making itself out to be.
  5. Don’t be afraid of the dark. Store your oils in a dark cool place to extend their shelf life. But don’t forget about them, oils do not age well like wines.
  6. Be adventurous! Try all types of olive oils and always have at least two on hand in the kitchen. If you really want to go the extra mile, try making your own aromatic blend with our herb-infused olive oil recipe.

-By Emily Arno