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Olive Oil, Extra Virgin or Pure?

Olives and olive oil have a long history. It has been suggested that olives and olive oil have been around as long a 6000 years. The Bible even references olive branches in the tale of Noah’s Ark. It is unknown as to when people started to eat olives and their oil but its origins of use suggest that initially it was used in lamps as fuel as well as for cooking.

There are two main types of olive oils, extra virgin olive oil and olive oil. The term extra virgin denotes oil that contains less than 1% acidity and has no treatment using heat or chemicals. Extra virgin also signifies the oil is from the “first press” or “cold press”. The tastes can range from a domestic mild or slightly rustic flavor to a peppery classic from Tuscany.

Olive oil is often labeled as “pure olive oil”; this oil is refined with chemicals and steam. The oil is then blended with a higher quality oil to give an improved flavor and aroma. Often times this less expensive choice is used in recipes and for sautéing. If you desire a purer flavor stick with the extra virgin varieties.

Surprisingly enough olive oil lends itself well to chocolate. The high cocoa butter content in chocolate allows it to blend easily with oil and the olive oil flavor recedes nicely to the background. By using olive oil in place of dairy it becomes simple to make rich and creamy non-dairy chocolate deserts.

When purchasing olive oil bring home the bottle and replace the lid with a pouring-spout stopper designed for use with liquor bottles. This will allow for spill proof pouring and more control over the stream of oil.

The oil should always be stored in a cool dark location and used within a years’ time. This distinctive choice in oil can turn rancid if left on the shelf too long.

Shauna Hanus is a gourmet cook who specializes in making gourmet meal plans. She has extensive experience cooking with simple to find grocery items to make delightful gourmet meals. She is also the publisher of a no cost bi-monthly gourmet newsletter. Her newsletter is always fun and informational packed with tips and trivia you can use everyday. gourmayeats.com gourmayeats.com

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