Many artisan chefs nowadays are using their kitchen to create culinary art instead of food preparation. For these home chefs, one of the first ingredients they dive into headfirst is Olive Oil, and almost no stone is left unturned in their quest to find the best olive oil for cooking.
The difficulty they run into is debating whether it is OK to truly cook with olive oil. There is one school of thought that says that heat will damage the integrity and that no person should cook with it. Others think It has been around for thousands of years, and for the countries of origin, cooking with olive oil is as natural as can be. The net outcome of this disagreement is a home chef that is completely uncertain of what to think. All they wanted to do was cook awesome food.
Let’s do it easy. In short, yes, you can cook using olive oil, but you should be clever regarding how you use it. Furthermore, you have to brush up on a little knowledge to make the most educated call on whatever you’re going to bring into your kitchen.
Here is a little advice on how to pick the best olive oil for cooking in your home:
Know Where The Oil is From – It’s necessary to read the labels so that you know where is coming from. As a basic rule of thumb, you need there to be as little time that goes by between harvest, processing, and bottling. The longer the oil has to travel or go through steps before going into a bottle can mean a degradation of the product, and that is never a great thing.
Harvest Dating – Some years ago, beer companies decided that it was unfair for their product to be judged as being “skunky” only because a store put out old product. As a way to help the customer, they chose to add dates to the packaging so that people could see when the beer was “born”, thereby providing buyers a better chance of avoiding old beer. Still, others go so far as to remove the product from store shelves. In the name of freshness, look for harvest dates on bottles of olive oil. Keep in mind that the contents don’t age the same as wine, so knowing a harvest date will give you a chance to understand exactly how long the contents have been sitting.
Keep It Local – As with most things, there is a movement to help local businesses by buying their products. There is greater transparency in the transaction, and you get to know where your products come from. The same goes for olive oil. The U.S. has slowly become a big player on the market, with expert chefs taking notice & demanding a domestic product in their kitchen. For the home chef looking to get a quality cooking ingredient, help local business, and be on the cutting edge of culinary development, this is a no-brainer.
The best olive oil for cooking doesn’t have to break the bank or travel very far. With a little knowledge & a willingness to do some research, you’ll discover exactly what you want.