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Kate Heyhoe

Kate's Global Kitchen

 

Preserving Olive Oil

by Kate Heyhoe

 

Dear Kate,

I have been told by my nutrition saavy doctor and dietician to refrigerate
olive oil, but it seems to defeat the purpose when i have to "melt" the
bottle of olive oil under hot tap water in order to use it. Any
suggestions?

SunnyOne@(removed)

 

Dear Sunny,

The purpose of refrigerating olive oil is to retain its freshness, and as far as I know, does not enhance its existing nutritional benefits.

Olive Oil

Olive oil has a short shelf life. By that I mean that once exposed to oxygen it will begin to break down and become rancid. Keeping it a dark cool spot retards this process. Warming it up with running water is not a problem, as long as you return it the refrigerator when done.

As an alternative method, simply do what most Europeans and Middle Eastern families do: decant a small amount of oil to a pourable container and use it, storing the rest in a cool dark spot. You can buy olive oil cans from cookware stores, or simply funnel it into a bottle and cork it. Pour in only what you think you'll use in 1 to 2 week period, and keep it away from direct sunlight, like in a cabinet, if it's a clear container.

Finally, there are wine preservative sprays that work by filling the air-space in the bottle with a harmless blend of nitrogen, carbon dioxide and argon gas. Besides being handy for opened bottles of wine, they also work well for olive oil, liqueurs and other sensitive liquids. I use a brand called Private Reserve made in Napa Valley; look for it at wine and liquor stores.

For more on olives and olive oil, plus a recipe, check out this FoodDay column (the precursor to Global Gourmet Today).

Kate Heyhoe

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This page originally published as a Global Gourmet Today column in 1998.

Copyright © 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.

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This page modified January 2007


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