Few ideas to help you wade through the olive oil crisis in 2015

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Last year wasn’t just bad for global warming, Malaysian Airlines, or Bill Cosby — it was also the worst olive oil crop in over a decade.

The beloved, cheap, and ever-present fat we rely on for elevating the most basic of starches is expected to see soaring prices across the globe in 2015.

Though we are only just beginning to see the effects of the dismal harvest, brought on by a combination of uncharacteristic weather across the Mediterranean, and a rapid spread of pests like the olive fly, we are going to have to start thinking about changing our fat strategy.

Below are a few ideas to help you wade through the olive oil crisis in 2015.

Buy olive oil from Tunisia:

Though Tunisia has consistently fallen behind Greece, Spain, and Italy in global olive oil production, it experienced a record crop in 2014 while avoiding the worst of the olive oil blight. It is now the second largest producer, according to the Olive Oil Times (yes, that’s a real publication). As Tunisia responds to increased demand from Europe and the United States (Trader Joe’s started distributing it in 2013), exports can help the struggling economy in the country, where the olive oil industry provides employment to more than one million people, according to the USDA.

Try oils with higher smoking points:

Olive oil has been lauded as the centerpiece of the life-promoting Mediterranean diet: rich in antioxidants and unsaturated fats, and so good for your heart, that doctors are basically prescribing salad dressing out to the public.

But American ignorance about olive oil and how to cook with it may be wasting all that “good fat” on a low smoke point. Extra-virgin olive oil beings to smoke at about 325 degrees Fahrenheit — about 100 degrees below high-heat oils like safflower, peanut and canola. Once the oil hits this point, the fats and delicate enzymes begin to break down and produce carcinogenic free radicals, making the health benefits null and the flavor rancid. Next time you’re searing a steak, roasting vegetables at high heat, or stir-frying, thank the olive oil crisis and choose a different, neutral-flavored oil.

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