Unraveling the mysteries of olive oil

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“It’s kind of a silly term, and the definition has nothing to do with quality,” Lewis said.

Lastly, the color of olive oil won’t tell you much about the oil. Especially with mass-produced oils, manufacturers will often add chlorophyll or dyes to correct the color.

How to cook with it

Olive oil isn’t made for high heat. That’s why it’s a great oil to use as a finish — pour a dab on your meats after cooking, or on top of your soup and vegetables for some extra flavor.

That doesn’t mean you can’t use it on your skillet — you just have to be careful. Most mass-produced oils can withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees, but fresher oil will burn at temperatures closer to 350 or 400 degrees. The trick is to slowly raise the temperature and put the food on it before the oil gets too hot.

Store it right

Olive oil should be stored in cool place away from light. Look for oils packaged in dark glass to protect from light damage.

A bottle can usually keep on the shelf for about a year, but once opened, fresh oils are only good for about 30 to 90 days before it starts to spoil and lose its flavors.

“If you have a bottle of good oil, don’t hold onto it,” said Lewis. “I have clients who say they got some great bottle from Tuscany, so they use it slowly over several years. But it doesn’t really keep.”

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