Olive oil and its proper use in the kitchen

Olive oil

In this country there is great uncertainty about how to use olive oil properly in the kitchen. In Mediterranean countries, virgin olive oil has always been used for cooking and frying. It is perfectly suitable as a cooking fat, both from a nutritional point of view and from a taste point of view.

Olive oil: basic rules for cooking

Not all oil is the same. This also applies to high quality olive oils. Some olive oils are better used for salads and cold dishes, other olive oils can be heated without hesitation. The flavor you want to give to a dish is also very much influenced by the olive oil you use. Some olive oils bring herbal flavors to full fruition and harmonize with them, while still other olive oils have a strong flavor of their own and thus overpower finer flavors of the ingredients.

Cook with olive oil

In terms of cooking, virgin olive oil differs from many other natural cooking oils by the following criteria: it has a longer shelf life, and it undergoes the fewest changes when heated. The food chemistry explanation for this is: as soon as oxygen, light, heat or even metals affect other vegetable oils, the fatty acids oxidize and decompose. If the oil is heated, this process is even faster. And the more highly unsaturated fatty acids are, the more unstable and susceptible they are to decomposition processes.

Virgin olive oils, on the other hand, are relatively stable. This is due to the high proportion of monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil. Olive oil (virgin) also contains sufficient natural fatty substances such as tocopherols. These vital substances, also known as vitamin E, additionally protect the olive oil from decomposing oxidation processes. All these characteristics indicate that olive oils that are virgin can be used without hesitation for stewing and braising, for gentle frying and even for deep frying well. This creates wonderful dishes, such as this rosemary balsamic pork tenderloin, which is sauteed in olive oil:

  • Rosemary balsamic pork tenderloin

Virgin olive oils only up to 180 °C

When cooking and steaming, as well as baking and frying up to 180°C, which is perfectly sufficient for most dishes, virgin olive oil shows no significant chemical changes. Both "extra virgin olive oils as well as "virgin olive oils can therefore be heated well up to this temperature. This is the most frequently expressed opinion on this subject.

However, there are also some olive oil producers who advise against heating virgin olive oils above 140°C. The natural fat accompanying substances, as for example the very reactive pigment chlorophyll, or also fine fruit threads would already take damage with these temperatures and it could develop substances in the olive oil, which would be detrimental to the health. In addition, the valuable vitamin E is largely destroyed during heating. Well-known food chemists, such as Udo Pollmer, say however: To possible health impairments, which could arise with the heating of olive oil up to 180°C, there is "not the breath of a scientific reason".

Refined olive oil up to 220°C

The grade "refined olive oil" is in any case extremely heat stable and very suitable for heating up to 220 ° C. Therefore, it is also suitable for use in the oven, in hot air fryers or classic fryers and is therefore recommended not only for frying, but also for deep frying without any restrictions. This makes sense, because in the refining process of oils much higher temperatures are generated than later in the pan or fryer. This oil can also be poured off after frying and used a second time, provided that the olive oil has not taken on the smell of the fried food (such as fish or chips).

French fries fried in olive oil

Fry with olive oil

  • In general, all oils, no matter what kind, should never be heated in a closed pan, they could ignite in the process.
  • The right temperature of olive oils in the pan is important. Potatoes, vegetables, tender meat and fish are fried at moderate heat. The temperature is just right when bubbles form in the olive oil as soon as you put a piece of bread into the hot oil.
  • Steaks and pieces of meat that are to be seared first should be placed in hot oil and seared very hot so that the meat does not dry out. When you drip a drop of water into the oil and hear a dry pattering sound, about 180°C has been reached.
  • The olive oil should always be added first to the already hot pan. Then the olive oil is heated to 140°C to 180°C. Now fry the food in the olive oil and brown from all sides. Always pat the food dry with paper towels to avoid splattering.
  • Do not add cold oil during frying, otherwise the frying process will be interrupted and the meat will lose its juices.
  • Never put unfrozen frozen food into hot oil. The fried food immediately soaks up the oil, the temperature drops sharply and it also splatters.

Braise with olive oil

Only a little olive oil is needed for braising. The oil should line the pan, under no circumstances should the fried food float in the oil. A brown crust is formed on the outside – the roasted substances later produce a tasty sauce. Then pour vegetable broth, wine or water and let the whole thing cook at a temperature of approx. 100 °C cooking in a closed pot. The nutrients of olive oil are largely preserved when braised.

Cooking method Temperature Which olive oil?
Steaming, cooking, melting 100°C virgin olive oil, refined olive oil
Frying 120-180°C fry, later 200°C refined olive oil
Stew 140-180°C fry, after adding water 100°C virgin olive oil, refined olive oil
Baking 180-260°C the baked product itself has a lower temperature Refined olive oil
Frying 180°C refined olive oil

Olive oil as ideal frying fat

In the Mediterranean countries potatoes, fish, poultry and bakery products are often fried with olive oil. Heat-stable refined olive oil is taken for this purpose. The oil is hot enough for frying, if you dip the handle of a wooden spoon in the oil and bubbles form. Incidentally, it has been shown that a thin, greasy crust quickly forms around the fried food when it is deep-fried, preventing further penetration of the oil. Thus, potatoes fried in olive oil are less fatty than potatoes fried in a pan.

When is olive oil too good for the pan

High-quality "extra native Oils can be heated up to 180 °C without any problems – due to low trans fatty acid formation and stable fatty acid pattern. But they lose some of their flavor, as well as some of the vitamins and secondary ingredients. Refined olive oils are particularly suitable for this purpose. Valuable extra virgin olive oils (or even a drip oil) are better added to salads or cold (pre-)dishes. Or it can be used to refine soups, vegetables, mashed potatoes, etc. (as butter is used in other cuisines). only after taking the dishes off the stove.

Olive oil: avoid the smoke point

Olive oil, like all oils and fats, should never be overheated during frying. This is always the case when the oil starts to smoke. The smoke point is the temperature at which an oil (or fat) decomposes, producing smoke, when heated under the action of oxygen. Actually, common sense tells you that oil that smokes and smokes, i.e. burns in the pan, can be neither beneficial to the palate nor to health. But there is also a scientific reason for this:

Overheating causes the triglycerides to decompose, initially into glycerol and free fatty acids. If the oil gets even hotter, harmful acrolein is formed from the glycerine. Fat decomposition is noticeable in acrid odor and bluish acrolein fumes. Acrolein irritates the eyes and mucous membranes. Exposure to such fumes very often can lead to bronchitis and, in the worst case, even pneumonia. Even a carcinogenic effect is not excluded. Smoking oil and food fried in it get a harsh, bitter taste.

Smoke point of some fats and oils

If possible, the following temperatures should not be reached:

butter 150° C
Virgin vegetable oils 140° C to 190° C
Extra virgin olive oils 190° C
Refined olive oil 220° C
Coconut oil 230° C

If a particularly spicy olive oil is heated, spicy vapors may rise even before reaching 180 °C, but they have nothing to do with the toxic smoke development just described. By the way, if you have a gas stove, you can control the heat of the olive oil very well. With electric ovens, on the other hand, it is better to heat the oil at a medium temperature for longer, otherwise it will become too hot too quickly.

Olive oil and other fats: tips

  • Fats and oils are broken down not only by overheating, but also by repeated heating. Therefore, as a rule, oils should not be used again after frying.
  • High-quality frying fat, on the other hand, can be filtered after use to remove food residues. The filtered frying oil can then be used up to ten more times.
  • Salad oil marinades can be used a second time if kept in a cool place.
  • Vegetables can be refined if they are placed in a herb-oil marinade for two hours before cooking
  • Always use oil with salad: Only through oil can the fat-soluble vitamins be made usable for the body.
  • After frying or deep-frying the meat, vegetables or lard baked put on a piece of kitchen paper, so that. excess fat is absorbed.
  • Frying oil is best stored in a sealed bottle in a dark place so that it does not come into contact with oxygen.

Olive oil: How to recognize good olive oil

Especially in the purity of olive oil, the consumer is often left in the dark, as well as about quality and origin. Basically, the EU olive oil regulation distinguishes three quality classes:

  • extra virgin olive oil (Olio Extra Vergine di Oliva): a natural (virgin) olive oil of the "extra" or-Class.
  • Virgin olive oil (Olio Vergine di Oliva): a natural oil, which however shows slight defects in quality. It is not available in the German trade.
  • Olive oil (Olio di Oliva): is a refined (thermally and chemically treated) product, which is often used in commercial kitchens.

Olive oil: characteristics "cold pressed and "1. Pressing"

For many consumers of olive oil is a "cold pressed" olive oil and with "1. Pressing" Declared olive oil is a sign of quality. In fact, there is simply only one pressing left. In the past, when the oil presses were still moved by hand, there were several pressings with the help of hot water. Today, the processing temperature is between 16°C and 32°C and is therefore not really cold, but also no longer hot, one also speaks of "cold extraction" or "cold extracted"

The most important thing when buying olive oil is to look at the label. In principle it is so that all native olive oils extra belong to the best quality class, whereby this is no valuation of the olive oil regulation, but refers only to the correct production. Thus, in this category of olive oil there are still significant differences in quality. Here a look at the label of the olive oil is helpful. A good olive oil contains the following information on the label: Name of the producer and the cultivation area, i.e. "Produced and bottled by xy in z". If these data are not to be found, it acts with security with this olive oil around a Blend (mixture) from one or even several countries. These blends have accordingly little own character and taste always the same. Indispensable are also the year of harvest and the time of bottling or. Minimum shelf life. It is desirable to mention the olive variety. Top quality olive oil can be found mainly in delicatessens, wine merchants, directly from the manufacturer or a specialized dealer on the Internet.

Olive oil: price differences

An olive oil, for which up to 80% of the costs are incurred by manual labor in harvesting and tree care, cannot be sold in the supermarket for three euros. With olive oil it is like with wine: The area, the situation, the harvesting methods and naturally the produced quantity of olive oil determine the selling price. Many native olive oils are therefore also mixed under price aspects and come as Mediterranean or EU blend on the market. The narrower the production area and the more the consumer appreciates the processing carried out there, the higher the price of olive oil can be, especially if the oil also has a special taste value and character. The prices for a good oil amount on the average to 12-13 euro, per half liter, there are however quite also exceptions, which are somewhat more inexpensive (around 10 euro) or also substantially expensive (up to 20 euro per half liter).

Olive oil pure

Olive oil: great differences in taste

Olive oil is not equal to olive oil, similar to wine, there are differences in taste of olive oil. Each oil has its individual character, which is influenced by the origin and quality of the fruit, soil and climate. The differences in olive oil depend on the producer, but in general the taste of olive oil is divided into three broad categories: Fine-fruity, Medium-fruity and Intense-fruity. A fine fruity olive oil is very mild, has a slight bitter note and a little sharpness. The proportion of bitter and peppery components increases in medium-fruity and intense-fruity, making the oil taste clearly more powerful, especially when tasted neat. Depending on the degree of pungency, the olive oil can even scratch a little in the throat, which is a high mark of quality.

Olive oil: the olive selection

For a fresh aromatic olive oil, mainly green to purple olives are used. Each olive is initially green, during the ripening process the olive turns purple and becomes black when it is completely ripe. Then, however, the olive tastes almost overripe and not very aromatic, and the oil obtained from it is not of very high quality. For an optimally balanced taste, you need especially many green olives, which are just about to turn purple. Olives harvested completely green give a much stronger or more intense taste. hotter oil.

Olive oil: the production

The harvest of olives begins in the Mediterranean region in October and lasts until the end of December, sometimes until January. The oil yield and the quality of the oil depend to a large extent on the care taken during harvesting, which is why the most common method of harvesting olives is still by hand. Speed and the most careful handling of the olives are essential, once the skin of the olive is damaged or the natural process of degradation has begun, the quality of the oil is compromised.

Once the harvest is in, the olives are freed from leaves, washed and crushed, usually with pit. From the resulting fruit pulp, liquid is obtained in a single mechanical pressing. It consists of oil and fruit water, which is separated from the residual pulp in the so-called decanter by means of a centrifuge. In another centrifuge the oil is finally separated from the fruit water. Compared to the nostalgic pressing on millstones between straw mats, the modern process of extraction is far more hygienic and usually produces better oils.

Olive oil: practical advice for storage

Olive oil: olive-pepper skewer

Keep olive oil dark and sealed

Olive oil is rich in the pigment chlorophyll, hence the beautiful green color. However, under the influence of light, this dye drives the oxidative decomposition of the oil. Olive oil is therefore very sensitive to light. However, olive oil can be kept for a long time in dark containers. For this reason, good olive oil always comes in tinted bottles. Also in the household, the oil should always be kept well sealed, dark and cool. The best place to store olive oil is in a dark pantry, at a temperature between 6 and 16 °C. Once opened oil should be consumed quickly. If you have purchased the oil in a light-colored bottle, you can also put the olive oil in a bag made of wrapping paper.

How long is the shelf life of olive oil

Virgin olive oils can be kept sealed for 12 to 18 months (pay attention to the best-before date of the olive oil). After twelve months the

Olive oils lose some flavor, but are still very usable. However, fresh oil tastes best and is also the healthiest. Therefore, you should always choose an oil with the longest possible best-before date. Refined olive oils keep for at least two years, usually much longer. If you ever have rancid oil, don’t throw it away – olive oil is great to use as lamp oil. Of course, this applies only to olive oil not yet used in the kitchen. Otherwise, old oil must be taken to the hazardous waste site.

Do not be afraid of flakes in olive oil

Olive oil stored in the refrigerator naturally flocculates at low temperatures. This does not mean a reduction in the quality of the oil, but is rather a sign of its naturalness. When warmed to room temperature, the flakes dissolve quickly.

Always leave your olive oil in its original packaging and do not pour it into glass decanters, as this process can cause too much oxygen to reach the oil, making it more likely to go rancid. When seasoning, marinating and mixing salad dressings, it is best to have the olive oil at room temperature, as this is when it combines most quickly with the other ingredients.

Uses of olive oil

Olive oil is extremely versatile, as Mediterranean cuisine proves. Dishes from simple to refined get southern flair with olive oil. Just a few drops of olive oil round out the flavor of sauces, soups and steamed vegetables. Fish and steaks become especially tender and tasty if you marinate them with olive oil, garlic and herbs a few hours before frying them. Marinated olives are popular and well known as antipasti, small appetizers to be served before pasta, or, like Spanish tapas, to accompany an aperitif.

Grade Cold cuisine Warm cuisine
Extra virgin olive oils and virgin olive oils Salad, raw vegetables,
Dressings, marinades
Steam until 180°C, z. B. Stew vegetables, gently fry, z. B. meat, fish
Olive oil (refined) salads, raw vegetables, dressings, marinades Steam up to 220°C, stew, fry, deep fry
Olive pomace oil Marinades Fry up to 220°C

Marinate the olives yourself

Marinate olive oil

If you have bought too many olives and can’t use them soon, it is recommended to put them in a marinade to make them last longer. In addition, there are many spicy recipes for almost every palate. Also not so flavorful olives or those that are only pickled in brine can be enhanced with spicy marinades.

Green garlic olives

1 jar of green olives in brine
2 cloves of garlic
Pinch of oregano
extra virgin olive oil
White wine vinegar

From olives in brine, pour off half of the liquid, collect the rest. Put the olives in a screw jar. Squeeze the garlic cloves. Mix the olives well with the oregano and garlic. Mix the brine in equal parts with olive oil and white wine vinegar. Pour the marinade over the olives so that they are completely covered.

Put the olives in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks and keep them there as well.

Olives with herbs of Provence

200 g olives
2 teaspoons of herbs de Provence
1-2 cloves of garlic
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

In a bowl, mix the olives well with the herbs of Provence. Add 1 or 2 cloves of garlic pressed through, if desired. Put the herb olives in a screw-top jar. Pour olive oil so that the olives are covered. Leave the olives to marinate for a few days in a sealed jar.

For spicy olives, proceed in the same way, except that the spice mixture consists of 1 to 2 red peppers cut into strips, some black pepper from the mill, 1 teaspoon of herbs de Provence or 1 teaspoon of thyme and 1 to 2 cloves of garlic.

Always remove olives marinated in oil from the jar with clean utensils (preferably a plastic spoon). Please also make sure that the olives are always covered with oil. This way they will keep for months, even if the jar has already been opened. If the olives come into contact with air or metal, they quickly start to mold.

Make your own aromatic oils with olive oil

Olive oil with herbs

Vegetable oils are healthy. They protect the heart by lowering blood lipids and have a cell-protecting effect thanks to their high vitamin E content.

Oil This is how it works
Walnut oil You will need 1 liter of canola oil, 200 g of chopped walnuts or hazelnuts. Put together in a bottle and put in the dark for 2 weeks. Shake lightly from time to time and strain after the indicated time.
Chili oil Put chili peppers, garlic cloves, chopped onions and herbs together (or separately, according to taste) in olive or sunflower oil and let it sit for 1 week. Do not filter oil, so it remains more aromatic.
Garlic rosemary oil This is how it tastes like in the south: olive oil with garlic (peel the cloves from 3 garlic bulbs) and put it in a bottle (0.7 L) with 2 rosemary sprigs, fill it up with olive oil. Leave to infuse for 7 days. To all Mediterranean salads a poem!
Spice oil 2 sprigs basil, 2 small sprigs rosemary, 3 cloves garlic. 3 pitted, halved, small spicy pepperoni, ½ tsp. peppercorns, 1 liter of cold-pressed oil. Allow to infuse for two to three weeks.
Mushroom oil 5 small porcini mushrooms, 5 sage leaves, ¾ L cold-pressed oil, ½ tsp peppercorns.
Put the cleaned, chopped mushrooms in oil with the sage and pepper and let it sit for two to three weeks.
Grill oil ½ liter of oil, weak spoon of paprika powder, 1 tsp curry powder, 3 halved cloves of garlic, rosemary, 2 small peppers, 1 sprig of sage and some marjoram.
Put the spices in oil, let it infuse a bit and coat the grilled meat with it or put the grilled meat in the oil for a night.

Beauty tips with olive oil and other oils

With high-quality vegetable oils you can conjure up the most amazing beauty packs in no time at all. The summer sun stresses skin and hair. The simplest beauty remedies against it you find in your kitchen. High-quality plant oils are the basis for the care treatments. Cold-pressed oils contain a high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids. And they smooth wrinkles, bring shine to the hair. Try it!

Beauty for skin and hair This is how it works
Hair treatment Sesame oil makes straw-like hair soft again.
The recipe: 3 egg yolks with 3 teaspoons of sesame oil and 2 teaspoons of honey. Massage this treatment into dry hair!
Important: Don’t forget the tips! Cover hair with foil, wrap a towel around it as a turban. Let it soak in for 2 hours, then wash your hair at least twice with mild shampoo.
Olive oil bath Enjoy a wonderfully relaxing feel-good experience with the help of olive oil.
In the ca. Adding 37° warm water to 1/4 liter of extra virgin olive oil. Simply caress the nourishing active ingredients into the skin by repeatedly rubbing the body with the oil water.
Avocado oil mask It smoothes small wrinkles, provides a radiant complexion.
This is how it’s done: Heat 4 tablespoons of avocado oil (available in pharmacies and drugstores) in a water bath. Add 2 teaspoons of honey. Let the mixture cool down and stir it into 100 grams of curd cheese. Apply the mask to face and decollete (avoiding eyes, mouth and nose). Leave mask on for half an hour and then remove with lukewarm water.

The following applies to all recipes presented here: You can also use any other cold-pressed vegetable oil. This does not significantly affect the caring effect.

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