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How do you ...

Olive oil culture
21 Dicembre 2012

How do you ...

... keep extra virgin olive oil in order to preserve its numerous beneficial properties?

Thanks to the antioxidants that are so abundant, olive oil lasts a long time compared to other foods, even fifteen or eighteen months. Subsequently, however, it tends to lose its beneficial properties and qualities such as aroma and taste. Therefore, it is best to consume it within one year of production.

Beware of the light ...
If the bottle remains exposed directly to sunlight or a lamp, it rapidly deteriorates and even more so if it is an oil of intense green colour due to the high chlorophyll content.
Exposed to light, after only a couple of days, it tends to take on reddish reflections, which are a sure sign of alteration. To protect the product from these risks, the best oils are stored in dark coloured bottles which filter out a large part of the light and thus guarantee better preservation of the product. In other cases, even being fully aware of not satisfying those customers who love seeing the colour of oil when they purchase it, other manufacturers prefer to cover the bottle in gold coloured paper or to use tin-plate cans.

...and from heat
In any case, when you choose a bottle from the shop shelf, ensure that it has not been near a source of light. And even at home, conserve it preferably in the dark or at least keep it away from light, at a temperature not exceeding 15° C.
If you have purchased several bottles, leave them in the cellar, as long as it is not wet, and keep only what you are consuming in the home. While, in fact, the low temperatures usually do not create problems (if the oil becomes frozen, it only needs to be returned to room temperature and shaken to return to its original characteristics), heat is as harmful as light because it causes a rapid alteration and it decreases the possibility of conservation. It is always best, however, to avoid too many climatic changes to the oil, using, where appropriate, insulated containers that keep the oil at a constant temperature.

Use corks and not metal pouring devices.
Contact with the air can damage the oil: so always close the bottle tightly with corks and avoiding metal pouring devices, very useful but not very tight.
Normally, before being bottled, extra virgin olive oil is filtered making it clearer and therefore ensures longer conservation. However, not all oils are filtered and, especially if you buy them in winter, often they leave a slight deposit of olive fragments on the bottom of the bottle. This sedimentation obviously has nothing to do with oil deterioration, however, for better oil conservation it is advisable to decant it.
Even though stainless steel is often preferred because it does not break, it washes easily and completely filters light, dark glass remains the best material to store oil. Plastic containers are to be strictly avoided they can release substances or transmit a synthetic smell to the oil. Oil, in fact, quickly and easily absorbs odours and thus should be stored in a clean, ventilated environment free of odours.

It is all written on the label.
In addition to information regarding the origin and quality of the product, the label usually contains, all the necessary information for the consumer for the proper conservation of extra virgin olive oil. First of all, the date of minimum term storage: "Best before ..." with the day, month and year in which the oil maintains its specific properties intact, such as appropriate storage conditions (typically 12, 18 months after bottling). Therefore, these conditions are indicated: "keep away from light and away from sources of heat."

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