The best olive oil has been integrated in my Chinese cooking, though I hadn't tried olive oil before 1994.
Olive oil is a good fat with many antioxidants that can lower your cholesterol, prevent cardiovascular diseases, increase your metabolism and improve your immune system. I think a cook who wants healthy food should include olive oil into their recipes. I use it for Chinese style salad and cool noodle dishes in summer.
Here are some basic information about olive oil:
Good olive oil comes from the pressing of the olive fruit without any chemial involvement. To have high quality of olive oil, it's mandatory to put the olives into the mill within 24 hours from harvesting.
During the mill process, the olives are rinsed and the leaves are removed. Then the olives, pits and all, are chopped up, forming a smooth consistency which will be spun at a very high speed so that the solids, the oil, and the water are separated. The result is a fresh green olive oil.
If you want to buy the best olive oil, the purest and highest quality one is Extra Virgin olive oil. It has no defects; nor has it been altered. But not every bottle with the word of "Extra Virgin" is the real thing. For olive oil produced in California, look for an oil that is certified by the California Olive Oil Council. This ensures that the oil has had a chemical analysis performed and has been blind tasted by a tasting panel and then rated for its level of the three positive attributes:
The oil must not contain any trace of the many defects like fustiness, rancidity, mustiness, etc.
The way to learn a wine's quality is to taste it. You can lean about olive oil by tasting it, too. Many olive oil shops offer this service.
How to taste olive oil:
Olive oil tasting normally involves two steps: smelling the aroma of the oil, and then sipping it to taste its positive attributes.
However, official tasters drink the oil from a dark blue glass. This is to ensure that they don't see the color of the olive oil and thus are prevented from being influenced by an oil's green or gold color.
No matter if you are an official taster or not, look for these three qualities from olive oil:
Have you had a bottle of olive oil in your pantry for a while? Grab it and pour it in a wine glass to see if it's still good.
Arch one of your hand to cover the glass about one inch high while the other hand holds the base of the glass to warm it. After one minute or so, put your nose into the glass and breath in. If you smell something fruity, such as apple, cut grass or tomato leaves, it's good. If it smells like paint thinner, bacon or a musty cellar, then it's mostly defective and should be thrown away.
You may also slurp in about a quarter of a teaspoon olive oil and let it sit on your tongue while you breathe in. Then swallow a bit and look for any signs of pepper in the throat. If you experience a greasing feeling on your tongue, it means that the oil has past its prime.
Olive oil is a fresh product. After you buy the best olive oil for your health, don't let it become bad. It needs to be used within 24 months after it's made. And it's best to use it up within months after you open the bottle.
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