by Kate Heyhoe
I have been told by my nutrition saavy doctor and dietician to refrigerate
olive oil, but it seems to defeat the purpose when i have to "melt" the
bottle of olive oil under hot tap water in order to use it. Any
The purpose of refrigerating olive oil is to retain its freshness, and as far as I know, does not enhance its existing nutritional benefits.
Olive oil has a short shelf life. By that I mean that once exposed to oxygen it will begin to break down and become rancid. Keeping it a dark cool spot retards this process. Warming it up with running water is not a problem, as long as you return it the refrigerator when done.
As an alternative method, simply do what most Europeans and Middle Eastern families do: decant a small amount of oil to a pourable container and use it, storing the rest in a cool dark spot. You can buy olive oil cans from cookware stores, or simply funnel it into a bottle and cork it. Pour in only what you think you'll use in 1 to 2 week period, and keep it away from direct sunlight, like in a cabinet, if it's a clear container.
Finally, there are wine preservative sprays that work by filling the air-space in the bottle with a harmless blend of nitrogen, carbon dioxide and argon gas. Besides being handy for opened bottles of wine, they also work well for olive oil, liqueurs and other sensitive liquids. I use a brand called Private Reserve made in Napa Valley; look for it at wine and liquor stores.
For more on olives and olive oil, plus a recipe, check out this FoodDay column (the precursor to Global Gourmet Today).
The Global Gourmet
This page originally published as a Global Gourmet Today column in 1998.
Copyright © 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page modified January 2007
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