MYTH: Olive oil mustn’t be used for frying
TRUTH: Oils rich in saturated fats are usually not suitable for frying, but olive oil is an exception because it contains a high concentration of monosaturated oleic fatty acid, as well as high levels of phenolic compounds. These substances contribute to the stability of olive oil in high temperatures. To be more precise, olive oil starts to smoke at 210°C and it does not break down as quickly as other seed oils, even after repeated heating. It can therefore be used for frying as well as roasting without concern about the appearance of undesirable compounds.
MYTH: Olive oil may be stored in a plastic bottle
TRUTH: The short answer would be: “NO to plastic bottles!”. If you visit any market in Croatia, you will find “real home-made” olive oil in plastic bottles. The reason why is purely practical – plastic bottles are cheaper and more accessible. But that kind of approach really gets under the olive producers’ skin, to put it mildly. Plastic releases damaging compounds that literally pollute the oil. Be advised that the proper storing of virgin olive oil significantly affects its quality.
MYTH: Olive oil can be stored anywhere
TRUTH: Olive oil has three sworn enemies: temperature, light and air (oxygen). Processed olive oil must be stored in neutral containers. If possible, these should be inox containers filled with aerial nitrogen to protect the oil from oxidation. The same way it is for food, air is olive oil’s arch nemesis. In addition, the room the oil is kept in should be airy and not have sudden changes in temperature. The ideal temperature for storing it is between 16 and 18°C (it is not advisable to keep it in temperatures over 18°C). People tend to keep olive oil in the kitchen, next to the stove, where high temperatures can affect its quality.
MYTH: The size of the olive oil container is not important
TRUTH: Many people wonder why olive oil is sold in small bottles between 200 and 500 ml. The reason why is that once opened, a bottle should be spent as soon as possible. Every time it is opened, air enters the bottle, and as we have just explained, air is one of oil’s most formidable and dangerous enemies.
MYTH: The shape of the bottle does not affect the quality of the oil
TRUTH: Smaller quantities of oil used at home should be kept in glass bottles. In addition, it is important to point out that the square shape is ideal for storing as it reduces the surface of oil exposed to the light. Darker bottles of a square shape protect the olive oil from the damaging effect of high temperature and light.
MYTH: Olive oil has no expiration date
TRUTH: Unlike wine, the quality of olive oil does not improve with age; it oxidizes and needs to be spent in no more than two years. Mixing it with any kind of inferior inedible oil or virgin olive oil is inadvisable as it destroys the nutritional value of high quality olive oil.
MYTH: Olive oil may be stored in the refrigerator
TRUTH: Olive oil crystallizes, that is, freezes, in low temperatures. When put into the refrigerator, a part of the fatty acids solidify, resulting in the oil rapidly diminishing in quality once the bottle is opened.
MYTH: The color of the olive oil matters
TRUTH: The color of the olive oil does not speak to its quality, only to the amount of chlorophyll that it contains. Olives picked earlier in the season (usually green) tend to provide a green oil as it contains more chlorophyll. Olives picked later in the season (usually ripe) tend to provide golden yellow oil due to the carotene they contain. The two types of oil can be of same quality on the technical level, but are very different in taste. The color of oil depends also on the manner that it is stored. If the oil is stored properly (inox filled with nitrogen or dark glass bottles), it will maintain its green color longer.