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Three ways to find the best olive oil for cooking

Today, many people imagine themselves as artisan chefs, and they use their kitchens not for preparing food but for culinary arts. For these home chefs, one of the first ingredients they dive head first into is olive oil, and almost no stone is left unturned in their quest to find the best olive oil for cooking.

The problem they run into is debating whether it is okay to cook with olive oil. There is a school of thought that says that heat will destroy integrity and that no one should cook with it. Others believe that it has been around for thousands of years, and for the countries of origin, cooking with olive oil is as natural as possible. The net result of this disagreement is a home chef not sure what to think. All they wanted to do was cook amazing food.

Let’s make it easy. In short, yes, you can cook with olive oil, but you have to be smart about how you use it. In addition, you should brush up on the knowledge a bit to make the most educated call about what you are going to bring to your kitchen.

Here is a little help on how to choose the best olive oil to cook at home:

Know where the oil is from – It is important to read the labels to know where it comes from. As a basic rule of thumb, keep the shortest possible time between harvesting, processing and bottling. The longer the oil has to travel or go through the steps before it gets into a bottle, the degradation of the product can mean, and that’s never a good thing.

Harvest quotes – Some years ago, brewers decided it was unfair for their product to be judged as “skunk” simply because a store released an old product. As a way to help the consumer, they decided to add dates to the packaging so that people could see when the beer was “born”, thus giving consumers a better chance to avoid old beer. Others even go so far as to remove the product from store shelves. In the name of freshness, look for harvest dates on olive oil bottles. Keep in mind that the content does not age like wine, so knowing a harvest date will give you the opportunity to know how long the content has been resting.

Keep it local – As with most things, there is a movement to support local businesses by buying their products. There is greater transparency in the transaction and you can know where your products are coming from. The same goes for olive oil. The United States has slowly become a big player in the market, with professional chefs taking notice and requesting national products in their kitchen. For the home chef looking to purchase a quality cooking ingredient, support local businesses, and be at the forefront of culinary development, this is a no-brainer.

The best olive oil for cooking doesn’t have to break the bank or travel very far. With a little knowledge and the willingness to do a little research, you will find exactly what you need.

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