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The guide to better cooking with olive oils

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Despite being commonly found on dinner tables and in pantries around the world, olive oil is a nuanced and often-misunderstood ingredient. There are always questions when it comes to cooking with olive oil. When should you use extra virgin, and when should you use just olive oil? What’s the difference?

Knowing your olive oils can greatly enhance not just the flavour of your meals, but their health benefits.

Extra virgin olive oil is the highest quality – and most expensive – olive oil available. It is produced entirely by mechanical means without the use of any solvents, and under temperatures of 30°C. It also has no additives, so the distinct flavour of the oil comes only from the olives.

 

While extra virgin remains the indisputable king of the olive oil world, that doesn’t preclude other olive oil variations from being an excellent cooking resource. Most bottles simply labelled “olive oil“are fino (Italian for “fine”), meaning they contain a mixture of extra virgin and virgin oils.

 

Another type is light olive oil. Due to an intense filtration process, it has a lighter colour and taste. It is the type of olive oil most often used when frying. It has a much higher smoke point, or where the oil releases unhealthy carcinogens.

The Electrolux EHED63CS induction cooking hob provides a steady, consistent heat that is optimal for cooking with olive oil.

So if you’re frying food, go with light olive oil. Use an Electrolux EHED63CS induction cooktop with its intuitive touch controls to ensure heat is consistently and evenly distributed based on the size of your pan for better results.   Understanding olive oil flavours is also important in using them well.

 

Fruity

Typically made with almost-ripe olives, this extra virgin olive oil has a fruitier flavour that works well as a dressing over leafy salads or steamed vegetables. If you are looking for a fruitier, more mild-tasting extra virgin, look for bottles produced in Greece. It will work well for all-around use, and with delicate ingredients like seafood.

 

Pungent

Also described as a “peppery” taste, the pungent flavour tends to come from somewhat green olives. Best drizzled over pasta, grilled vegetables, or generally more robust dishes.

 

Bitter

Extra virgin oils with a bitter taste come from mature olives. Bitter definitely doesn’t translate to “bad,” as much of the world’s best extra virgin olive oil is classified by pleasant bitterness, just like coffee.

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