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Australia is currently the largest consumer of olive oil per capita outside the Mediterranean. However, myths and ignorance still remain about this gold liquid that can be found in many Ausralian pantries.

Australian celebrity chef Peter Howard has identified tips to help you use your Australian extra virgin olive oil to its full potential.

Howard said one of the most common myths about olive oil is that it should not be used for pan frying.

“Due to its composition and high concentration of antioxidants, olive oil is infact the best oil for pan frying,” Howard said.

Here are the top five reasons why olive oil should not be left aside when it comes down to frying;

– the nutritional value and composition of olive oil are not substantially altered through heating. Extra virgin olive oil also contains its own natural antioxidants that further protect its integrity in cooking;

– olive oil is a most stable fat and stands up well to high frying temperatures. Its high smoking point (210°C) is substantially higher than the ideal temperature for frying food (180°C);

– food fried in olive oil has a lower fat content than food fried in other oils because when olive oil is used, very little is absorbed during frying;

– olive oil increases in volume when reheated, so less is required for cooking and frying;

– the digestibility of heated olive oil does not change even when reused for frying several times.

How long can I expect my olive oil to last?

Extra virgin olive oil is best consumed young because this is when its fresh aromas and flavours are at their peak.

However, the higher levels of natural antioxidants and monounsaturated fats found in extra virgin olive oil mean that it generally remains fresher longer than other edible oils. Provided they are stored properly, the majority of extra virgin olive oils will retain good flavour and freshness for at least 12 months.

How should I store my olive oil?

Olive oil should be stored in a cool and dark place.

Refrigerating extra virgin olive oil is a good way of prolonging the shelf life of the oil without affecting its aroma and flavour.

What exactly is Australian extra virgin olive oil?

Australian extra virgin olive oil is the natural oil from quality olives that have been picked straight off the tree and extracted as soon as possible without the use of chemicals or excessive heat.

Extra virgin olive oil is the most beneficial olive oil for health and wellbeing.

It is rich and diverse in protective antioxidants which help lower bad cholesterol and maintain the beneficial HDL cholesterol.

Australian extra virgin olive oil is versatile and can be used every day as an ingredient or accompaniment to food and for almost all forms of cooking.

More information on Australian extra virgin olive oil is available by calling (02) 9863 8735.