Olive oil not only tastes good, it is also healthy. Oil expert Andreas März tells you how to get the best out of olive oil, when you should use it for frying – and where and how long you can store olive oil.

No, it’s too cold in the fridge. Olive oil solidifies at least partially at low temperatures. Between 14°C and 18°C ​​is ideal, but olive oil should be stored in the dark. Specialist retailers will therefore never expose quality oils to daylight or artificial light, but if they do, they will only display empty bottles. This is because light, heat and oxygen cause rapid loss of quality.

Andreas März studied agriculture in Zurich. After working for a chemical company in Basel, he moved to an olive farm in Tuscany and fulfilled his dream of becoming a farmer. He lives with his family in Lamporecchio, works as an olive farmer and agricultural journalist and publishes the magazine Merum several times a year.

Not only can you, you should! Olive oil has only one double bond and is therefore less susceptible to oxidation than polyunsaturated fatty acids with two or three double bonds. In addition, the polyphenols in a high-quality extra virgin oil increase the oil’s resistance to oxidative damage (the German Society for Fat Science recommends: “The set temperature of the deep fryer should not exceed 180°C and should preferably be in the range of 160-175°C.”)

The inhabitants of the Mediterranean countries have proven millions of times and for centuries that olive oil is suitable for heating in the kitchen, because there olive oil is not only poured liberally over pasta, meat and vegetables, it is also used for frying, deep-frying and baking.

Olive oil is a plant juice. The less time passes between harvesting and consumption, the better it tastes and the more intact its ingredients are. Olive oil is best consumed within a year, i.e. before the new oil is available in autumn.

Nothing. The law gives producers free rein when it comes to the best-before date. The vintage and bottling date are far more meaningful. For quality producers, declaring the year of production and bottling date is a matter of course.

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Yes, cloudy olive oil is more natural. But not everything that is natural is also appetizing. Cloudy olive oil is neither healthier nor better than filtered olive oil – unless you consume it freshly pressed – and above all it does not last long, but quickly loses its aromas, its color and the substances that are beneficial to health. This is because the cloudiness consists mainly of water and substances dissolved in it, which quickly reduce the quality of the oil. For this reason, high-quality oil is filtered immediately after extraction.

Andreas März publishes the magazine “Merum”. Merum presents the best olive oils in Italy in a special edition (available in stores from April 20, 2024, 9.90 euros). The centerpiece is a selection of 140 top Italian oils from the new harvest. The oils were selected from 307 candidates in a blind tasting and rated in three quality levels. The guide also contains useful articles and background information.

Olive oil is an extremely digestible, healthy fat, because a full-fledged extra virgin contains numerous substances that are beneficial to the human body: monounsaturated oleic acid, antioxidants, vitamins and a variety of other valuable substances. It has been proven that the risk of cardiovascular problems is reduced, free radicals are neutralized and other health risks are mitigated the more other fats in the diet are replaced with olive oil.

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Extracting oil from tree fruits is a priori more complex than extracting it from seeds harvested with combine harvesters. This is even the case with fully mechanized olive plantations that produce bulk oils. It is more complex and expensive with traditional high-stem systems, where a lot of manual work is required. If you want to produce not just olive oil, but a top-quality oil, then it becomes really expensive, because everything has to happen very quickly and the olives have to be processed in a state-of-the-art facility.

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