Some olives are better as snacks, others are better for cooking. Olives used in recipes should still be firm but give an added taste to the food. Ordinary olives do not have a flavor, therefore, you need to add the flavor to the olives.
When you buy plain olives, drain them and rinse them in cold water. When you rinse the olives, you remove any preservatives or other ingredients added to the olives you buy. Drain the olives and add a little, good olive oil, one or two large cloves pressed garlic, add a little lemon or lime juice, add a little fresh rosemary and/or fresh thyme, a couple of bay leaves (fresh ones are wonderful if you happen to have a bay tree) and a couple or more slices of fresh lemon to give more flavor and color.
Olive oil is judged by taste, fragrance, color, bouquet and consistency. Olive oils can have a taste of artichokes, or a bitter and fruity taste which comes from ripe olives. Olive oil can taste ³fresh² or green, it can have a bitter flavor, can taste spicy or can have a sharp taste at the tip of the tongue.
An olive oil of poor quality can taste of almond or have a very strong, bitter taste or rancid. If an olive oil taste of cucumber, it is old; if it is cloudy or has particles in it, it will give an unpleasant smell or taste. An olive oil will taste of "earth" if the olives have not been properly washed before pressing. Olive oil can also have a peculiar taste if the olives were pressed after a frost.
If olive oil is cloudy, has solids, light green spots along the sides, it does not mean that it is a poor quality olive oil. These are the results of olive oil stored in a cold place, which indicates that the olive oil is of a good quality.
A particularly good olive oil is not recommended for cooking because it tends to burn at high temperatures. For frying you should use a less expensive olive oil, for example one that is pressed from olive pits. This type of olive oil can tolerate the higher temperatures. A particularly good olive oil is best in cold foods such as salads. It may also be used instead of butter. Instead of butter, use a little good, filtered olive oil and dip a good French or Italian bread in it and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. You could also mash an anchovy and use it with the oil - either in the oil or spread on thinly spread on the bread and then dipped in olive oil.
Olive oil is usually pressed from half ripe olives and ripe olives which gives the oils a variety of tastes and fragrances (smells). The quality of the olive oil depends on how carefully the olives were picked, handled, transported and pressed. The best and finest olive oil comes from the first cold pressing under mild pressure. Olive oil decreases in quality after the first pressing, depending on the pressing and the temperature . The lowest quality olive oil is used for soaps. Color of olive oil can vary from light golden to dark green tones. Color, however, does not indicate the taste or quality of the oil. A green olive oil means that only green olives were used. Virgin olive oil contains the greatest amount of aroma and has the best flavor. A bit of the flavor is eliminated from refined, cheaper olive oils. Extra Virgin oil is the best olive oil and should have the perfect taste and acid content under 1 percent. Often olive oil is cold pressed, but this is not the only acceptable form of producing olive oil.
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