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General Shopping Tips for Buying Olive Oil

Light exposure causes the oil to become rancid and lose its healthful properties—buy extra-virgin olive oil in dark glass bottles and metal cans and store it in a cool, dark place.

Bottling and/or expiration dates provide guidance on how long the oil will keep.

If you don’t use extra-virgin olive oil regularly, buy small bottles—polyphenols and flavor can diminish as the oil is exposed to air.

The color of the oil doesn’t indicate its quality—rather the variety and ripeness of olives used to make it.

What You Need to Know about Smoke Point

You might have heard that you can’t cook with extra-virgin olive oil because it breaks down when heated, creating harmful substances and destroying its beneficial properties. But all oils break down when they are heated to their smoke point or reheated repeatedly. However, an oil’s smoke point is really a temperature range (olive oil’s is between 365-420°F), not an absolute number because many factors affect the chemical properties of oil. You can safely and healthfully cook with any oil by not heating it until it’s smoking—to get your oil hot enough to cook with, just heat it until it shimmers.

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