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Preserving Food with Olive Oil

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  • Preserving Food with Olive Oil

    I have not tried this my self but it sounds interesting. - AC

    Preserving Summer with Olive Oil
    By Carol Firenze
    September 01, 2010

    The days are getting shorter and autumn is moving in. Yet in our gardens and at our local farmers? markets, we have an abundance of fresh produce. Did you know that you can preserve many of your favorite foods in olive oil and enjoy a bit of summer through the fall and winter?

    For centuries, people have sought ways to preserve their food and reap the benefits of the harvest all year long. In many of the countries around the Mediterranean, one of the most natural ways to preserve food was, and still is, with olive oil. Olive oil can be used to preserve vegetables, meats, fish, cheese and herbs. My Italian family is especially adept at preserving sott'olio (meaning ?under the oil?); my French friends remind me that the recipes are really ? l?huile and in Spanish, the recipes are en aceite de oliva.

    Why preserve in olive oil?

    Olive oil is a natural preservative that prevents spoilage by isolating the food from air, providing a seal that can delay oxidation, deterioration and molding.

    (This oxygen free environment is perfect for growth of potentially highly toxic bacteria. See warning article below. - Amish Country)

    In the days before refrigeration, the summer months were perhaps the busiest time of year as people spent hours filling canning jars to preserve and store the summer?s bounty. Even today, many people enjoy canning their own fruits and vegetables, not only to preserve the fresh, home-grown taste, but also as a money-saving way to enjoy the best of the garden all year round. While there may be less need to preserve your own food, given the modern conveniences such as refrigeration, commercial cold storage, big box grocery stores and long distance shipping, there is a wonderful satisfaction to being personally involved in the process. Not only can you create your own recipes, but there?s nothing like giving a delicious home-made gift, made from the heart (and the heart of the garden), for others to enjoy.

    What foods are best suited for preserving in olive oil?

    What foods are best preserved in olive oil?
    Preserving in olive oil is particularly well suited to certain foods that are either eaten in small quantities or usually cooked in olive oil, for example:
    • Sun-dried tomatoes
    • Baby artichokes
    • Sweet peppers
    • Eggplants
    • Mushrooms
    • Goat cheese
    • Basil for making pesto
    • Lemons
    • Sardines
    • Tuna fish

    Of course, we?ll need to wait until the winter to preserve our lemons in olive oil (exquisite). And, while it?s quite possible, I don?t expect many of you will be preserving tuna fish or sardines this summer in your home kitchen (even though on one of my trips to Italy a few years ago, my 96 year-old grandfather did bring back sardines that he had packed in oil while visiting his sister). Now that was a souvenir we treasured!

    Making Pesto in Summer

    One of my favorite ways to preserve summer is to pick basil from my garden and make pesto for the year. I keep it in small jars in my freezer to add to my winter pastas and soups.

    What you need:
    • 1 cup fresh basil (about 25 basil leaves)
    • 2 garlic cloves (peeled)
    • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
    • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • ? cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
    • small jars for storing

    What you do:
    1. Rinse and pat dry the basil leaves.
    2. Place in food processor* the basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
    3. Blend for 1 minute
    4. Add grated Parmesan cheese (enough to make a paste)
    5. Carefully lift the lid of the blender and scrap the sides of the blender using a small rubber spatula.
    6. Store Pesto in small jars and freeze.
    7. Always store your finished Pesto sott'olio - meaning you will add an extra protective layer of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

    * I sometimes prepare my Pesto using a marble mortar and wooden pestle. The pounding and crushing action of the pestle gives the Pesto a smooth, creamy texture and brings out the flavor of all the ingredients.

    Safety Tips for Preserving in Olive Oil

    Keep in mind that methods for preserving food in olive oil will vary depending on whether the food is to be kept for a short time in the refrigerator, (e.g. 2-3 weeks), in a freezer (for up to 12 months) or to be stored at room temperature in a pantry or cupboard (for 1 ? 2 years or more). Foods stored at room temperature require cooking beforehand (boiling in salted water or vinegar solutions) to preserve the food safely. In addition:
    • Vegetables packed in oil require care in preparation. They should be ripe and blemish free.
    • After washing the vegetables, make sure they are dry.
    • Cook vegetables in stainless steel (or non-reactive pans), since often vinegar is used in the preparation.
    • Make sure your tools and containers are clean and dry.
    • Use glass containers for storage with lids that close tightly.
    • Place your food in the containers until full and then completely cover with extra virgin olive oil.
    • Make sure none of the food is protruding above the oil.
    • Add olive oil to form a seal.
    • Cover tightly and store.

    And speaking of safety, it?s always important to use your eyes and nose to make sure that canned and preserved foods are safe for eating. Before you open a sott'olio jar, be careful. If the lid is bulging or the jar is leaking, it may not have been sealed tightly enough. This indicates that the food has spoiled and you will need to discard it.

    Check upcoming issues of Pressing Times for Recipes of the Month and preserving food in olive oil.
    link to source:
    Last edited by Amish Country; August 25, 2015, 08:34 AM.
    We were put on this earth to help and take care of one another.

  • #2

    Posted in Facts by Rachel Condesa
    As any hard cured cheese, Manchego is very easy to store and preserve as long as you follow a basic set of recommendations.

    If you purchase an entire wheel of Manchego you can either keep it in the fridge or store it in a dry cellar or room that is no warmer than about 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20?C).

    If you keep it in the fridge, place the cheese on a wooden tray, cover it with waxed paper and place it on the lower tray making sure it doesn’t get wet.
    If you plan to store it in a room, then ensure there is good ventilation and the humidity levels are low. Also place the cheese on a wooden tray and wrap it with waxed paper. This will help to preserve the true flavors of the Manchego.

    If you have a wedge of Manchego, then it’s better to store it in the fridge using a plastic storage container. Alternatively, you can wrap the wedge with a wet cloth, as it was done traditionally. Although you can use aluminium foil or a plastic wrap, these are not ideal and should only be used for short storage times – They are fine if you’re planning to eat your cheese fast!

    A great idea to preserve small pieces of Manchego is to place them in a jar with extra virgin olive oil. You can also get creative and add some herbs or garlic into the mix. It’s important to remember that the jar with oil and cheese should not be sealed airtight. Instead, you should cover the opening with a piece of waxed paper and rubber band before placing in the refrigerator. This will last 2 to 3 months and will taste fantastic afterwards.
    We were put on this earth to help and take care of one another.


    • #3
      Fair use.

      O R E G O N S T A T E U N I V E R S I T Y E x t e n s i o n S e r v i c e
      Food Safety & Preservation: Herbs and Vegetables in Oil
      SP 50-701, Revised February 2014

      It?s important to keep food safety in mind when storing vegetables (such as garlic, mushrooms, chili peppers) or herbs in oil. These low - acid foods can be a source of Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which are found in soil, water, and air. Oil?s oxygen - free environment is perfect for growth of the bacteria. For this reason, herbs and vegetables in oil must be stored correctly to prevent botulism
      food poisoning.

      Commercial garlic -in -oil mixtures are acidified to prevent bacterial growth. These products can be stored safely at room temperature. Unfortunately, acidification of homemade herb or vegetables in oil mixtures can?t be recommended until research is conducted. Instead, it?s essential to store these hazardous products in the refrigerator or freezer.

      When raw or cooked vegetables or raw herbs are stored in oil, Clostridium botulinum bacteria can grow. These mixtures must be refrigerated to slow bacterial growth. A national research study (which included Oregon households) has shown, however, that home refrigerators are often not cold enough to safely store hazardous food such as vegetables and herbs in oil for long periods.

      Because harmful bacteria can grow faster at higher refrigerator temperatures, the length of refrigerated storage must be limited for safety. According to conclusions drawn in an analysis of handling procedures (Nummer et al., 2011), vegetables and herbs in oil mixtures should not be refrigerated longer than 4 days before using, discarding, or freezing. Label containers with the date that the oil mixture was prepared as well as the date (four days later) by which the mixture must be used or else frozen for longer storage.

      Storage Recommendations

      Raw or cooked garlic and/or raw herbs in oil These mixtures MUST be refrigerated and used within 4 days or frozen for long term storage. Note: (Raw garlic MAY be safely stored in vinegar at room temperature.)

      Dried garlic and/or dried herbs in oil If oil is seasoned with dried garlic and/or dried herbs, the mixture MUST be refrigerated and used within 4 days or frozen for long term storage.

      Dried tomatoes seasoned with garlic and/or herbs
      Dried tomatoes in oil mixtures with garlic and/or herbs MUST be refrigerated and used within 4 days or frozen for long term storage.

      Dried tomatoes in oil Because of their acidity, unseasoned (i.e., no vegetables or herbs) fully dried tomatoes may be safely stored in oil at room temperature. (Refrigeration may delay rancidity, however). The tomatoes will
      soften more if quickly dipped in bottled lemon or lime juice before being placed in the oil. The tomatoes can be flavored with dried herbs and garlic.
      NOTE: Dried tomatoes in oil mixtures with garlic and/or herbs MUST be refrigerated and used within 4 days or frozen for long term storage.

      Dried tomatoes in oil can be used on pizza, pasta salads, appetizers, and
      Italian dishes.
      The oil can be used in vinaigrette dressing, or in a marinade sauce. It can also be used as a dip for French bread.

      Mushrooms or chilies in oil Mushrooms and chilies in oil must be refrigerated unless they have been pickled with vinegar or lemon juice. Mixtures must be refrigerated and used within 4 days or frozen for long term storage.

      Pesto Pesto (an uncooked seasoning which includes fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, and oil) must be refrigerated and used within 4 days or frozen for long term storage. No researched canning times.

      Basic pesto
      ? cup pine nuts (or sunflower seeds, walnuts, or a combination)
      3 cloves garlic
      2 cups fresh basil leaves (or 1 cup basil and 1 cup parsley leaves)
      ? cup grated Parmesan cheese
      ? teaspoon salt
      ? cup olive oil
      Finely chop nuts and garlic in a food processor. (A blender can also be used, but it is more time consuming. Add basil and chop really fine. Add Parmesan cheese and salt. Mix well. When everything is well blended, add oil and mix all ingredients together. Store pesto in the refrigerator and use within 4 days or freeze for long term storage.

      Pesto can be frozen in ice cube trays. When frozen, wrap individual cubes in plastic wrap and store in a freezer container.

      Fresh Vegetables/Herbs in Oil
      Place whole or crushed vegetables and/or herbs in a clean container. Add oil and refrigerate. Use within 4 days or freeze for long term storage.

      Flavored Dried Tomatoes in Oil
      The tomatoes can be flavored with fresh or dried herbs and garlic. To soften tomatoes quickly, dip in bottled lemon juice or 5% vinegar before placing in the oil.
      Store in the refrigerator and use within 4 days or freeze for long term storage.

      Reference: Nummer, B.A., Schaffner, D.W., Fraser, A.M., and Andress, E.L. Current food safety issues of home prepared vegetables and herbs stored in oil. Food Protection Trends 31:336 342, 2011.
      Developed by Carolyn Raab, PhD., R.D., Extension Foods and Nutrition Specialist, and Margy Woodburn, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor, Nutrition and Food Management.

      Information source link:
      We were put on this earth to help and take care of one another.