Oils are fats that are in liquid form at room temperature.
Exposure to light and air can cause them to deteriorate, so keep them in airtight containers in a cool place along with vinegars, salt, and seasonings, all of which require similar storage conditions for long life.
- Bruising ingredients: Lightly bruise fresh herbs before steeping in vinegar to help release their flavor. Cloves of garlic and shallots also benefit from being lightly crushed.
- Infusing quickly: To infuse flavors into vinegar quickly, heat the vinegar gently until almost boiling. Pour it onto your chosen flavoring, cool, then seal in bottles.
- Flavoring with fruits: Use fresh raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, or slices of lemon or orange to make delicately flavored fruit vinegars, which can be used to add mellow flavors to savory dishes and drinks.
- Storing fruit vinegars: To keep fruit vinegars for longer than about one week, strain and then discard the fruits before transferring the vinegar into clean bottles.
Creating unique flavors
Flavored oils and vinegars are easy to make at home. Immerse clean, fresh herbs, spices, fruits, or edible flowers in oil or vinegar in sterilised screw-top bottles.
- Nut oils: Oils that are made from nuts, such as walnut or hazelnut, have rich, intense flavours, making them ideal for use in salads or flavouring savoury dishes. Once opened, store them in the refrigerator, since they deteriorate quickly.
- Olive oil: Save the best- quality extra-virgin olive oil for lightly cooked dishes and salads since too much heat will destroy the fine flavour and aroma of the oil.
- Healthy oils: Use oils labelled monounsaturated, such as olive oil, or polyunsaturated, such as sunflower oil, for a healthy diet. These do not increase blood cholesterol levels, unlike saturated animal fats.
Storing bottles of oil: To help keep cabinet shelves clean, stand bottles of oil on a tray that can easily be wiped clean. Use a tray that has deep sides to reduce the risk of the bottles being knocked over.
Storing free-running salt: To make sure salt stays dry, and therefore runs freely from the salt shaker, add a few grains of rice to the shaker. Replace the rice every few months – not every time you refill the shaker.