Among olive oils, French is sweetest


June 15, 1994

Q: What is French olive oil?

A: If anyone could answer this question, it would be chef Terry Brennan of the outstanding New York restaurant Picholine. Mr. Brennan, an expert in Mediterranean cooking, named his restaurant after the tiny French olives growing in the Mediterranean. He says French olive oil is slightly sweeter and more delicate in flavor than olive oils from other regions. It's a pale green. This flavor could be best appreciated in salad dressing, mayonnaises and as a condiment for dipping bread.

Q: Is there a sell date for coffee? How long will coffee stay fresh once the can is open?

A: Most canned brands of coffee do not display a sell date that is legible to the consumer. As soon as the coffee bean is ground it begins to give off carbon dioxide and deteriorate, so ground coffee that is packaged with a vacuum seal will last longer than one without. Once opened, packages of ground coffee should be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator, probably for no more than two to three weeks for optimum freshness.

Tip: A reader writes to give us another use for crystallized ginger from family tradition. Her grandmother would keep a small bowl of this confection in the china closet to nibble on after a meal to aid digestion.

We'd like to hear from you. Send your questions to: What's Cooking, c/o Food & Home, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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