Did you know that olive oil is basically fruit juice!
Unlike other vegetable oils that are made by extracting the oil with heat and chemical solvents, the olive ‘fruit’ is mechanically crushed to extract the ‘juice’. This is one of the reasons Extra Virgin Olive Oil is super healthy, full of polyphenols, minerals and good fats!
While drinking a glass of fruit juice of this type might sound a little off putting, a nice big spoonful of good quality EVOO every morning is worth trying!
Behold the mortal enemies of olive oil! All of the above mentioned things are like cryptonite to high quality Extra Virgin. But don’t worry, you can be the superhero of your own kitchen and save your oil from going rancid straight away by following these tips!
1. Store your oil bottle in a cupboard or pantry, or any place that’s dark. It helps if the bottle itself is colored. A lot of olive oil producers, like us, choose a dark green or black bottle on purpose to help maintain the quality of the oil. It’s also important that the bottle is made of glass or ceramic.
2. It’s handy to have the oil bottle next to the stove, ready to be used, right? Wrong. The fact that the oil is exposed to temperatures that go up and down has a big effect on the taste. Another good reason to keep the bottle in the pantry/cupboard.
3. When you’re not using the oil, keep the lid on tight. The less contact the oil has withoxygen, the better!
4. Before you buy the olive oil of your choice, it’s wise to estimate roughly how fast you think you will use it. If you are like us and use olive oil in all your cooking, you can safely buy a big bottle or even a container, because you will surely use it before it goes bad. If instead you like to use oil as a finisher, on salads, or maybe don’t cook at home that much, it’s better to buy just a small bottle. Time unfortunately does no favours to oil. Always check the harvest date on the lable and use the oil within 30-60 days of opening the bottle.
High-quality olive oil, what’s that?
We hear this question often. If you are not used to tasting different oils, it can be hard to evaluate which brand of oil is the best for you.
One thing is clear: when you want quality, go for the Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It has the best health benefits and the freshest taste.
Just like with wine, you can take a lot of courses and educate yourself on how to recognise EVOO of high quality. There are chemical and sensory methods to do so. Sound too complicated? An easy way to start understanding the differences between bad oil and good oil is to open a bottle and smell it. Does it smell rancid and just unpleasant? It’s bad oil. Does it smell like freshly cut grass? Most likely it’s yummy and healthy EVOO.
Obviously you can’t go to the supermarket and start opening bottles to check their quality (pity!). But you can buy a few different brands that seem interesting (*ahem* like Verde Vivace) and have a go at tasting them! In time you will discover your favourite EVOO.
“Polyphenols” is the magic word used often when talking about Extra Virgin Olive Oil. But what are polyphenols, and why are they so important to your health?
Wait, do you really want the scientific explanation? Cause it’s really long and includes some shady figures. To put it shortly, polyphenols are antioxidants, that fight the free radicals in your body.
They are a group of phytochemicals, which are basically micronutrients in plants. They give the plants their colour and protect them from various threats. So when you eat plants, you get to enjoy their health benefits aswell!
Polyphenols are part of the reason high quality EVOO tastes a bit bitter, and tickles your throat when you swallow it.
A lot EVOO’s are marketed having super high levels of polyphenols, but attention on what is real and what is not. If you want to check the actual level of polyphenols in the oil that you’ve bought, you would have to pay a lab to do so.
Since any EVOO has a significant level of polyphenols, you’re quite safe with the oil of your choice.
Do you prefer your EVOO filtered or unfiltered? What’s the difference between these two?
There are those who think extra virgin olive oil needs to be filtered. It makes the colour of the oil brighter, improves the taste and prolongs the shelf life. Then there are those who think olive oil should NOT be filtered. To them unfiltered oil tastes better, it’s healthier (because usually a percentage of the antioxidants and vitamins are lost in the filtering process) and the colour is nice and cloudy.
These two schools of thought only agree on the shelf life: the filtered oil does stay fresher for a bit longer. So the choice is yours! Filtered or unfiltered? Maybe some of both?
Probably the most widespread of myths concerning EVOO is that it can’t be used for high temperature cooking because of its low smoke point. That you can’t deep fry with it, nor does it go well with pan-frying either.
There are no studies to support these claims.
Instead various studies have shown that Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the safest and the most stable oil to cook with. It’s also significantly healthier than other oils.
It’s understandable if you want to use your high quality EVOO only as a finisher of plates, because that way you truly get to enjoy the fresh taste of it. But it’s also important to know that olive oil is versatile and can be used in all types of cooking.