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Debunking Common Myths and Unveiling Facts About Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is not just a staple in Mediterranean cuisine but also revered worldwide for its health benefits and culinary versatility. However, amidst its growing popularity, several myths and misconceptions have been circulated about this tasty cooking oil. In this article, we’ll debunk the top 10 myths surrounding extra virgin olive oil and shed light on the facts behind this one of our most beloved kitchen essentials.

Myth 1: All Olive Oils Are the Same

Fact: Not all olive oils are created equal. Extra virgin olive oil, obtained from the first cold pressing of olives, undergoes minimal processing and as a result retains the highest levels of antioxidants and nutrients. This ensures that all of the health benefits of the olives themselves are retained in the oil product. At D’Olivo our extra virgin olive oils in particular must meet over 54 parameters to earn their Ultra Premium designation. Ensuring our customers are always getting the best quality available.

On the other hand, refined olive oil undergoes additional processing and lacks the same health benefits and flavor complexity as extra virgin olive oil.

Myth 2: Extra Virgin Olive Oil Shouldn’t Be Used for Cooking at High Temperatures

Fact: Contrary to popular belief, extra virgin olive oil has a higher smoke point than many other cooking oils, typically around 375°F to 410°F (190°C to 210°C). Of course, it’s important in doing this that you’re using the highest quality extra virgin olive oil you can. If you do this, you’re your oil can be good for grilling, sautéing, roasting, and baking.

Myth 3: Extra Virgin Olive Oil Turns Rancid Quickly

Fact: Extra virgin olive oil is actually quite stable and can maintain its quality for up to two years if stored properly in a cool, dark place away from heat and light. However, exposure to air, light, and heat can accelerate oxidation, leading to rancidity. To prolong its shelf life, always seal the bottle tightly and avoid storing it near the stove or oven.

Myth 4: Extra Virgin Olive Oil Should Have a Bitter Taste

Fact: While some high-quality extra virgin olive oils may exhibit bitterness, it’s not a definitive indicator of quality. In fact, a fresh, high quality oil should have a clean, green taste, almost like the smell of fresh cut grass. Of course, the specific taste of extra virgin olive oil can vary widely depending on factors such as olive variety, ripeness at harvest, and production techniques. A well-balanced extra virgin olive oil should have a harmonious blend of fruity, bitter, and pungent flavors.

Myth 5: Extra Virgin Olive Oil Loses Its Health Benefits When Heated

Fact: While heating can alter the flavor profile of extra virgin olive oil, it doesn’t significantly diminish its health benefits. The antioxidants and monounsaturated fats in extra virgin olive oil remain intact even when exposed to heat, making it a healthier choice for cooking compared to many other oils.

Myth 6: Extra Virgin Olive Oil Isn’t Good for Skin

Fact: Extra virgin olive oil has been used for centuries as a natural skincare remedy due to its moisturizing and antioxidant properties. It’s rich in vitamins E and K, which help nourish and protect the skin, making it an excellent choice for moisturizing dry patches, soothing irritation, and even removing makeup.

Myth 7: Extra Virgin Olive Oil Causes Weight Gain

Fact: Despite being calorie-dense, studies have shown that incorporating moderate amounts of extra virgin olive oil into a balanced diet may actually aid in weight management. Its high monounsaturated fat content can help increase satiety and reduce appetite, leading to better weight control when consumed as part of a healthy diet.

Myth 8: Extra Virgin Olive Oil Isn’t Versatile

Fact: Extra virgin olive oil is incredibly versatile and can be used for much more than just drizzling over salads or dipping bread. It adds depth of flavor to marinades, sauces, and dressings, and can even be used in baking to impart moisture and richness to baked goods. We love exploring recipes and finding new ways to use this healthy and delicious oil. For help getting started or to find new recipes, check out our recipe section here – https://dolivotastingbar.com/recipe/

Olive Oil Frequently Asked Questions

What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is a type of edible oil derived from the pressing of olives, the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea). Renowned for its exceptional quality and health benefits, EVOO is widely regarded as one of the healthiest oils available.

What distinguishes extra virgin olive oil from other types of olive oil is its method of extraction and its chemical composition. EVOO is extracted solely by mechanical means, such as pressing or centrifugation, without the use of heat or chemicals. This gentle extraction process preserves the oil’s natural flavors, aromas, and nutritional qualities, making it the highest grade of olive oil available.

The term “extra virgin” refers to the oil meeting specific quality criteria established by international standards organizations, such as the acidity level (expressed as free fatty acid content) and sensory attributes like taste and aroma. To qualify as extra virgin, the oil must have an acidity level of less than 0.8%, exhibit superior taste characteristics, and be free from defects. At D’Olivo our Ultra-Premium oils must meet over 54 parameters to qualify, which ensures our customers get only the highest quality olive oil available.

How is Extra Virgin Olive Oil Made?

Extra virgin olive oil is made through a meticulous process that begins with harvesting ripe olives from olive trees. Once harvested, the olives are cleaned to remove any debris or leaves. Next, they undergo pressing or centrifugation to extract the oil from the fruit. Importantly, this extraction process must be done solely by mechanical means, without the use of heat or chemicals, to qualify as extra virgin olive oil. The resulting oil is then filtered to remove any remaining solids or impurities. Finally, the oil is stored in stainless steel containers or dark glass bottles to protect it from light and air, which can degrade its quality. This careful process preserves the oil’s natural flavors, aromas, and nutritional properties, resulting in the high-quality product known as extra virgin olive oil.

What Are the Health Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) offers a plethora of health benefits due to its rich nutritional profile. High in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants like polyphenols and vitamin E, EVOO is renowned for promoting heart health by reducing LDL cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure. Its anti-inflammatory properties help combat chronic inflammation, potentially reducing the risk of conditions such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and certain cancers. EVOO also supports brain health, as its antioxidants may protect against cognitive decline and improve memory function. Additionally, its high smoke point makes it suitable for cooking at high temperatures without compromising its nutritional integrity. Incorporating extra virgin olive oil into the diet as a replacement for saturated fats can contribute to overall well-being and longevity, making it a cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet and a staple in healthy eating worldwide.

What is the Difference Between Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Regular Olive Oil?

The main difference between extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and regular olive oil lies in their quality, flavor, and production methods. EVOO is the highest grade of olive oil, extracted solely by mechanical means, without heat or chemicals. It undergoes stringent testing to ensure it meets specific quality standards, including low acidity levels and superior taste characteristics. EVOO retains the natural flavors, aromas, and nutrients of the olives, making it rich in antioxidants and beneficial fatty acids. In contrast, regular olive oil, often labeled as “pure” or “light,” undergoes a refining process, which involves heat and/or chemical solvents to extract the oil. This process removes impurities but also strips away some of the oil’s flavor and nutrients. Regular olive oil typically has a milder taste and lower nutritional value compared to extra virgin olive oil.

How Should You Store Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

To maintain the quality and freshness of extra virgin olive oil, proper storage is a must. We recommend that you store your oil in a cool, dark place away from direct light and heat sources, such as sunlight, stovetops, or ovens, which can cause oxidation and deterioration of the oil’s flavor and nutritional content. Choose opaque or dark glass bottles to shield the oil from light exposure, as clear containers can accelerate spoilage. Additionally, tightly seal the bottle after each use to minimize air exposure and oxidation. Once opened, be sure to use up your oil in a timely manner to avoid the chance it goes rancid. If it’s been awhile since your last usage, be sure to taste your oil before using it to ensure it’s still fresh.

How Can I Use Olive Oil?

The beauty of olive oil is that it is extremely versatile and can be used in a number of ways and dishes to enhance the overall flavor profile. Use olive oil as a dressing or drizzle over salads, vegetables, or cooked dishes for a burst of richness. It serves as an excellent base for marinades, infusing meats, poultry, or seafood with flavor before grilling, roasting, or sautéing.

Olive oil can also be used as a healthier alternative to butter or margarine in baking recipes, adding moisture and richness to cakes, cookies, and bread. When cooking, use olive oil to sauté or stir-fry vegetables, meats, or grains, adding depth and complexity to your dishes.

Additionally, olive oil can be used for frying at moderate temperatures due to its high smoke point. Whether used as a finishing touch or a cooking staple, olive oil elevates the taste and nutritional value of a wide range of foods.

Annual Gift Giving Guide: 2023

It’s that time of year again, and as always, we’ve got a wonderful assortment of gift ideas for the foodie, chef, and baker in your life. Check out our list of must have items below and stop in to visit us at 10 E. Main Street for all your holiday needs.

1. The Goldie
Sour dough bread and sour dough recipes in general have taken the world by storm, and for good reason. Not only does the dough or item you create taste delicious, but it is also a great low-gluten option and some individuals with gluten sensitivities or intolerances can still eat sour dough.

Keep your sour dough starter at the perfect temperature with The Goldie by Sourhouse. According to their website, Goldie by Sourhouse™ provides just enough warmth to keep a sourdough starter consistently in the “Goldilocks Zone” of 75-82ºF (~24-28ºC) where it is the most active and healthy, so bakers can bake their best bread all year round without warming up their whole house.

2. Klean Kanteen

Take your adventures to a new level with this perfectly designed, vacuum insulated product. Drinks can stay cold up to 145 hours and hot for up to 47 hours. These are ideal for those who love to get outdoors, but can also make a great addition for someone who just wants to have their coffee stay hot all day long.

3. Le Creuset Bread Oven

The perfect complement to your purchase of The Goldie, is a Le Creuset bread oven. This item is sure to take your bread to the next level. Made from the same high-quality cast iron, this oven is designed to trap and circulate steam for a maximum rise and even browning of your bread. This should help ensure a perfect crust every time.

If you’re looking for a slightly more versatile option, then Le Creuset also has their entire line of dutch ovens which can also be used quite well to bake bread, cook your next family roast, or throw together a delicious soup or stew.

4. Gift Baskets

Not sure exactly what to get for your friends, family or coworker? Stop in and we’ll help you put together the perfect gift basket complete with items that are sure to elevate their next culinary adventure. Stop in and ask us about our options and you’ll leave the store with a complete gift ready to hand off to that special someone.

5. Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar Sample Packs

We know that choosing just one of our olive oils or balsamic vinegars is just about impossible. That’s why we offer our variety gift packs so you don’t have to limit yourself. Instead, choose from our preselected packs or customize your own. Each pack comes with six 60 ml bottles which will give newbies and olive oil experts both dozens of pairings to spice up their next dish.

6. Olive Oil Skin Care

This is the time of year when skin and hair can really begin to suffer from the wind and cold. We’ve got a great line of olive oil skin care products from Olive Oil Skincare Company of Australia. From shampoo to facial cleanser to hand lotion we’ve got you covered.

7. Salts and Spices

In addition to spicing up your friend’s kitchen cabinets with olive oil and balsamic vinegars, you should be sure to throw in a selection of our salts, spices, and sugars. From black truffle salt to our custom Italian dipping blend we’ve got the perfect items to expand your spice cabinet.

8. Cheeses

This is the time of year when charcuterie boards can really shine. We’ve got an outstanding selection of cheeses in our cases that will help make your board a standout. From WSU Creamery cheeses (yes, that means Cougar Gold) to a variety of options from Walla Walla Cheese Company, there’s something for everyone.

9. Champagne and Bubbles

It’s not the holiday season without adding some bubbles to your celebrations. Gift a bottle to your friend, or simply bring one or two to that next gathering. We have one of Walla Walla’s widest selections of champagnes from France, cavas from Spain, proseccos from Italy, and sparkling wines from the USA.

10. Wusthof Knives

No gifting guide would be complete without a mention of these top of the line German knives from Wusthof. If you have a chef or foodie in your life that doesn’t have a quality knife on hand, then this is a must get item. We carry a selection of their offerings ranging in category from chef knives to utility to Asian-style and paring.

Breaking Down Olive Oil : A Guide to Olive Oil Grades and Types

When it comes to olive oil, the choices can be overwhelming. Walk into a grocery store, and you’ll encounter a vast array of options, each claiming to be the best. To make an informed choice, it’s essential to understand the different grades and types of olive oil. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of olive oil grades and types, helping you understand labels and helping you choose the right one for your culinary adventures.

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: The Gold Standard

Extra-virgin olive oil is the highest grade and most sought-after type of olive oil. It is known for its exceptional quality and flavor. To be classified as extra-virgin, the oil must meet specific criteria:

Cold Pressed: Extra-virgin olive oil is extracted without the use of heat or chemicals, preserving its natural flavors and aromas.

Low Acidity: It must have an acidity level below 0.8%, indicating the oil is made from high-quality, fresh olives.

Flavorful: Extra-virgin olive oil should have a well-balanced flavor profile, with fruity, slightly peppery, and often grassy or nutty notes.

At D’Olivo we source all our oils from Veronica Foods, who requires their oils meet an even more strict standard (there are over 54 parameters), earning all of our oils the designation of Ultra Premium extra virgin olive oil.

Purchasing a high-quality extra virgin olive oil is essential to making sure you can use your oil in any culinary adventure you might embark upon. High quality extra virgin olive oil has an extremely high smoke point making it great for cooking dishes, frying dishes, but it is also perfect for marinades, drizzling over salads or roasted vegetables, dipping bread, baking and more.

In addition, extra virgin olive oils, because of the method of production used, maintain all of the health benefits of the olives themselves. Check out these amazing benefits here https://dolivotastingbar.com/5-proven-health-benefits-olive-oil/

Virgin Olive Oil

Virgin olive oil is similar to extra-virgin but with slightly higher acidity levels, up to 2%. While it does not meet all the strict criteria of extra-virgin, it can offer excellent quality and flavor, making it a suitable choice for those looking for a less expensive option or for cooks who aren’t interested in all of the health benefits provided by the extra virgin standard.

Olive Oil

Often labeled as “pure” or “light” olive oil, this grade is a blend of refined and virgin olive oils. It has a milder flavor and lighter color compared to extra-virgin and virgin olive oils. The refining process removes impurities and flavors, resulting in a more neutral taste.

Refined Olive Oil

Refined olive oil is obtained from low-quality olives or olives that have defects. It undergoes a refining process to remove impurities and undesirable flavors. While it lacks the distinctive taste of extra-virgin olive oil, refined olive oil is commonly used in the food industry and can also be found in some household kitchens. Its main role is to provide a neutral base for other culinary creations.

Flavored and Infused Olive Oils

Flavored and infused olive oils can add an extra dimension to your kitchen creations. These are olive oils fused or infused with various ingredients like herbs, spices, citrus, or even chili peppers. They are perfect for drizzling over salads, marinating meats, or adding a burst of flavor to your dishes. At D’Olivo all of our flavored olive oils begin with an ultra-premium extra virgin olive oil base and we’re proud to offer over 28 varieties! Experiment with different flavors to find the perfect fit for each new dish.

Regional Varieties: A World of Taste

The world of olive oil extends far beyond just grades and types. Olive oil enthusiasts often explore the different regional varieties. Olive oil’s flavor, aroma, and quality are significantly influenced by the specific region where the olives are grown and the unique environmental conditions present there. Regions like Tuscany in Italy, Andalusia in Spain, and Chile in South America are known for producing distinct and exceptional olive oils.

Conclusion: Choose Your Olive Oil Wisely

Understanding the grades and types of olive oil empowers you to select the right oil for your culinary needs and or your overall health. Whether you’re looking to create a delicate vinaigrette, sear a juicy steak, or add a burst of flavor to your dishes, there’s an olive oil for every occasion.

Our recommendation is always to select the highest quality, most pure form to ensure you’re getting all the wonderful health benefits as well as the delicious flavor of extra virgin olive oil.

The Art and Science of Extra Virgin Olive Oil Production

Olive oil, often referred to as “liquid gold,” has been a symbol of prosperity and health for centuries. Its rich history and versatile uses make it a beloved culinary treasure worldwide. But have you ever wondered how this precious oil is made? In this comprehensive guide, we will take you on a journey through the intricate process of olive oil production.

The Olive Orchard: A Prerequisite for Quality

The journey of each olive oil begins in the olive orchard, where the choice of olive variety, climate, soil, and farming practices play a pivotal role in determining the oil’s quality and flavor. Here are some key factors that contribute to an exceptional olive orchard:

Olive Varieties

There are hundreds of olive varieties worldwide, each with its unique flavor profile and characteristics. Common varieties include Arbequina, Picual, Koroneiki, and Frantoio. The choice of olive variety often depends on the region’s climate and the intended flavor of the oil.

Climate and Terroir

Olive trees thrive in regions with mild, Mediterranean climates characterized by warm, dry summers and mild winters. The concept of terroir, which includes factors like soil composition and microclimate, can significantly influence the flavor and aroma of the resulting olive oil.

Soil Quality

Olive trees require well-draining soil, preferably with a pH level between 5.5 and 7.5. The mineral content of the soil can affect the nutritional value and flavor of the olives.

Harvesting: Timing Is Everything

The next crucial step in olive oil production is the harvest, which requires precise timing to ensure the olives are at their peak flavor and nutritional content. Harvesting methods include hand-picking and mechanical shaking.

Hand-Picking

Hand-picking is the traditional and labor-intensive method. It’s often preferred for premium oils as it allows for selective harvesting of ripe olives, minimizing damage to the fruit.

Mechanical Shaking

Mechanical shakers are used to dislodge olives from the trees, and nets are placed beneath to collect the falling fruit. While this method is more efficient, it’s not as precise as hand-picking and can result in a mix of both ripe and unripe olives.

Harvest Timing

Timing is critical. Olives harvested too early may produce a bitter oil, while overripe olives can result in a rancid taste. Producers often monitor the olives’ color changes to determine the optimal harvest time.

Milling: The Art of Olive Oil Extraction

Once the olives are harvested, they are taken to the mill for oil extraction. The milling process involves several steps:

Cleaning

The olives are first cleaned to remove leaves, twigs, and dirt.

Crushing

The cleaned olives are then crushed into a paste (often called olive pomice), often using large stone or metal rollers. This process breaks down the cell walls and releases the oil. In order to be considered extra virgin olive oil, the crushing must be done without the use of heat or chemicals.

Malaxation

The olive paste is mixed in a malaxer, a machine that kneads the paste to encourage the oil droplets to merge and form larger ones. This process enhances oil extraction efficiency.

Pressing vs. Centrifugation

Traditionally, olives were pressed to extract oil. However, modern methods often use centrifugation, which separates the oil and water from the paste more efficiently. Centrifugation produces a cleaner, higher-quality oil.

Separating Oil from Water

After milling, the olive paste contains a mixture of oil, water, and solid residues. To obtain the pure olive oil, these components must be separated. This is typically done in a decanter centrifuge or a press.

Decanter Centrifuge

In a decanter centrifuge, the paste is spun at high speeds, separating the components based on their density. The oil, being the least dense, rises to the top, while the water and solids settle at the bottom.

Pressing

Pressing involves applying pressure to the paste, squeezing out the oil. This method is less efficient than centrifugation and is often reserved for traditional or small-scale production.

Clarification and Filtration

Even after separation, the olive oil may contain small water and solid particles. To ensure clarity and quality, the oil is often clarified and filtered through various methods, such as gravity settling, sedimentation tanks, or diatomaceous earth filters.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: The Gold Standard

Not all olive oils are created equal, and the term “extra virgin” signifies the highest quality. Extra virgin olive oil is obtained through cold pressing, which means no heat or chemicals are used in the extraction process. It also undergoes rigorous testing for acidity, flavor, and aroma.

At D’Olivo, we take the quality of our olive oils beyond even the standard extra virgin label. Our oils meet 33 quality parameters, and as a result earn the designation of Ultra Premium.

Acidity Level

To be classified as extra virgin, olive oil must have an acidity level of less than 0.8%. Lower acidity levels indicate a superior oil.

Flavor and Aroma

Extra virgin olive oil should have a balanced, fruity flavor with no defects. The aroma should be fresh and characteristic of the olive variety used. Often people describe the flavor and aroma as matching that of fresh cut grass.

Storing and Bottling

Olive oil is extremely sensitive to light, heat, and oxygen, which can cause it to deteriorate and lose its quality. To preserve its freshness, olive oil should be stored and bottled with care.

Storage Conditions

Store olive oil in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Containers should be airtight to prevent exposure to oxygen. Our oils are stored in stainless steel fusti before bottling.

Bottling

Olive oil is typically bottled in dark glass bottles or tins to shield it from light. Avoid clear or plastic containers that can lead to rapid degradation.

Conclusion

The journey of olive oil from orchard to bottle is truly a magnificent blend of tradition and technology. It begins with careful cultivation in well managed orchards, extends through the precise timing of harvest, and culminates in the delicate art of milling and extraction. The result is a healthy and flavorful oil that is ready to be featured in your culinary adventures.
Whether drizzled over a fresh salad, used in cooking, or savored on its own, olive oil stands as a testament to the skill, dedication, and passion of those who labor to bring it to our tables.

Shop our selection of olive oils herehttps://dolivotastingbar.com/product-category/dolivo-flavored-olive-oils/

Find recipes herehttps://dolivotastingbar.com/recipe/

Best Ways to Use Olive Oil

Cooking with olive oil has long been a popular trend, and for good reason. Olive oil, especially high-quality olive oil, offers a flavorful option for a variety of culinary dishes as well as a healthier alternative to many of the other cooking fats available today.

Mastering the art of using olive oil can elevate your cooking to new heights, both in terms of taste and health benefits. Let’s explore the best ways to utilize this precious oil in your culinary creations.

Selecting the Right Olive Oil

The first, and perhaps most important step in this process is to choose the right variety of olive oil. We suggest diving right into extra virgin olive oils as they are the highest quality and also offer the most flavorful option. Obtained from the first cold pressing of ripe olives, without the use of heat or chemicals preserves the taste of the olive fruit while also maintaining all of the amazing health benefits. This oil comes in a variety of options from medium to robust. Extra virgin olive oil also comes from a variety of regions around the world which only serves to enhance the individual flavors of the oils themselves.

As a note, we recommend purchasing from a reputable vendor, like the ultra-premium oils that we source from Veronica Foods. Specialty retailers and reputable vendors have a deeper knowledge of extra virgin olive oils and purchasing from them will ensure you’re getting the highest quality oil on the market.

Dressings and Vinaigrettes

Olive oil forms the foundation of some of the best dressings and vinaigrettes. It’s smooth, fruity undertones complement a variety of ingredients. For a classic vinaigrette, mix extra virgin olive oil with balsamic or red wine vinegar, a touch of Dijon mustard, minced garlic, honey, and salt. Experiment by adding in fresh herbs like basil, oregano, and thyme to create unique flavor profiles.

Enhance the Flavors in Your Cooking

Extra virgin olive oil can work true culinary magic by transforming the most simple ingredients into extraordinary dishes. Use extra virgin olive oil to sauté vegetables, garlic, and onions to form a flavorful base for your next soup, stew, or sauce. The high smoke point of high-quality extra virgin olive oil makes it a great option for a variety of cooking methods from frying to baking.

Baking and Desserts

Olive oil’s subtle fruitiness can enhance baked goods and desserts. Substituting it for butter or other fats in recipes lends a unique dimension to your treats. You can also drizzle a touch of extra virgin olive oil over gelato, ice cream, or even fresh berries for an truly delightful dessert. Try one of our fused or infused olive oils for this.

Dipping and Spreads

Elevate your appetizer game with a simple yet impressive olive oil dip. Mix extra virgin olive oil with a pinch of sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Serve it with crusty bread for a sophisticated starter. Alternatively, blend olive oil with roasted red peppers, garlic, and chickpeas to create a velvety and healthy spread reminiscent of hummus.

Grilling and Marinades

Olive oil’s robust flavor makes it an excellent companion for grilling. Create tasty marinades by combining extra virgin olive oil with herbs, spices, and acidic elements like lemon juice. Or pair one of our ultra-premium olive oils with one of delicious balsamic vinegars for an extra flavor punch. Marinate meats or vegetables before grilling to impart both flavor and tenderness. The oil’s natural fats also prevent sticking and create attractive grill marks.

You can also top the meat and vegetables with oil and vinegar after cooking to get additional flavor into your dishes.

Preserving and Pickling

Incorporate olive oil into your preservation endeavors. Marinate olives, cheese, or even garlic cloves in a mixture of olive oil and herbs. These make for delectable antipasti or additions to charcuterie boards. The oil acts as a preservative while enhancing the flavors of the preserved ingredients.

Storing Olive Oil

Proper storage ensures that your olive oil retains its freshness and flavor. Keep it away from heat, light, and air, which can lead to oxidation and degradation. Store olive oil in a cool, dark place and tightly seal the container after each use. Olive oil needs to be used within 14 months of the crush date unless it is a free style, then it can be up to 24 months. Extra virgin olive oil is a fruit juice and needs to be treated as such.

Conclusion

Olive oil’s allure lies in its ability to enhance dishes and contribute to a healthy lifestyle. From drizzling over salads to infusing with flavors and even enriching desserts, its culinary potential is truly endless.

A Deep Dive into Extra Virgin Olive Oil

What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil, or EVOO as it’s commonly known, is a culinary treasure that has long been revered in the industry for both its exceptional flavor and health benefits. Originating from the Mediterranean region, extra virgin olive oil is derived from the pressing of green olives. Depending on where the olives are grown and the oil is pressed, the olive oil will develop a distinct taste, aroma, and nutritional profile. In this article, we take a deep dive into the unique properties of this tasty oil.

Production of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

One of the things that makes extra virgin olive oil so unique is the meticulous production process which focuses on the preservation of all the natural goodness of the olive. The first step in the process is the harvesting of the olives, typically done by hand or through mechanical means. Special care is given to collecting the fruit at exactly the right stage of ripeness to ensure both quality and flavor. The olives are then washed to remove any impurities, and the pits are removed. After pits are removed, the olives are then crushed or ground into a paste. This paste is then cold-pressed to remove the oil from the solid parts of the olive.

In order to be classified as extra virgin, the olive oil must come from the first cold-pressing of the fruit. Avoiding the use of heat or chemicals to extract the oil is what maintains the purity of the oil and ensures that the health benefits remain.

Once the oil is extracted, the oil is then stored in stainless steel containers (fusti), protecting the oil from exposure to light, heat, and air – all of which can degrade the quality of the oil. The entire process from fruit to oil is typically carried out within a few hours of harvesting to preserve the freshness and nutritional value of the oil.

Chemical Composition

One of the things that sets extra virgin olive oil apart from other oils and fats are the distinctive characteristics and health benefits. Predominantly composed on monounsaturated fats, about 70-80% of olive oils total fat content comes from oleic acid. Monounsaturated fats are considered heart-healthy fats that can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Additionally, extra virgin olive oil, contains antioxidants such as polyphenols and vitamin E, which play an important role in protecting the body from inflammation and oxidative stress.

Health Benefits of Olive Oil

As we’ve mentioned, one of the causes for the rise in popularity for extra virgin olive oil is tied to its overall health benefits. Some of which we discuss below.

1.Cardiovascular Health – there have been several studies that demonstrated the positive impact of extra virgin olive oil on heart health. It’s high content of oleic acid helps maintain good cholesterol levels by reducing LDL and increasing HDL. In addition, the polyphenols contribute to its cardiovascular benefits by preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.

2. Anti-inflammatory Properties – chronic inflammation is linked to various health conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers. The polyphenols present in extra virgin olive oil have potent anti-inflammatory effects helping reduce inflammation in the body.

3.Weight Management – while common thought has it that all fats contribute to weight gain, the monounsaturated fats in extra virgin olive oil actually aid in weight management. Consuming this type of oil has been associated with increased feelings of satiety, which leads to a reduction in overall calorie intake.

4.Antioxidant Effects – extra virgin olive oil is a rich source of powerful antioxidants, which can protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that come about during normal cell metabolism. Polyphenols and vitamin E which are present in extra virgin olive oils help neutralize oxidative stress, which can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases and support overall health.

Conclusion

Extra virgin olive oil is more than just a delicious oil for adding into your cooking repertoire. It’s a true embodiment of the phrase that food is medicine. It’s unique chemical composition, rich in monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds, makes it a culinary treasure that’s packed with health benefits. Adding this oil into your diet should be a no brainer – especially with so many tasty options available.

If you’re looking for the perfect way to dive into the world of extra virgin olive oil, we encourage you to check out our ultra-premium offerings. Shop online or visit us in store and we’ll take you through a true olive oil tasting experience.

Need recipe ideas for your favorite oil, we’ve got you covered too. Visit the recipe section of our website here – https://dolivotastingbar.com/recipe/

How to Tell If Your Olive Oil Has Gone Bad

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been digging through your cupboard and stumbled upon an item or two with a questionable expiration date. We’ve been there a time or two, and while it might be safe to use those products in whatever you’re cooking (I mean does garlic powder really expire), using certain expired items could truly ruin an otherwise delicious meal.

Extra virgin olive oil, especially high-quality oils like our ultra-premium varieties can bring an extra boost of flavor to any dish, but not if they’ve expired. In today’s blog we’re walking you through the steps of identifying an olive oil that’s gone bad, and exploring ways to prevent that from happening.

How to Tell If Olive Oil Is Expired

There are truly two ways to tell if your olive oil has expired and both work on their own, but using the two in combination is probably the most effective way to know if the oil is in fact bad.

First, smell the oil. Open the bottle, pour some out and smell the oil. A good olive oil should smell fresh and green like ripe olives. Rancid oil will smell a bit waxy like crayons or putty. Second, taste the oil. A good oil will taste “green” like fresh grass or ripe green olives. If it is at all greasy or tastes like nuts that have gone bad get rid of it.

Cooking with or eating rancid oil won’t make you sick, however, the off flavor you’ll get is likely to ruin a recipe. If you find that your oil has gone bad we suggest tossing it out and making a trip to the store.

How to Help Prevent Olive Oil from Going Bad

While olive oil can go bad unexpectedly, there are a few things that are known to cause it to become rancid sooner than the expiration date. Check out our tips below for protecting your oil

1. Store it in a dark bottle – exposure to light can cause your olive oil to go bad more quickly than normal so you should store your oil in a dark bottle and in a cabinet away from light.

Preventing exposure to light is why our oils and balsamic vinegars are stored in stainless steel containers (fustis) and then transferred to dark bottles and sealed right in store. This ensures a fresh bottling and helps prevent exposure to light.

2. Don’t Expose it To Air – exposure to the air can also impact the oil and cause it to go rancid before the expiration date. When you use your oil be sure that you get a good seal on it after use. You’ll also want to ensure that you use it up within a few months after you’ve opened it.

3. Exposure to Heat – While your oil is good at room temperature you’ll want to be sure that you don’t over-expose it to additional heat. Make sure you don’t leave it out on the counter where it sits in the sunlight for a majority of the day or it may alter the olive oil shelf life.

Best Recipes for Green Olives

Here at D’Olivo we love olives. From the beautiful, delicious, and high-quality extra virgin olive oils they produce to the tasty recipes you can make with both the olives and the olive oils there’s so much to explore. Check out some of our favorite recipes for green olives below!

Pizza with Green Olives

Everyone loves a good pizza, and no matter what your favorite go-to toppings are, green olives, and the flavor profile they can offer, make an excellent addition. Get adventurous and take a break from ordering pizza from your favorite place and instead try making it a family affair by making your own. We’ve got a great pizza recipe for you to check out.

https://dolivotastingbar.com/recipes/green-olive-pizza/

Greek Salad

Greek salads are a favorite for us, especially during the warm summer months when it’s nice to have lots of healthy, flavorful, and refreshing recipes on hand. For those days when you need a quick snack or just don’t want to fire up the stove or grill, consider throwing one of these together. It also makes a great potluck dish – quick and easy – so keep this one on hand for any occasion.

https://dolivotastingbar.com/recipes/green-olive-greek-salad/

Greek Chicken Pita

We’re staying with the Greek theme on this next suggestion too. What can we say, they know how to cook with olives! A Greek gyro is one of the tastiest dishes you can find, and this recipe puts a fun spin on that traditional dish. While it calls for chicken you could definitely substitute in another meat of your choosing or make it all-veggies. Give it a try.

https://dolivotastingbar.com/recipes/greek-chicken-pita-bowls/

Marinated Olives

Green olives, or olives of any kind really, can be delicious on their own. You can purchase some amazing stuffed olives (at D’Olivo we offer a great selection of Delizia stuffed olives) or purchase pitted green olives and marinate your own. If you’re the kind who likes to tinker with homemade goods, give these a try.

https://dolivotastingbar.com/recipes/marinated-olives/

Pasta Salad

Another easy, quick side-dish for the warm summer months is pasta salad. Kick yours up a notch or two by adding in green olives. If you’re feeling extra adventurous try your favorite stuffed Delizia olive and substitute it for plain, pitted green olives. Trust us that this one is going to be a crowd pleaser.

https://dolivotastingbar.com/recipes/green-olive-pasta-salad/

Shrimp Orzo Salad

Shrimp, or any fish, can make a great meal and this orzo pasta dish is no exception. We love things that are quick to make and throw together since we know how great it is to have easy meals on hand for extra busy weeknights or for days that you just don’t want to spend too much time cooking.

https://dolivotastingbar.com/recipes/shrimp-orzo-salad/

Sheet Pan Chicken

Another easy to make meal is sheet pan chicken. Simply throw together your sauce, marinate it in the dressing of your choice and place everything onto a pan and bake it in the oven. It comes out with everything ready to go. You can choose to add some additional sides or just eat it as is. If you’re looking for a great sheet pan recipe to try, we’ve got a great one.

https://dolivotastingbar.com/recipes/sheet-pan-chicken/

Why Does the Smoke Point of Olive Oil Matter?

There is a lot of confusion around smoke points and its impact on the health benefits of olive oil. To understand and sort through the questions, it’s first important to know what smoke point actually is and isn’t.

For some, smoke point is measured by how long it takes for the smoke detector to sound! Before we make that a step in our recipes, let’s explore the components of smoke point and its connection to olive oil.

What is Smoke Point?

Let’s start with clarifying some terms that are frequently used to describe and explain oils and cooking.

Smoke points are usually a range of temperatures. When oils reach the temperatures within this heat scale, they begin to burn. Burning causes the components of the oil to begin breaking apart causing fats in the oil start to smoke. When this occurs, oils begin to lose some of their health benefits.

Additionally, harmful fumes can be emitted when oils burn past their smoke point. Plus, if we’re being honest, food just doesn’t always taste great if it has been cooked in oil that reaches its smoke point.

How Does an Oil ‘Get’ a Smoke Point?

Now, you may be wondering how you can control an oil’s smoke point. We as consumers can control how we store and use our oils. But, the oils we purchase will already have a smoke point. And, yes, all oils have a smoke point.

One factor that impacts an oil’s smoke point is their processing. Vegetable and corn oils are typically classified as refined oils. This grouping of cooking oils has been manufactured in processes that are heavily reliant on chemicals. Usually, refined oils are clear in appearance and neutral in taste. As part of their processing, refined oils are formulated to cook at higher temperatures, so these oils have a higher smoke point.

You may be thinking, that’s great. I’ll cook with refined oils and eliminate concerns about smoke points. However, because of the purification or refining process, these oils create health concerns. Their natural goodness of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants have been manufactured out of them.

Let’s look at unrefined oils and their smoke points. Unrefined or virgin oils have not been processed using heat or chemicals. Without the application of heat during the manufacturing, unrefined oils are more delicate; therefore, they have lower smoking points. But virgin and unrefined oils retain their health benefits due to how they are made.

Can You Cook at High Heat with Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

The short answer is yes, you can use extra virgin olive oil in your cooking, including cooking at higher temperatures. Most quality bottles of Extra Virgin Olive Oil can be heated to just over 400 degrees. Most recipes that are created in home kitchens will not require you to heat your oil to that temperature and certainly not any hotter. So, this means that you can safely sauté and fry your delectable recipes using your quality EVOO.

Making the news even better, when you reach higher temperatures with your EVOO, the oil is not breaking apart and releasing toxins. You can cook your favorite foods with healthy EVOO and not worry; you can actually begin to add more flavor to your food. EVOO remains very stable at high temperatures.

You might wonder why there has been so much confusion about extra virgin olive oil and strong suggestions that it should not be used for frying or sautéing. Many in the food world believe that earlier tests were not always conducted with high quality EVOO. The widespread use of all ranges of olive oil in the United States is a fairly recent trend. Therefore, it is also a relatively new phenomenon to be able to purchase high quality oils.

There are better indicators of an oil’s ability to withstand high temperatures than its smoke point. One measurement of an oil’s stability when heated is how much it has been refined in its manufacturing process. EVOO does not go through a refining process, which is another reason that it performs so well at high heat levels.

Additionally, the composition of an oil is another measurement of its performance. Oils with lower levels of polyunsaturated fats are more stable at high temperatures. Again, EVOO is a great choice because it has a low percentage of polyunsaturated fats.

Does an Oil’s Smoke Point Matter?

This has another straightforward answer, yes, an oil’s smoke point does matter. Most oils will provide a wide enough range of temperatures to cook most foods. However, if you do reach or exceed the smoke point of your oil, you do want to remove your pan from the heat. You definitely want to avoid causing the temperature of the oil to escalate to its flash point.

Acrolein is released when oils begin to smoke. This acid is what causes the burnt scent that you might be smelling. Once the oil has cooled off, do a taste test. You want to make sure that it doesn’t have a bitter flavor. If the oil does have that acrid smell and flavor, you should safely discard it, and start your meal prep again.

What Are the Temperature Ranges for Olive Oil?

The range of temperatures that olive oils can be used to cook with vary greatly. Extra light olive oil has a much higher smoke point than extra virgin oil olive. Since extra light olive oil has been formulated using a different process, it can withstand temperatures of more than 480 degrees. The smoke point for virgin olive oil falls between extra light and extra virgin at around 430 degrees.

While different types of olive oil provide great versatility in how you can use them because of their high smoke points, the healthiest option is extra virgin olive oil which is processed in a way that allows it to retain all of the health benefits.

There are so many great options available for extra virgin olive oil, including both fused and infused flavored options. That means one of your biggest decisions, and the most fun, is choosing the oil that tastes best in whatever dish you’re preparing.

Stop in to your local specialty shop to select ones that will complement the type of cooking that you do. Shops that sell quality olive oils will offer tastings that will help you in your selection process. If you’re still not certain which olive oil to buy, try a variety pack.

Next time you’re cooking, grab a couple of bottles to try. Sounds like it’s time to invite friends over for a tasting party! Have fun!