11 Things We Think You Should Know About Olive Oil

11 Things We Think You Should Know About Olive Oil

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Photo Credit: Guida Garrubba

  1. Are you overwhelmed by the abundance of olive oil choices in the supermarket? Olive oil grades correlate to the degree of acidity, with extra virgin having the least. Use pure olive oil for frying, extra-virgin for salad dressings, marinades, and dips!
  2. Do you buy “Light” olive oil, hoping it might be low-fat? This type of oil has less fragrance and color (great for baking!), but it still has all the fat and calories of regular olive oil. “Light olive oil” is more of an American marketing term, rather than an international standard, according to The Food Lover’s Companion (Herbst & Herbst).
  3. Are you leaving that industrial sized bottle in the pantry for more than a year? Olive oil is highly perishable and begins to break down as soon as it’s opened- it should only be used for six months, up to a year.
  4. Want to be sure that your olive oil is fresh? Be on the lookout for a Press Date, Harvest Date, or Best By/Before date to ensure quality. Steer clear of olive oil found at your local discount stores like Ross and Marshalls, unless is has a clear expiration or press date.
  5. Is it important to you that chemicals should stay out of the olive oil production process? The best extra virgin olive oils are cold-pressed, producing the lowest acidity. Using only pressure to extract the oil, producers leave the process to nature.
  6. Wondering where your olive oil is from? Most domestic olive oil comes from CA, while most exports are from Spain and Italy, with Spain producing twice as much olive oil for worldwide consumption. A recent expose by reporter Tom Mueller brought the lack of transparency in the domestic olive oil conglomerate to light. In the 3 years since the book, Extra-Virginity: The Sublime & Scandalous World of Olive Oil, the industry has been trying to self-regulate. Unfortunately, the effort has become a resounding failure.
  7. Would you prefer a natural alternative to your normal beauty routine? Olive oil beauty products are now a multi-billion dollar industry. According to Good Housekeeping, olive oil can even remove paint from your hair- thanks Heloise!
  8. How about some EVOO!? Rachael Ray’s famous catchphrase for extra-virgin olive oil was so well-known it was added to the dictionary in 2006. As RR drizzled on the EVOO, the crowd in the studio went wild!
  9. Love the fresh fruitiness of extra-virgin olive oil? Skip the grocery store aisle, but in a pinch search high and low for cold-pressed! There are no strict regulations in the US regarding the labeling of olive oil (see above), but finding locally pressed olive oil is less of a challenge for those of us in CA.
  10. Ready to try something new in CA Wine Country? Olive oil tasting is becoming a new trend throughout Sonoma and Napa Counties. With local growers and producers offering handcrafted olive oil, there is much more to savor on your next trip to Wine Country! Our favorites are the Olive Press in Sonoma, located in the beautiful Jacuzzi Family Winery, and Figone’s California Olive Oil Co. in Kenwood!
  11. Did you hear that the greener the olive oil, the fresher it is? While this is true to some extent, the color of the olive oil can vary from region to region. Some of the freshest olive oils can be soft champagne color on one end of the spectrum, to bright green on the other.