FAQs about olive oil

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What is the best olive oil?

98% of the world?s olive oil comes from the Mediterranean region, which has a history of olive tree cultivation that stretched back more than 6,000 years.

Most of the world's best and finest olive oils come from this area. To say which in particular is best is often a matter of taste, since, like fine wines, the flavors, colors and aromas of aromas of olive oils vary according to type olive grown, as well as climate and soil conditions, and so forth.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is highly regarded, as it offers the widest varieties of flavors and aromas, with a perfect fruity flavor. Since it is obtained exclusively by the pressing and centrifugation of crushed olives and is produced in limited quantities, Extra Virgin Olive Oil is less widely available than other grades of olive oil.

Do all olive oils taste the same?

Not at all. In fact, just like wine there is a wide variety of natural flavors in olive oil. That's what makes this oil so unique among all edible oils. There are many factors that contribute to the diversity of flavors, colors and aromas found in olive oil.

The experts who study olive oils or Connoisseurs generally categorize olive oil as mild (delicate, light or "buttery"); semi-fruity (stronger, with more taste of the olive); and fruity (oil with full-blown olive flavor).

The best way to become familiar with the wide range of olive oil flavors is to taste as many of them as possible. In order to try a wide variety of different olive oils as well as save money you can buy several different bottles and share with your families and friends.

Can you tell by its color what the taste of an olive oil will be?

Just like fine wine, the taste of olive oil depends so much on where they were grown, the season, the growing conditions, etc. They can greatly affect the color and flavor to varying degrees.

Of course, we can generalize it by saying that the darker the color, more intense, fruity and stronger the flavor will be. But that's not always reliable and true.

What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a Virgin Olive Oil of absolutely perfect flavor, color and aroma that has the least amount of acidity. This is because it has not been processed or have gone through any refining process. The oil is considered raw and therefore, has all the best nutrients still in tact.

It is the most expensive of all olive oils, because the best conditions for production, harvesting, processing and storage are not always present. Therefore the level of production of Extra Virgin Olive Oil is low.

What is Pure Olive Oil?

Pure Olive Oil was the designation given to what is now called "Olive Oil," which is defined as the blend of refined olive oil with Virgin Olive Oil.

When an olive oil goes through a refining process, the oil will have higher amount of acidity and will lose the basic elements that are naturally found in the olives.

Therefore, in order to restore a degree of the refined olive oil?s "fruitiness," color, aroma, and certain basic elements, especially alphatocopherol (vitamin E), it is blended with Virgin Olive Oil that is fit for consumption.

The proportion of Virgin Olive Oil in the blend varies from one producer to another and depending on the desired flavor the producer is trying to create.

How many calories does olive oil have? Does it have more calories than other cooking oils?

No. Olive oil has 120 calories per tablespoon (9 calories per gram of oil) but no more than any other common cooking or salad oil. But because it has much greater flavor and aroma than other cooking oils, you probably will use less olive oil in cooking than other vegetable oils.

Does olive oil contain cholesterol?

Thankfully, olive oil contains absolutely no cholesterol.

Does olive oil have healthful benefits other oils don't have?

Studies indicate that a Mediterranean diet low in saturated fats such as butter, lard, and other animal fats, but rich in monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, in addition to grains, fruits and vegetables, helps keep the artery-clogging LDL ("bad cholesterol") low while maintaining healthful levels of HDL ("good cholesterol").

The HDL has a preventative effect on cardiovascular illness because it may help to eliminate LDL from the blood by carrying it to the liver. In addition, many medical researchers and nutritionists agree that olive oil is a good source of vitamin E which may protect against cancer and heart disease.

If a recipe calls for "olive oil", how do I know which type to use?

For heavy duty, high heat cooking, it's probably best to use "Olive Oil" (or even "Olive Pomace Oil"), which is less rich in the volatile compounds that disappear with heat and my ?perfume? your kitchen. It has the same fatty acid content as Virgin Olive Oil and this is what gives it such a good resistance to high temperatures, and it is also less expensive than Virgin Olive Oils.

The most general rule of thumb to follow is that when you want to taste the full, delicate flavor of any olive oil, it's best added to cooked dishes in the final stage. But, you should let your own taste preferences be your guide ? tempered by what is desired in the end result.

For example, light and delicate dishes such as fish or soups may be better served by a milder, less fruity olive oil. Heartier, more robust dishes made with red meat and tomato-based sauces may be better with fruitier, more flavorful olive oil. In the final analysis, though, it?s all really up to what tastes best to you.

Can I fry with olive oil?

Not only can you fry, you can sauté, stir fry and even deep fry with olive oil. You can even filter olive oil and use it many times, since it?s very stable at high temperatures. However, bear in mind the answer above with regard to high-heat cooking and olive oil's flavor and aromas.

Does olive oil need to be refrigerated?

There's no need to refrigerate olive oil. They can just be stored in a cool, dark place away from sunlight and heat. Heat and light are the biggest contributing factors in the oil growing rancid most quickly.

If you do refrigerate any olive oil, it may become a bit thick and cloudy. If this is the case, just bring the oil to room temperature before using and it should be fine.

However, the flavored olive oils that are home-made will require refrigeration.

What is the best way to store olive oil?

If olive oil is properly stored it will keep longer than all other edible oils. Be sure to store it in an airtight container, away from light in a cool cupboard. You can expect to keep you olive oil fresh and safe this way for at least a year as long as it has not been opened. If they're open they can keep up to 6 months.

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