- Being in the business of importing traditional foods from Calabria I had many people approaching me asking how to identify a good olive oil? Either whilst in Italy or here in the UK. So in answer to all those questions I decided to write this article about how to identify and...
Being in the business of importing traditional foods from Calabria I had many people approaching me asking how to identify a good olive oil? Either whilst in Italy or here in the UK.
So in answer to all those questions I decided to write this article about how to identify and select a good olive oil for your table.
Sometimes when we are standing in front of the olive oil section in the supermarket with about 30 types of different oils we think, which one should I get? Is the famous brand better than supermarket brand? Or is the green one better than the brown one? Or is it the yellow one better? Or is the one with bits more flavoursome than the one without bits? WHAT SHOULD I DO??!! Help please!!! I just want an olive oil to add to my salad bowl…!!!
Well the answer is very simple and complicated at the same time. Olive oils are very difficult to assess once they are bottled. Usually the best way to know if the oil you want is good is by tasting it, of course when we are buying it in shop or in the supermarket we don’t have the leisure of asking Tesco’s manager to let us try the oil before buying it, so we need to guide ourselves by using the following recommendations:
1) In reality a good oil should not have a ‘best before date’ older than 18 months from the date bottled. This is because the oil has to be new never from a previous year.
One of oil’s worst enemies is light. Olives contain chlorophyll which is a great preservative and antioxidant but quite bad for the preservation and quality of the oil if exposed to light. In exposure chlorophyll will transform in antioxidant making the oil go from green to yellow very quickly. Some olive oil producers add synthetic chlorophyll to hide this effect. So, if you see a green olive oil in a shop think that it contains synthetic chlorophyll unless you know it comes from a local producer down the road and therefore the oil is new.
2) When choosing an oil place the bottle against a source of light for a few seconds. This will tell how clean or not the oil is and its real colour. Oils can be either filtered or not. Some oil producers prefer to leave the oil unfiltered as these ‘bits’ make the product more flavoursome and with a stronger olive taste, therefore, a better quality oil meaning a more expensive oil. However, this preference makes the ‘best before date’ even shorter. Be careful though as sometimes these unfiltered results are not purposely made by the producer but the result of a bad filtration process which leaves nasty flavours meaning a bad quality oil. It is also important that you don’t buy an extra-virgin olive oil yellow or brown as this indicates a badly preserved product.
How to know if your oil is good after purchasing?
Well, let’s think that you finally managed to decide which olive oil you are getting from the supermarket or shop. You got home and opened the bottle to taste that fantastic Mediterranean flavour you tried whilst on holiday, how do you know what you are getting is really a good oil or just a ‘mock’ of olive oil.
There many ways of testing this:
1) The acidity of the oil should not be more than 0.35%, however, by law producers in Italy are allowed to extend that percentage to up to 80%.
2) The polifenoli which are the bits that are good for the circulation system and in general for our bodies have to have the highest level possible. These ‘bits’ with time will decrease, that’s why oils should not be consumed after the 18 months threshold, the older the oil the less or non polifenoli will have, rending the oil without any goodness in it.
3) The oxygen quantity absorbed by the oil which comes from the initiation of its own oxidation activity that with the pass of time will bring nasty smells and flavours should not be less than 20.
So, after knowing all this information, have you asked yourself what we need to have to produce a good olive oil? Well here are some of the aspects producers need to have to be able to make a good olive oil.
1) The olives have to be collected in the right period when they start to change from green to brown.
2) A good olive oil will depend of course on the quality of the olive. Every olive has its own flavour. Climate, type of cultivation and place also play an important part on this. For example in the North of Italy a more light olive oil is produced, but in the South the production is more accentuated because the olives mature better helped by the warm climate and the quality of the soil. That’s why the best olive oil produced in Italy comes from Calabria and Puglia.
3) The olives have to be nice, healthy and without any insect marks or wholes.
4) They have to be collected in crates with opening so air can circulate and taken immediately to the frantoio to be process as soon as possible.
5) The ideal temperature for the process to be done in is between 25* to 30* for a period no more than 20 to 30 minutes.
6) Then the oil is left to decant for a few days. After is passed onto another container to separate the oil from the bottom and elevate residuals. After a few months of repeating the same procedure all residuals are eliminated.
7) At the end the oil is preserved in air tight containers at a temperature of no more than 20* and in a dry and dark place.
Have you ever asked yourself why we normally find extra virgin olive oil and not virgin olive oil?
Well the answer is very simple. The virgin olive oil is normally used to be mixed with the extra virgin olive oil. The extra virgin olive oil is added to a low quality oil as is the virgin olive oil until obtaining an oil with the right parameters, 0.8% acidity per 100gr. This means a cheaper way of producing a good oil without compromising completely in the quality, but, meaning we are not getting a 100% extra virgin olive oil.
Types of olive oil
– Extra virgin olive oil
– Virgin olive oil
– Olive oil
– Olio di sansa di olive
Well I hope you all enjoyed this long but very informative article about how to choose the right olive oil when you are at the supermarket or shop. Remember that the best place to buy your oil is at the producer; of course I bit difficult if you are in the UK!
Please feel free to leave a comment…
Article sources Jamie Oliver forum: Food, Wine and GardeningVN:F [1.9.22_1171]VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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- Olive Oil Cosmetics The recent years the olive oil is being used to cosmetic industry. The trend of finding physical and ecological products led to the establishment of new products for body care. Creams, shampoos and other products have gained a big share of the market. Those...
Olive Oil Cosmetics
The recent years the olive oil is being used to cosmetic industry. The trend of finding physical and ecological products led to the establishment of new products for body care. Creams, shampoos and other products have gained a big share of the market. Those cosmetics that are clinically tested and derive from olive oil are first quality products that do not provoke allergies.
Olive Oil Soap
The soap has the property when mixed with water to remove the dirt from clothes and body. The olive oil soap has either green or white color and is pure and friendly to the human skin and at the same time it gives hydration and physical protection to the skin.
It is not toxic and therefore the body care and the washing of clothes are definitely recommended. It is widely used because it is non-toxic, friendly to the environment and very effective.
Olive Oil & Gastrointestinal System
In this case the olive oil has protective action. Recent research proves that its consumption leads to the decrease of stomach cancer. In the enteron it increases the absorption of calcium and contributes in the protection of women against osteoporosis.
For the liver the olive oil consumption is also very important as it contributes in the normal function of hepatic cells, it diminishes the production of low density cholesterol (LDL) and at the same time it augments the production of high density cholesterol (HDL).
In cases of gastric ulcer olive oil is still very beneficial as it decreases the excretion of gastric acid.
Olive Oil & Urinary System
Among the cancers that are considered to have close connection with the nutrition the cancer of prostate is included. The consumption of saturated fat augments the metastatic phenomenon, i.e. the ability of cancer to make metastasis, while the consumption of olive oil leads to inhibition of the metastasis. Moreover the olive oil protects the kidneys from the toxic action of other fat or medicines and therefore diminishes the occasion of nephric deficiency.
Olive Oil & Diabetes
Great quantity of vegetables and generally the philosophy of Greek traditional nutrition are considered to be nowadays the ideal trophic model against diabetes. In cases of diabetes type II most dietitians consult to patients that they should cover 40-50% of the daily calories with complex carbohydrates, 10-20% with proteins and the remaining 30-40% with monounsaturated oils and specially olive oil.
Olive Oil & Cancer
It is widely believed that olive oil provides protection against cancer and especially for some particular types, such as the breast cancer. The decrease of the appearance of such cancer due to the consumption of olive oil varies from 30 to 50 per cent.
It is worth mentioning that in Greece in areas where people consume only olive oil, the cases of breast cancer represents the 1/3 of the cases of United States. According to recent research the olive oil protects against other types of cancer as well, namely endometrial, gonads, prostate, stomach and liver cancer. Another recent research showed that olive oil may contribute in cancer of pancreas.
Along with olive oil, the most effective nutrition against cancer would consist of small consumption of meat and daily consumption of herbs, vegetables, fruits and legumes.
The consumption of olive oil contributes in the decrease or elimination of the appearance coronary disease and other cardiovascular diseases. It has been proved that the appearance of such diseases is relevant to hyperlipidemia, high blood pressure and smoking. The increased cholesterol of blood plays important role to the appearance of coronary disease. Consequently, the nutrition is vital to the prevention of such diseases.
The nutrition of West and North Europeans consists mainly of saturated fat, which leads to increased levels of cholesterol of low density. On the other hand, those who follow the Mediterranean nutrition and thus they consume a great quantity of olive oil, their low density cholesterol is in lower levels, while the high density cholesterol (the good cholesterol) is higher.
Article source oliveoilmaniVN:F [1.9.22_1171]VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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- According to the tradition and the legends the olive tree has symbolic value. The most common and interesting legend derives from Greek mythology. It is said that Zeus, the father of all Gods, promised to gift peninsula of Attica to the goddess that would bring to him the most...
According to the tradition and the legends the olive tree has symbolic value. The most common and interesting legend derives from Greek mythology.
It is said that Zeus, the father of all Gods, promised to gift peninsula of Attica to the goddess that would bring to him the most valuable and useful present. Competitors to this challenge were Poseidon, the god of sea and Athena, the god of wisdom. Poseidon captured with his trident the sacred rock of Acropolis and sea water sprang from the rock. From the other hand, Athena planted an olive tree. Those days people were unaware not only of the cooking with olive oil but of the use of oil for lighting as well. With this gift Athena beat Poseidon to this challenge and from that moment and then the olive tree is considered to be sanctuary.
Nevertheless, the challenge did not end as Poseidon got frustrated. For this reason he decided to leave peninsula of Attica without water. People were angry against Poseidon and moreover the son of Poseidon was also angry that his father lost the power of Athens. Thus he climbed to Acropolis carrying along an axe with the intention to cut the olive tree that Athena had planted. The moment that he raised his axe to cut the tree, just as a miracle the axe turned against him and it killed him.
The symbolic power of Olive tree
Even today the olive tree has retained its symbolic power amongst the different cultures and nations.
The tree of wisdom: In several cultures the tradition says that the olive tree was gifted to from gods to people. Thus, the symbol of goddess Athena beside the owl symbolized an olive branch.
The tree of peace: Irena, the god of peace, daughter of Zeus and Themed, was always depicted with an olive branch in her hand. Later, in periods of war, the couriers of peace were sent holding a symbolic olive branch in their hand.
The tree of hope: In the Old Testament a dove returns with an olive branch in the ark, in order to announce the end of flood and bring hope to people.
The tree of light: The olive oil was used as lighting oil and thus it was considered to be source of light.
The tree of fertility: In folk tradition of Greek medicine the olive oil is considered to be aphrodisiac. People offered to new couples bread in oval shape were they previously purred the first oil of the year, as an antidote to sterility.
The tree of health: The value of olive oil to the health is widely known for centuries. Thus, the olive tree symbolizes power and health. Moreover, this symbolism is totally accurate due to the fact that olive trees are long-lived, simple and resistant.
The tree of wealth: For many families the olive trees and their products represent the main source of income.
The tree of balance: The olive tree was considered to be the tree of balance by the Celts. For this reason they devoted the day of 23rd of September to it as that particular date the day has the same duration as the night.
The latin word for olive, oleum, consists of two notions: the Cretan word “elaeva” which means olive and the semitic “ulu”.
In spanish language the term “aceite” derives from the arab word for olive, al zaytun. “Oliva” in spanish language means only the olive tree, not the olive itself.
Tea from Olive Leaves
The leaves from olive trees can be useful in tea production. You may use either leaves directly collected from the tree or buy from the market.
Recipe: Pestle the leaves and pure 1 or 2 spoons in boiling water. Five or ten minutes later leech and add some sugar or honey. The tea from olive trees can become very bitter if you boil it much time.
This tea gives you much energy and it is recommended for adults to drink one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one at night, for young children one cup of tea per day and for school students one cup in the morning and one in the evening.
The most important ingredient of olive leaves is Oleuropein, which belongs in the team of the secondary herbal components. The olive tree produces this substance to protect itself from the invasion of microorganisms and insects. Oleuropein is a very effective antioxidant and it has anti-inflammatory qualities.
The great quantity of chlorophyll protects people from arteriosclerosis. Moreover, it has been proved that it has ephidrotical action.
Olive leaves provide with energy and fend for a general amendment of the health. More precisely they increase the resistance of the organization and they soften chronic annoyances such as aches in the articulations.
Tips for storage
Nowadays the olive oil is disposed in plastic or glassy bottles or in metal tins for larger quantities. In the house it is recommended to be stored in a cool, dry and dark place, such as a cellar or a storehouse. If such a place does not exist, you can store the olive oil into the fridge. Nevertheless, with frigidity the oil blurs, jells and small white spots are shaped. This doesn’t mean that the oil lost its quality. After a few hours in room temperature its color will recur and the oil will become once again clear.
Article source oliveoilmaniVN:F [1.9.22_1171]VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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- Spanish researchers evaluated the effect of adding olive oil to the diets of healthy elderly. The results showed that extra virgin olive oil reduced total cholesterol, but also increased HDL levels also known as the good cholesterol. The study, published in the Archives of Gerontology...
Spanish researchers evaluated the effect of adding olive oil to the diets of healthy elderly. The results showed that extra virgin olive oil reduced total cholesterol, but also increased HDL levels also known as the good cholesterol.
The study, published in the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics included 62 participants aged 65-96 years. They were divided into two groups; the control group maintained their current diet, while the olive group consumed EVOO as the only added fat and a daily dose of 50 ml, which corresponds to about three tablespoons.
After six weeks the researchers found a significant reduction of total cholesterol, but also an increase in the HDL (the “good” cholesterol). In addition, the olive group had a higher plasma Total Antioxidant Capacity compared to the control group. The researchers concluded that nutritional intervention with EVOO improves the antioxidant status in healthy elderly people.
These findings that olive oil can improve antioxidant status as well as lipid profile in the elderly adds to recent research that is pointing to the Mediterranean diet as the ideal diet for the elderly. Three new studies have shown that a Mediterranean style diet can positively affect several side effects of aging.
Researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago concluded after following over 3,500 men for 7 years, that the annual rate of developing depressive symptoms was 98.6 percent lower among persons in the highest tertile of a Mediterranean-based dietary pattern compared with persons in the lowest tertile group.
Another new study published in Neurology which used information from over 17,000 individuals over the age of 45, concluded that closer adherence to a Mediterranean style diet resulted in a lower risk of memory loss, while a third study by Spanish researchers showed it improves vascular dysfunction and can play a role in the protection against the chronic diseases related to aging.
– Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) consumption and antioxidant status in healthy institutionalized elderly humans
– Endothelial Aging Associated with Oxidative Stress Can Be Modulated by a Healthy Mediterranean Diet
– Mediterranean diet and depressive symptoms among older adults over time
– Adherence to a Mediterranean diet and risk of incident cognitive impairment
By Elena Paravantes
Olive Oil Times Health Editor | Reporting from AthensVN:F [1.9.22_1171]VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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- Olive oil is revered the world over for its delightful taste and its beneficial health qualities, such as protecting us from heart disease. There are many olive oils on the market, so how do you go about selecting one suitable for your needs? Look for geographic identification....
Olive oil is revered the world over for its delightful taste and its beneficial health qualities, such as protecting us from heart disease. There are many olive oils on the market, so how do you go about selecting one suitable for your needs?
Look for geographic identification. Only oils with a precise origin can claim to be beneficial to health and carry their full flavor. European oils have established a DOP system (Protected Denomination of Origin) that guarantees where olives are grown, controls the actual farming, milling and bottling process.
A top olive oil shall carry the NAME and ADRESS of the producer, as well as the statement that it is PRODUCED AND BOTTLED or ESTATE BOTTLED. Everything else is blended oil without a clear origin.
Also look at the price, don’t buy it if the price is low and seems too good to be true.
Remember: NO, Extra Virgin means hardly anything, it just refers to the oil passing a lab test with a certificate of less than 0.8% oleic acidity. Good oils have 0.4% maximum acidity.
Buy good Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Lantzanakis EstateVN:F [1.9.22_1171]VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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