Consumers are so used to the taste of rancid olive oil that they may not know what the real stuff should taste like. There is a range of flavors, from grassy to fruity, from mild to bold and even spicy, but generally, Cord advises that olive oil should taste green and have some pepperiness. That pepperiness signals the presence of healthful antioxidants. It doesn’t mean the olive oil should be green; color has nothing to do with it—the fresher the oil, the better.
People make the analogy between olive oil and coffee or chocolate, said Cord. These foods can range from mellow to bitter. “The difference with olive oil is that a lack of bitterness is actually unhealthy.”
Olives pulled off the tree are so bitter you can’t even eat them without treating them or soaking them in brine, he added.
When he teaches at a culinary school in Boston, he said he has students taste old, rancid oil as well as one that is bitter and peppery. Out of habit and familiarity, most tend to prefer the rancid oils, he said.
Consumers who prefer less peppery olive oils should consider the more mellow oils made from arbequina olives, for example.
Finally, for an oil to be certified as extra virgin does not mean it’s of high quality. It simply means it’s free of defects.
Olive oil is here to stay. As with so much else, becoming educated about olive oil is the best thing a consumer can do.
Tips for Buying and Storing Olive Oil
– Taste before you buy. Different olive oils have different flavor profiles, so find what you like. If you can get guidance in tasting, you’ll learn to tell if an olive oil has started to go rancid. Find a retailer who has done the research and cares about the provenance of the products. In New York City, try Fairway Market (tasting stations at various locations), Oliviers & Co. (various locations), Di Palo’s Fine Foods (200 Grand St., Little Italy), or O Live Brooklyn (60 Broadway, South Williamsburg).
– If you can’t taste an olive oil before you buy and find it rancid once at home, take it back to the store.
– Buy oil in dark glass bottles, which filter out the light.
– Look for a recent harvest date, ideally (olives are harvested once a year). If that’s not available, look for a bottling date. A good quality extra virgin olive oil that’s high in anti-oxidants will last longer than a poor quality oil, said Cord, possibly up to two years.
– For European olive oils, look for Protected Denomination of Origin or Protected Geographical Indication (IGP) seals.
– Look for quality seals, such as the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) seal.
– Look for winners of olive oil competitions.
– Store bottles away from light and heat, away from the stove, windowsill, or top of the refrigerator).
Source theepochtimesTrue Taste of Olive Oil and Tips for its Buying and Storing,