Every time when I am thinking about a new bottle of olive oil, I have a big headache.
In a minute I have millions of questions in my head.
What and how to choose? Which one is fake, which one is not…What is commercial catch or there is not …How can I avoid poisoning by poor quality bottled contents while living in the delusion that I eat healthily?
And so one from year to year “how to choose good olive oil” until finally, I found “my source” of good olive oil.
Olives are really a gift of God. Ancient plants which have existed for thousands of years in spite of climate and civilization changes. Symbol of peace and prosperity as a winner (Olimpic games winner get olive branch wreath).
According to the present knowledge, the oldest olive tree which still produces olives is the olive tree from Crete, Vouves.
How it makes olive oil?
After about fifteen years old we can say that olive trees are mature. Olives need lots from Sun and little from the soil, and that is the reason why we can find olive trees in very rocky areas. Depending on the sun amount and soil itself, the taste and smell of olive oil is different.
Harvest begins in September and October and continuing till February (different type of ripes).
The process goes like this ⇒ washing olives ⇒pressing (<27 degrees Celsius) ⇒decanting (water, pulp, and oil) → olive oil
The very important question is how to storage olive oil. The recommendation is 14-17 degrees Celsius in a dark glass bottle or inox container.
Also, don’t forget that during the time on the bottom of your olive oil bottle will form a deposit, which affects initial quality. It is important to regularly transfer and use the oil to avoid making a deposit.
Making good olive oil is the same as making good wine. Art.
Extra virgin olive oil VS virgin olive oil
These are two of the most important categories and has to be written on the package. Extra virgin olive oil is the best quality of olive oil. Acidity is less than 0,8%, but for virgin olive, oil acidity goes till 2%. Less % better olive oil.
The exact acidity is measured in a laboratory, we cant determinate it by taste or smell.
What is virgin in olive oil?
When it is said that is extra virgin or virgin olive oil, this essentially means that olive oil is obtained by the process of pressing without chemical additives and increased working temperature of pressing. Such olive oil is clean and unrefined.
How to choose good olive oil?
And smell and taste
The most important is let’s overthrow a myth: Your eyes will tell you nothing. That means that the color of olive oil doesn’t show anything.
The first important thing is the smell. Good olive oil smells fruity and could recognize the aroma of tomato, almond, herbs even bananas.
The second and third are bitterness and pungency.
Good balanced olive oil is oil when all 3 characteristics don’t differ by more than two points at the scale from 1-10.
The good news is that you can form your scale according to your taste.
Therefore, if you have decided to use a new brand of olive oil that you have not tried yet, it’s time to play with your sensors for taste and smell …
If we want mild olive oil we chose the one from Greece and north of Spain. But if we like more peppery we will choose from the south of Italy and Spain as well.
And then notice if the olive oil is organic or not. One point more for an organic one.
Designation of Origin
For extra virgin and virgin olive oil has to be marked at the label. Also if the oil comes from one country that country must be named, If it blended also.
Protected designation of origin guarantees that the olive oil originates from designed and legally established region.
In Italy, Portugal and Spain that is DOP, in France is AOP, Greece POP – PGE .
Cold press vs first press
Are only marketing terms, In the past, pressed-out mash machine was heated more than once to extract the remaining oil from residues (olives) but the modern technology can do it in once (one go).
Cold press (cold water) means that the working temperature of pressing did not exceed 27 degrees Celsius. What can make our conclusion that extra virgin olive oil is always a “cold press”.
How to taste olive oil?
Same as wine.
Your nose comes first.
In a small glass pour a layer of olive oil that you want to test. Then cover the top with one hand, and slowly rotate the glass with the other hand. With this rotation you will warm the glass and olive oil approx. to the 27 degrees Celsius, which is an ideal temperature for tasting. Then move your hand and put the nose in the glass 🙂 You have to feel freshness and fruitiness.
Then we have to taste. Take a sip and then spread throughout your mouth and experience aroma, taste and complexity at the same time.
Good olive oil is fatty, but it doesn’t leave a fatty after taste in your mouth.
If you want to neutralize the taste of olive oil between two testing process take a green apple between.
Try to feel how bitter and pungent is, on your scale of 1-10.
How can you recognize a bad olive oil?
The best way is with your nose, smell.
If it is smell like old oil old peanut butter, old gym clothes, fungus, nail polish, caramel, wet wood for sure is bad olive oil.
Is it healthy and how much it is?
It is responsible for the risk reduction of cancer, cognitive diseases( (Alzheimer and Parkinson), heart diseases and diabetes type 2.
According to the statement of cardiologist Ruud Van Langeveld “olive oil is much more healthier than other types of vegetable oil”. For example, sunflower seed oil contains mainly omega 6 fatty acids, but olive oil contains not only omega 6, but also omega 3 what is very important, plus omega 9. But, the conclusion is not that sunflower oil is bad oil, but is less balanced as olive oil. In olive oil balance is good.
Heating olive oil up to 175 degrees Celsius is less harmful than any other oil heating (peanut oil, sunflower oil ..). Based on the research, it came to the conclusion that olive oil produces less harmful ingredients than any other.
It’s not dangerous to use olive oil for deep-fry, but it’s a waste to use such a good oil for such an unhealthy thing 🙂
So get rid of it and use it as much as you can. I’ve been using it for years for all kinds of cooking, except in recipes where I need a specific oil aroma.
At the end
If all of this is confusing and frustrating for you to do, you can go with a simpler logic … See the price, because extra virgin olive oil can not cost a few euros per liter.
See also the date and date of production, because olive oil does not give a fresh taste for a long time. Look for the country of origin, it is better that is one, but more at the same time. On the other hand, according to some statistics, frauds are more common in Italian olive oils than in Spanish or some other.
And the rest is all about you in choosing good olive oil.
This time the pictures are not mine but they are borrowed from free photo sites. also for writing this post is used professional literature (different books, Wikipedia, internet).