Olive Oil Production in a Nutshell
Although the traditional olive press is still used by many Olive Oil producers around the world today, the Decanter Centrifuge is the most wildly used extraction method in the Olive Oil industry. With this method, the olives are crushed into a fine paste. The paste is then stirred, releasing and utilizing the nutritionally dense enzymes once locked inside the olives. The paste is spun, causing the oil to separate from the rest of the paste, creating the most aromatic, medicinally beneficial Extra Virgin Olive Oil available today!
With over a thousand varieties of olives, and more blends of Olive Oil, it is the best to taste a few types of Extra Virgin Olive Oil to see which varieties you like best.
Most major cities have specialty stores where you can sample their Olive Oil before purchasing. I would encourage you to visit, taste, and learn more about extra virgin olive oil.
Classifications of Consumable Olive Oil
• Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: Often referred to as the first pressing of the olives, this oil is very pure and contains no more than 0.8% acidity. It is the most flavorful of all olive oil, has zero defects, no filler oils and no chemical refining. Highest nutritional value.
• Virgin Olive Oil: Second pressing with acidity less than 2% and is flavorful. Has no filler oils and no chemical refining. Good nutritional value.
• Pure Olive Oil: A blend of refined Olive Oil and either Extra Virgin or Virgin Olive Oil. It has very little taste. It has some nutritional value as it contains some monounsaturated fat.
• Olive Oil: A blend of virgin oil and refined oil. It may have defects, it is flavorless and offers little nutritional value.
• Olive-Pomace Oil: A blend of refined pomace Olive Oil and rarely sold at retailers. This is the lowest grade of consumable oil. It is most often sold to large restaurant chains. Typically there is no nutritional value.
A Guide to the Flavor of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• Intense: Full-Bodied & Earthy. Strongly-flavored, big oils for those who like full bodied flavor. It usually has a peppery punch. Best used with strong-flavored foods. Rarely used for dessert baking.
• Robust: Fruity & Peppery. More olive flavor, more green flavor, very often accompanied by a peppery aftertaste. Best used with pasta dishes, robust soups, or as a finishing drizzle.
• Moderate: Fruity & Herbal. These are the herbal, grassy oils. It is delicious on anything but especially with vegetable, pasta and seafood dishes. Sometimes used for more deep flavored dessert baking.
• Moderate: Smooth & Buttery. Luscious, fruitier oils that retain a sense of delicacy. Best used on salads, vegetables, poultry, and especially desserts!
• Mild: Subtle & Nuanced. Delicate, ethereal olive oils with complexity. Best used for the lightest dishes, such as grilled white-fleshed fish or fresh mozzarella, and especially desserts!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Baking:
Abrosana, Arbequina, Hojiblanca, Picual, and Picuda olive oils generally have a very mild flavor and work well for baking desserts. Keep in mind that all true extra virgin olive oil can change from season to season, and depending on the harvest time, an olive from the same tree can taste completely different later in the season. Early harvest tends to give a bolder flavored olive oil. A later harvested olive will yield a more subtle flavored extra virgin olive oil.
Choosing a Good Olive Oil?
Look for these identifiers when purchasing Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Harvest date and location
Labeled cold pressed
Bottles in dark colored glass
Sold by reputable sources, such as specialty markets.
Unopened Extra Virgin Olive Oil will remain fresh without refrigeration for 9-24 months. Remember to store it in a cool dark place, as exposing Olive Oil to continuous heat, oxygen, or light, causes it to deteriorate. Once opened olive oil will remain fresh for about 6 months.
What's so great about Olive Oil?
Studies have shown that people who consumed 25 milliliters (ml) - about 2 tablespoons - of virgin olive oil daily for 1 week showed less oxidation of LDL cholesterol and higher levels of antioxidant compounds, particularly phenols, in the blood. But while all types of olive oil are sources of monounsaturated fat, EXTRA VIRGIN olive oil, from the first pressing of the olives, contains higher levels of antioxidants, particularly vitamin E and phenols, because it is less processed.
Recent news about Olive Oil:
What the FDA says about Olive Oil (FDA website)
What the ASN says about Olive Oil and blood pressure (The Journal of Nutrition)
New study on Olive Oil and ulcers (WebMD)
Olive oil 'can cut cancer risk' (BBC News)
Olive oil can help prevent ailments of the gut, cancer (NewsTarget.com)
Olive oil 'acts like painkiller' (BBC News)
Diets rich in olive oil can help prevent cell damage that leads to cancer, study suggests (NewsTarget.com)
Olive Oil's Newfound Benefits (Science News Online)
Learn how to make olive oil