Fun Facts about Olive Oil
Taste is the most obvious difference between olive oil and the commercially popular vegetable oils such as corn, soybean and canola oils. These oils are tasteless fats. Olive oil is the pure juice of pressed olives.
Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, adds a flavor and textural dimension lacking in other oils, making it a suitable substitute for butter and margarine in almost any recipe. In fact, more and more restaurants are serving extra virgin olive oil, both plain or flavored with salt and pepper, as an alternative to butter for bread.
All olives start out green and turn to black or dark purple. When the olive is green, they are very tasty but do not have that much oil. When the olive is black the tastes are less intensive and they are very oily. A lot of people think that the colors represent two different types of olives but they do not.
The color of olive oil is dependant on the pigments in the fruit - Green Olives give a green oil because of the high chlorophyll content. Ripe olives give a yellow oil because of the carotenoid (yellow red) pigments. The color of the oil is influenced by the exact combination and proportions of pigments. A simple equation would be Color = Chlorophyll (Green) + Carotenoids (Yellow red) + other pigments. Color is not an official standard but it certainly excites the consumer." Professor Stan Kailis, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA
What does the acidity level mean?
The acidity level is a chemical test that is conducted in a laboratory to determine the quality of the olive oil. For example, an Extra Virgin Olive Oil must have less than 0.8 % of acidity. You cannot taste the acidity in olive oil.
11 lbs of olives are necessary to produce one quart (32 fl oz) of extra virgin olive oil (the pure juice of the fruit)
At the opposite spectrum of wine, olive oil does not get better with age. Olive oil can be kept on an average of 18 months after pressing before becoming rancid. Three factors can accelerate the change of the olive oil taste:
The best way to store olive oil is far from the sunlight in the cool and dark place.
Besides food, olive oil has been used for religious rituals, medicines, as a fuel in oil lamps, soap-making, and skin care application
A.O.C Definition: Known in France as AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée), this denomination is reserved for a product whom the production, the processing, and the elaboration has to happen in a specific area with a recognized and noticed savoir-faire. Each AOP/C has its own specifications with:
- The name of the area
- The description of the product with the raw product and the main features of the product,
- The delimitation of the geographic area,
- The elements that prove that the product comes from the above mentioned area
- The description of the processing of the product
- The elements justifying the link with the above mentioned area
- The reference for the organization in charge of the controls
- The specific features for the labeling of the AOP/C
Currently, only a registered or protected appellation of origin or a protected geographical indication is authorized by European legislation to designate the origin of olive oil. These labels are assigned by decree, and confirm the typical qualities of a product, establishing a connection with a terroir and a heritage. Each appellation must be conscientious and willing to monitor the quality of the products it accepts.
Unfortunately, for any other oils - those not produced within the EEC, those produced several kilometers outside the borders of an appellation, those from older varietals that have not yet been registered, or those that refuse to accept regulations that might curb originality - only the country of origin can be noted. Yet, this does not necessarily mean that they are inferior oils. All O&CO. oils are guaranteed to be of superior quality.