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Understanding Olive Oil

Chemistry Definition Key—based on the time of crushing.

Oleic Acid is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid found in olive oil.  Olive oil is generally higher in oleic acid than other vegetable fats. The range found in extra virgin olive oil is between 55-83%.  Extra virgin olive oil high in oleic acid has greater oxidation resistance.

FFA: Based on USDA & IOOC (International Olive Oil Council) standards, the maximum limit for free fatty acid in extra virgin olive oil is 0.8g per 100g or (.8%).  A low FFA is desirable. Free fatty acid speaks to the condition of the fruit at the time of crush. The higher the FFA, the more significant the indication of poor quality fruit, such as damaged, overripe, insect infestation, or too much delay between harvest and crush.

Peroxide Value: Based on USDA and IOOC standards, the maximum peroxide value for extra virgin olive oil is 20. A very low peroxide value is desirable. Unsaturated free fatty acids react with oxygen and form peroxides, which create a series of chain reactions that generate volatile substances responsible for a typical musty/rancid oil smell. These reactions are accelerated by high temperature, light, and oxygen exposure.

Polyphenol Count: Polyphenols are a class of antioxidants found in various foods.  Polyphenols such as Oleuropein, Oleocanthal, and hydroxytyrosol impart intensity connected with pepper, bitterness, and other desirable flavor characteristics.    Recent studies indicate that these potent phenols are responsible for many health benefits of consuming fresh, high quality extra virgin olive oil. Phenols in olive oil decrease over time or when exposed to heat, oxygen, and light. Consuming fresh, well-made olive oil with high polyphenol content is crucial to obtain the maximum health benefit commonly associated with extra virgin olive oil.

Extra Virgin and Virgin Olive Oils

All types of extra-virgin and virgin oils are made from the olives' first pressings, which remove about 90% of the olives’ juice.

Chemicals and high heat are prohibited in producing extra-virgin or virgin oils, and no further processing or refining occurs after the pressing process.

Neither extra-virgin nor virgin oils are allowed to contain any refined olive oil.

Extra virgin olive oil has a fruity taste and may be pale yellow to bright green in color.  In general, the deeper the color, the more flavor it yields. IOOC regulations say extra-virgin olive oil must have a superior taste and contain no more than 0.8 percent acidity, but other regulators set the acidity cut-off point at 1 percent.

Confusion about Fusion vs. Infusion

Fused olive oil is also called “agrumato” in Italy. During crushing, Agrumato is made by crushing ripe olives with whole, fresh fruits, herbs, or vegetables. In the winter in Tunisia, citrus fruit is picked at the peak of ripeness, split in half, and thrown in with the olives. The olives and fruit are then crushed simultaneously. This process allows the essential oils from the citrus peel to mingle with the oil from the olives.

Infusing is adding flavor to olive oil after it has been crushed. Our infused extra virgin olive oils use the freshest extra virgin olive oils that are compatible with the natural products used to flavor them. Our infused collection moves with the current crush.

Storing Olive Oil

The ideal temperature for storing olive oil is 57F. However, a normal room temperature of 70F works very well if the olive oil is stored in a dark area where the temperature remains fairly constant.  A kitchen cabinet located away from the stove and away from direct sunlight works well. A stainless steel fusti is decorative and protects your oil from sunlight and oxygen.          DO NOT REFRIGERATE

How to Heat Olive Oil

Whether you are sautéing, stir-frying, pan-frying, or deep-frying, use olive oil and this advice to make your high-heat cooking great.

Always heat the skillet or pan on medium-high heat before adding the oil.  When the skillet is hot, add olive oil and heat it just below the smoke point before adding your food.  This should take 30 to 90 seconds, depending on the burner's heat and the pan's quality.  When you place the food in the pan, it should sizzle; otherwise, the pan and oil are not hot enough.

Always pat food dry before putting it into the hot oil; or a layer of steam will form between the food and the oil, making it difficult to get a good, seared, crispy exterior.

When grilling or broiling, brush meats or vegetables with olive oil to enhance flavor and seal in juices.

Nutritional Value of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil  -  A tablespoon of olive oil:

119.0 calories        

13.5 g fat     

10.0 monounsaturated  

2.0 vegetable saturated                                    

1.5 polyunsaturated   

2.0 mg Vitamin E

Extra Virgin Olive oil is naturally cholesterol-free and has no carbohydrates, proteins, or fiber.

Can I Bake With Olive Oil

Yes, you can bake with olive oil. More and more people are finding that you can have lovely desserts with the nutritional benefit of olive oil. Several good cookbooks dedicated to baking with olive oil are on the market now.

Below is a conversion chart that will help you convert from butter or shortening to olive oil with your favorite recipes.

Butter                                                 ­­­________Oil_________ 

1teaspoon                                          ¾ teaspoon

1Tablespoon                                      2 ¼ teaspoon

2 Tablespoon                                     1 ½ Tablespoon

¼ Cup                                                 3 Tablespoon

1/3 /cup                                              ¼ Cup

½ Cup                                                 ¼ Cup plus 2 Tablespoon

¾ Cup                                                 ½ Cup plus 1 Tablespoon

1 Cup                                                  ¾ Cup

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