Extra Virgin Olive Oil
what’s all the fuss about?
The truth is that the healthiest olive oil is Extra Virgin but it has to be fresh and must have been stored correctly. There are a whole bunch of things to watch out for.
To understand the difference between Extra Virgin and Virgin Olive Oil click on the link below – it’s a very informative article written by independent Nutrition and Food Consultants, Nutriscope Solutions:
Fresh is best
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is not like a good wine which gets better with age. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is best when it is fresh. Keep a close eye on the best before date. You’ve paid good money for a good oil make sure you enjoy it before it deteriorates.
Air, light and heat all deteriorate the quality of your Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Air – as soon as you open your bottle you are exposing the oil to air, this is why Extra Virgin Olive Oil is best consumed within 1-3 months of opening (check the label). Yes, it is tempting to save the oil and only use it on special occasions but you really need to enjoy it after opening it, don’t let it deteriorate because you are saving it.
Light – yes some bottles of Extra Virgin Olive Oil are beautiful and you really want to display them in your kitchen but to be honest the best place for them is in a dark cupboard – definitely not on your window sill. Avoid buying Extra Virgin Olive Oil in clear bottles – a dark bottle plays a very functional role in preventing your oil being spoilt by light.
Heat – you do need to keep you oil in a cool place. Just be sure that you don’t leave it sitting out on the BBQ through summer, don’t sit it by your stove top and don’t put it in the cupboard alongside the oven.
Know what you are buying
Can you be sure that the label is an accurate indication of what is in the bottle? Whilst Australian labeling laws are relatively strict, buying from producers who are signatories to the Australian Code of Practice will help to give you the confidence that they are following the strict guidelines for testing their oils to prove that they are Extra Virgin Olive Oil and that the best before date is specific to the given batch of oil. Keep an eye out for this logo to be sure.
Unfortunately not all imported Extra Virgin Olive Oils are subjected to the same level of scrutiny when it comes to labeling. Whenever possible, buy direct from a producer and ask to taste the oil before you purchase it. It should have a fresh and clean taste that isn’t bitter and it should not leave you with a waxy residue in your mouth. The flavor of the oil will be affected by the varieties of olives, the climatic conditions, the ripeness of the fruit and the storage/processing amongst other things – even if you always stick to a certain brand the flavours will generally change with the seasons, only you know what flavours you like. However, it is worth knowing that the peppery bite that you might experience with a good Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a sign of a quality oil – one that is newly pressed with strong flavours, low acidity and a high degree of antioxidants.
Is imported Extra Virgin Olive Oil better than Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Absolutely not. Australia produces some amazing Extra Virgin Olive Oils that perform very well on the international competition scene. The beauty of Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oils is that they are much more likely to reach you in a fresh state. Unfortunately many of the imported Extra Virgin Olive Oils on our supermarket shelves are cheap and do not reflect the taste or quality of a good oil in their country of origin. If you want a good Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil you may have to travel to Italy rather than your local supermarket. A good Extra Virgin Olive Oil should be grown, processed and bottled in a single country.