There have been a whirlwind of posts going around about how olive oil is fake, and we did some digging. I am shocked at some of the facts that we have found. Like the fact that there are mobs that make tons of money selling fake oil. There was lots of conflicting information out there, some of the studies didn't seem founded on facts, more on speculation so we kept the list to what we could find factual with evidence. This should help you find quality and real olive oil for your household.
Did you read that tweet above this? Insane! There are companies that use olives from sub standard regions and once processed, ship their oil to Italy to be bottled so they can have the Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Italy labeled. Here are some other tidbits we found to help you made the best shopping decision for your oil.
- Olive oil is a fruit juice – Olives are fruit (but are inedible unless cured in oil or brine), and olive oil is the fruit's juice.
- Olive oil is good for you – Olive oil protects against heart disease as it controls the “bad” levels of LDL cholesterol and raises levels of the “good” cholesterol, HDL. It is extremely high in oleic acid which is used to reduce blood pressure. Olive oil is also believed to have a protective effect against a variety of cancers, including breast, prostate, endometrium and digestive tract.
- You can cook with extra virgin olive oil – Many people believe that extra virgin olive oil should only be used to make salad dressings or to drizzle over food. On the contrary, it is perfectly safe to use it to cook up to 400 degrees. However, coconut oil might be a more cost-effective option since extra virgin olive oil can be quite expensive.
- Light and oxygen destroys olive oil by creating oxidation – Always buy olive oil in dark green bottles and store it in a cabinet or pantry in air-tight containers. If you buy olive oil in large metal containers, pour what you need for the next several weeks into a dark glass container and store the rest in a cool, dark place.
- Your Italian olive oil might not be from Italy – Many olive oil makers will have their product packaged or bottled in Italy just to get the Italy seal to mislead consumers.If a label lists numerous countries, there’s a good chance the olives were picked somewhere other than where they were packaged, which results in a lower quality olive oil.
- Not all olive oils are created equally – The highest quality olive oil is cold-pressed extra virgin.”Cold-pressed” means no heat was used to extract the oil. “Extra virgin” means the olive oil comes from the first pressing of the fruit and that the oil has been extracted by physical processes only. If an olive oil is labeled “virgin,” “fine,” “light,” or “pure,” it means the olives were refined further and have undergone a second or third pressing, usually with man-made chemicals added or heat used to extract more oil from the fruit.
- 100% extra virgin olive oil is not always 100% extra virgin olive oil – The United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not test extra virgin olive oil (or any other olive oils) to make sure it is pure. The USDA sets the standards, and olive oil sellers do not have to comply with them. Thus, olive oil can include soybean oil or seed oils; yet, sellers can have “extra virgin” on their labels just as long as they're not claiming to uphold the USDA's official standards.
When buying extra virgin olive oil
- Look for a “Harvest Date” or “Crop Date” on the bottle. This tells you exactly when the olives were picked. Olive oil is best if it's used within 18 to 24 months of harvesting. Many olive oil brands have a “best if used by” date, but this doesn't tell you how long the olives were sitting before being pressed. If a “Harvest Date” or “Crop Date” is not listed on the bottle, it is probably not 100% extra virgin olive oil.
- Read the label. The more details they provide on the label, the more likely you are getting 100% extra virgin olive oil. Look for the grower's name, the specific location/region where the olives were grown (not just the country), and the cultivar (the type of olives used to make the oil).
- If possible, taste the olive oil before purchasing it. Extra virgin olive oil should be dark green in color and be incredibly flavorful with grassy, herbaceous, spicy, and peppery undertones. Genuine extra virgin olive oil should taste both rich and clean. Low quality extra virgin olive oil tastes mild, flat and sometimes chemically in comparison.
- Support local and know your farmer. Become a repeat customer and always stick with someone you can trust. I solely use Kasandrinos olive oil. The owner is a friend whose family owns the farm in Greece. The oil is delicious. You can get it here.
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