Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), i.e. the olive fruit juice, is a commodity that we all must use in our daily routine!
Do we really know what we consume? Do we know some of its features and benefits? Are we able to choose based on label or organoleptic characteristics?
Let’s answer some of your questions!
1.Let’s start from the essentials. What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), what Virgin Olive Oil and what refined?
Extra Virgin Olive Oil : It is the Virgin Olive Oil, that is produced only by natural and mechanical methods. It is characterized by its acidity, the fatty acids that are in the free state mainly due to hydrolysis, which is lower than 0.8%.
Virgin Olive Oil: It is the Virgin Olive Oil, which is produced only by natural and mechanical methods. Its content of free fatty acids, expressed in oleic acid, does not exceed 2g per 100g, i.e. its acidity is between 0.8% – 2.0%.
Refined Olive Oil: It is the Olive Oil that is obtained by refining methods in unsuitable for consumption Virgin Olive Oils. Its acidity is lower than 0.3%.
2. Is acidity the most important factor in evaluating olive oil?
Certainly, acidity is an important factor in ranking olive oil quality but not the only one. For example, an olive oil may have a very low acidity but some other characteristics, such as the number of peroxides or waxes, may exceed the limits. So, the answer is no, it is not the most important factor in evaluating the quality of an olive oil.
3. What is the sensory analysis of olive oil?
The sensory analysis is a method based on olfactory and tasting factors, that is used to classify the olive oil into the correct category. Sensory analysis is carried out by a “test panel”, i.e. a recognized tasting group of specialists selected, trained and monitored, who apply internationally approved methods.
Through this method they examine the “positive” and “negative” characteristics of olive oil. The process of testing an olive oil is to smell and swallow a small amount of it. Through this process we can notice the intensity of the different positive characteristics, according to the International Olive Oil Council there are three, the “fruity”, the “bitter” and the “spicy”. The “negative” characteristics on the other hand is the so-called “organoleptic defect” which is an unpleasant taste or aroma in olive oil, as a result of a wrong process of production, storage, maintenance, etc.
4. Should be extra virgin olive oil filtered or unfiltered ?
Olive oil is recommended to be filtered and is one of the most important stages, as it can be preserved until its consumption. The main disadvantage of unfiltered olive oils is that they do not have a long shelf life. You can keep an unfiltered olive oil for about 6 months.
5. Where should I store my evoo ?
The biggest enemies of olive oil are light, high heat and oxygen. Olive oils that are exposed to light and high temperatures can lose up to 6 months of life. That is why, it is recommended to buy olive oil in dark glass bottles and store it in a shady and cool place, well-sealed.
6. Can we fry with extra virgin olive oil?
Extra virgin olive oil due to its superior quality, the best way to enjoy it and get the benefits from its nutrients is to consume it raw. Certainly, it can be well used for frying at 180°C as it excels due to its physicochemical characteristics, i.e. it withstands high temperatures due to and is less at risk of oxidation due to monounsaturated acids and vitamin E.
7. Is the color of an extra virgin olive oil an indicator of quality?
The color of the olive oils does not characterize their quality. Rather, is related with the conditions of olive oil production, the variety and ripeness of olives as well as the climate in which the olives where grown. Many believe, that a deep green colour of an olive oil juice means a high-quality product. This is not true, for example, an extra virgin olive oil with a green colour may have several defects and a golden yellow may be very good organoleptically. So the color is not a factor of olive oil categorization.
8. What is the so-called “burning” that we feel when we consume a fresh extra virgin olive oil?
Most of us have felt this spicy sensation in the back of our throats, when we have consumed a fresh extra virgin olive oil. This “pleasant” bitterness is a quality characteristic due to the 2 main phenols, oleander and oleasin, which according to many studies offer significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits in our body. But, we should note, that this bitterness remains for a very short time in our throat. If the feeling is an unpleasant intense bitterness, causes a feeling of “heartburn”, this is not a high quality extra virgin olive oil but a defective one!
Choose a high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil for daily consumption and get all the benefits for your body !!!