Considered a beneficial food on various fronts, EVOO is the basis of healthy cuisine, such as the Mediterranean one, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, in 2010.
Selecting a quality, good and healthy EVO is an exercise in knowledge, in tasting which, if trained, leads to the discovery of fascinating and different realities, according to the area of origin, the cultivars and the care dedicated to processing by the company .
You don’t necessarily need to be a professional in the sector. Even a passionate and attentive consumer, with practice, can at least learn to discern the quality of one EVOO compared to another.
There is a lot to discover and write about the EVOO. Some informative curiosities are useful for those who often use EVOO out of habit, paying little attention to the history of the product purchased, its potential, storage methods and other features that allow you to select the product right from the packaging.
Maybe, you don’t know that:
1. EVOO is rich in oleocanthal, a substance with an anti-inflammatory action (recognizable when you taste it because you feel a pungent note in the throat) which, scientific studies, have compared to Ibuprofen, a powerful anti-inflammatory chemical.
2. The taste with bitter notes of EVOO is not a defect but a virtue. In fact, it indicates how rich EVOO is in polyphenols, beneficial antioxidants.
3. An olive oil is defined as “extra virgin” if obtained without chemical processes (as happens, however, for seed oils), by mechanical methods, with a temperature below 28 ° and a maximum acidity equal to 0 , 8%.
4. Extra virgin olive oil has a protective action on the cardiovascular system, helping to keep the “bad” cholesterol levels stable and raising the level of the “good” one.
5. EVOO should be consumed within the year of production, to keep its organoleptic characteristics intact.
6. Color is not synonymous with quality. For this reason, during a tasting, the olive oil is contained in blue glasses that hide the color and preserve the properties from ambient light.
7. Quality olive oil should always be bottled in dark, non-transparent bottles. To keep it, it must be kept in the dark, indoors and at temperatures below 18 degrees centigrade. This is because EVOO absorbs odors and alters quickly. Usually, the EVOO expires within a year and a half from opening the bottle but can deteriorate sooner if stored incorrectly.
8. To find out if your bottle of EVOO in the pantry, perhaps bought at the supermarket, is really olive oil, pour into a glass and place in the fridge. If it solidifies it means that it is real olive oil and not mixed with other oils. This solidification process is linked to the chemical composition of the olive oil and does not affect the quality of the product.
9. Extra virgin olive oil comes from the pressing of a fruit, therefore it maintains all the organoleptic properties. Also for this reason, it is the most digestible of the other oils and has no contraindications.
10. EVOO is the result of simple extraction from olives by mechanical means. The olives are not subjected to any treatment except washing, decanting, centrifugation and filtration.
11. Acidity is one of the main indicators of the quality of the EVOO. The higher the acidity, the poorer the EVOO. By law, extra virgin olive oil is an oil with a free acidity, expressed as oleic acid, not exceeding 0.8 g per 100 g of oil and in the absence of defects.
12. Cold extracted means that the EVOO was obtained with a controlled temperature processing process below 27° C. It is a certification that starts from the olive processing mill and attests to an extraction process that is attentive to quality.
13. To ensure the traceability of the origin of the EVOO, it is mandatory to indicate on the label the Member State (or the Third Country) corresponding to the geographical area in which the olives were harvested.
14. By law, the expiry date of the oil is calculated based on the bottling date and not the production date.
15. The indication of the year or agricultural year in which the olives were harvested and processed is mandatory only for IGP and PDO oils.