Mudgee Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Frequently Asked Questions about Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Is there a difference between Extra Virgin olive oil and those labelled Pure or Light?

Extra virgin olive oil is the purest form of olive oil that you can buy. It is obtained by crushing the olives into a paste, then extracting the oil from this paste without the use of chemicals or excessive heat. Extra virgin olive oil has a distinctive olive fruity aroma and flavour and it contains natural antioxidants.

'Pure' or 'light' olive oils, on the other hand, have been refined. Refining is a complex process that involves the use of acids, alkalis, steam and other agents. The refining process removes all of the aroma and flavour substances out of the olive oil including its natural antioxidants. Artificial antioxidants such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and the related compound butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) need to be added back to give the refined olive oil a reasonable shelf life.

Many people misconstrue olive oils that are labelled Light or Extra Light to be low fat or low calorie, however the word 'light' only refers to the light colour, aroma and flavour of these oils.

I notice olive oils packaged in both clear and dark bottles. Does this make a difference?

Most definitely. Light is the enemy of olive oil as it is one of the factors which causes rancidity. You should always purchase oils stored in dark opaque glass. Some producers package their oils in clear bottles. This is mainly to attract the buyer. Storing olive oil in clear bottles is detrimental to its quality.

What are the health benefits of olive oil? Isn't it a fat?

Well-documented by numerous studies around the world, the many health benefits of olive oil make it one of the most indispensable ingredients of a healthy diet. Naturally packed with monounsaturated fatty acids (good fats) and antioxidants, not only can a good extra virgin olive oil lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, research has shown that it also provides a wide range of anti-inflammatory benefits that can positively impact illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, and asthma.

If you are especially interested in the health benefit aspects of olive oil, the best choice is extra virgin olive oil, preferably a very high quality one, as it is likely that its production method leaves most antioxidants and other healthy components intact.

What is the best way to store olive oil?

Heat, light, oxygen and time degrade olive so the ideal storage place should be a dark place with a relatively constant, cool temperature away from direct heat and sunlight. Olive oils will rapidly become rancid if stored in a warm, well lit environment whilst exposure to light will also hasten the loss of the health giving vitamin E like compound, tocopherol.

Oil stored in the refrigerator will go cloudy and may become solid. If this happens take the oil out of the fridge and store in the pantry and the colour will return to normal.

Oil in casks, or in dark glass will last longer than oil in clear bottles or plastic.

Any advice on how to taste olive oil?

When tasting olive oil, much of the oil’s characteristics are perceived through the sense of smell. The colour of the oil is NOT an indicator of either the oil’s flavor or quality, and it is contrary to common belief that golden oil is mild while dark green oil is robust .

Though most people enjoy olive oil with other foods, the following steps will show you how to focus on the olive oil’s flavor without distraction:

• Pour a tablespoon of oil into a small tapered wine glass.
• Hold the glass in one hand and use your other hand to cover the glass while swirling the oil to release its aroma.
• Uncover the glass and inhale deeply from the top of the glass to evaluate the olive fruit aroma (fruitiness). Is it mild or strong? You may want to write down descriptions of the aromas that you detect at this point.
• Next, slurp the oil: sip a small amount of oil into your mouth while “sipping” some air as well. If you make loud slurping noises, you're doing it correctly! Slurping emulsifies the oil with air that helps to spread it throughout your mouth - giving you the chance to savor every nuance of flavor with just a small sip of oil.
• Finish by swallowing the oil and notice if it leaves a stinging sensation in your throat which determines the intensity of the oil’s pungency.

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