Virgin olive oil, and extra virgin olive oil, (comes from virgin oil produc-tion only, contains no more than 0.8% acidity) is produced by simply crushing olives and extracting the juice in a press or centrifuge. Virgin olive oils contain the highest levels of polyphenols, antioxidants that have been linked with better health. All of the other grades, such as "pure" and "olive oil," are refined using high heat and chemical processing, in the same way other cooking oils are.
3 million tons of olive oil is produced around the world each year, which equates to about 445ml for each one of us. Are you using your share? There are at least fifty different varieties of olive, each with its own distinct characteristics. In Greece, there are an estimated 120,000,000 olive trees and 350,000 Greek families involved in olive tree cultivation. Extra Virgin olive oil accounts for less than 10% of oil in many producing countries; the percentage is far higher in the Mediterranean countries (Greece: 80%, Italy: 45%, Spain 30%).
Olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean diet and it has a positive health impact on heart, cancer, stress and blood pressure symptoms.
- Keep olive oil out of direct sunlight and heat as it can cause rancidity. Put it in dark glass rather than clear glass, avoid plastic containers and always keep the lid tightly on
- Olive oil should be stored in a cool place at home so Keep your olive oil away from places that are hot (not near the stove or kitchen)
- The more recently the oil was made, the better the taste, so make sure to pick one with a harvesting or “Best By” date. Keep in mind that most harvests are October (in warmer climates) to March (in colder climates)
- Substitute olive oil for butter? You can use it while baking and dramatically reduce the amount of fat -- espe-cially saturated fat -- in your baked goods. 3 tablespoons of olive oil amount to a quarter-cup of butter
12 reasons for saying "YES!" to Greek olive oil
- YES! - The roots of the olive tree are deeply embedded in the soil and the history of the country
- YES! - The wisdom of experience in olive cultivation is combined with scientific research
- YES! - The climatic conditions and ecosystem are favourable to the cultivation of the olive tree
- YES! - The type of olive grove is a determining factor in the fruit-bearing cycle
- YES! - Enthusiasm for the olive grove is linked to the knowledge and experience of Greek olive-growers
- YES! - The most suitable varieties are always selected for any given bootie
- YES! - The most appropriate harvesting techniques are used and the degree of ripeness of the fruit is always taken into account
- YES! - Suitable measures are taken to clean the fruit before it is sent for processing
- YES! - The length of time the fruit is stored before pressing ensures that the product has a long life
- YES! - The correct methods of olive-pressing are used
- YES! - Standardization and storage are carried out in the right conditions to ensure consistent quality
- YES! - Quality control is carried out on the final product, the olive oil, and it is checked for its wholesomeness
Author/compilation: Thisvi Ekmektzoglou-Newson