We’ve all heard of the benefits of olive oil, especially when it is extra virgin and cold pressed. However with a world consumption of almost double the oil production!! are you really buying pure olive oil??
The answer to that Questions is a sad NO, or a least for most of us. Most Supermarket shelf olive oils, are not really pure olive oil, they are usually mixed with a percentage of other oils like canola oil or other hydrogenated vegetable oils . In many cases they are also not extra virgin as they claim, regulation by governments are not strict since its not considered a “safety hazard” however if you are an olive grower or a connoisseur then you can immediately identify whether its pure or not just by tasting it, or even smelling it.
Olive crop year means the period from 1st October to 30th of September, so ideally if you want to get your self a very fresh batch of olive oil, “which is important” as ‘oils go rancid as they age’, then you need to source it in October, as in the case of the above bottle, look for either the production or sell by date, and if its any older than 6 months then don’t waste your money, I’ve been very lucky today to have got my hands on this amazing 0 acidity fresh bottle.
So what is olive oil?
Olive oil is a liquid fat obtained from olives (the fruit of the olive tree), a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean. The oil is produced by pressing whole olives. We cook with it, we add it to salads, personally I never over heat it, and prefer to use it cold for medicinal purposes, It is also used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and soaps, and has additional uses in some religions. Traditionally The Greeks will bury their loved ones with an olive oil bottle.
Olive trees have been grown around the Mediterranean since the 8th millennium BC. You may have wrongly assumed that Italy is the largest producer of olive oil, but fact is Spain is the largest producer of olive oil, followed by Italy and Greece. However, per capita consumption is highest is Greece, followed by Spain, Italy, and Morocco. Consumption in North America and northern Europe is far less, but rising steadily.
The composition of olive oil varies with the cultivar, altitude, time of harvest and extraction process. It consists mainly of oleic acid (up to 83%), with smaller amounts of other fatty acids including linoleic acids(up to 21%) and palmitic acid (up to 20%). Extra-virgin olive oil is required to have no more than 0.8% free acidity and is considered to have favorable flavor characteristics.
Olive oil is 24% saturated fat but largely 73% is a monounsaturated fat which is very healthy, it contains both Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, with the 3 being higher, its been known to lower LDL or ‘bad Cholesterol’ It contains large amounts of anti oxidants, it has strong anti inflammatory properties, and unlike some myths, it does NOT cause weight gain and obesity. It also has anti bacterial properties. New research are now in favour of good fats consumption ‘such as olive oil’ as they play a role in the prevention of Alzhaimers and brain disorders.
There you have it, enjoy using your olive oil, just make sure you are buying it Pure, Fresh, Cold pressed, & Extra Virgin.