What is premium olive oil?
Premium Olive Oil: The Top Choice
If you happen to have met any olive oil aficionados, you have surely heard them gush about premium olive oil and how anything else just doesn’t belong in the kitchen! Premium olive oil and most notably ultra-premium olive oil is made of pure, cold-pressed olives, giving it a lush, fresh taste. It is considered to be the highest quality olive oil on the market. However, even if many labels found in the grocery store claim to be of “premium” quality, unfortunately, they aren’t technically premium. We can recognize a premium olive oil from its brilliant, vibrant coloring and the balance between fruitiness, bitterness and pungency. A well-balanced premium olive oil contains subtle hints of grassy, peppery flavors that will ideally complement a dish.
What are the characteristics of the Koroneiki olive oil variety?
The Koroneiki olive tree comes from Greece, where it has grown for more than 3,000 years to produce olive oil.
The Koroneiki olive oil variety is known worldwide as one of the best varieties, a fact that has led to the cultivation of Koroneiki olive trees in several other countries too. Productivity is very high, with a fat yield of about 20%. The olive oil obtained from Koroneiki olives has an intense and vibrant green color, a fruity and delicate flavor and is characterized by a very strong aroma. It has low acidity and is also rich in precious organoleptic substances and vitamins. The quality of Koroneiki olive oil is excellent and stable over time.
What should we look out for when buying olive oil?
Each package of olive oil must bear the following indications on its label:
1. The sales name of the olive oil category together with the “information for the respective category”:
(a) extra virgin olive oil: “higher grade olive oil produced directly from olives by mechanical means only”;
(b) virgin olive oil: “olive oil produced directly from olives by mechanical means only”;
(c) olive oil: “oil containing exclusively refined olive oils and oils obtained directly from olives”;
(d) olive-pomace oil: “oil containing exclusively oils obtained from the processing of the product obtained after the extraction of olive oil and oils obtained directly from olives” or “oil containing exclusively oils derived from the processing of olive pits and oils produced directly from olives “.
2. The designation of origin. This indication is given only for “extra virgin olive oil” and “virgin olive oil”. For the categories “olive oil” and “olive-pomace oil” the designation of origin is not indicated on the label.
3. The net amount of olive or olive-pomace oil content expressed in units of volume (eg 1 liter, 5 liters).
4. The date of minimum product retention.
5. The storage conditions of the product.
6. The nutritional declaration.
7. The name or trade name and address of the manufacturer or packager or of a seller established within the European Union.
8. The alphanumeric code of the approved unit of standardization and packaging of olive oil which is typical for the unit and is of the form: EL – 40 – _ _ _
How to Store Extra Virgin Olive Oil at Home?
Optimal storage entails protecting the extra virgin olive oil from oxygen, light and heat, thus maintaining its high quality and health benefits for a long period of time.
Storing larger quantities of EVOO
Oxygen is the biggest threat to extra virgin olive oil quality, as the contact is considered to be the leading cause of oxidation (light and heat cause oxidation too). Some of EVOO’s components, such as its polyphenols and tocopherols, play an important role in defining its flavor and healthy properties as well as in preserving its high quality. As we said, when extra virgin olive oil comes in contact with oxygen, it oxidizes. The polyphenols oxidate first, thus protecting the oil’s fatty acids. Producers, having the proper knowledge and technologies, deploy a number of procedures to limit or even totally avoid contact with oxygen. They know that proper handling is crucial, a fact that is also true at home, where extra virgin olive oil may be stored for months before its actual use. Often times, high-quality extra virgin olive oil is directly bought from the producer, who sells it in sealed containers that can hold quantities usually up to 5 liters.
The temperature factor
Extra virgin olive oil is a resilient product that can be easily shipped by producers all over the world. Even so, the EVOO’s functional at home storage requires avoiding extremely low or high temperatures. The optimal temperature range for storage is between 14 ºC and 18 ºC, which contributes to the longevity of EVOO’s most important properties. Under 12 °C, EVOO might begin to exhibit signs of solidification, which will not however damage its organoleptic and nutritional qualities. Such damage can mostly occur when temperatures get too close to 0 °C, and on the other end of the spectrum, higher temperatures will also lead to oxidation.
Extra virgin olive oil thrives in the dark
The extra virgin olive oil’s quality and durability can be significantly affected by light, as, once stored in full light, it will quickly lose its healthy profile or even degrade in a matter of months to the point of no longer being edible. Among the reasons for this is the chlorophyll, a component triggered by light exposure which destroys other crucial EVOO contents. Storing EVOO in dark conditions ensures the preservation of the extra virgin olive oil’s flavor, healthy properties and guarantees a duration almost three times longer than the one stored in light conditions.
How many Greek olive varieties are there?
The olive in Greece has been cultivated for more than 6,000 years, as evidenced by the large pre-Minoan tree of Naxos that has a trunk circumference of 29 meters and a maximum diameter of 10.8 meters.
During the millennia, many varieties were developed thanks to the unique regional microclimate conditions. The Koroneiki variety is exclusively used for olive oil production. There are other varieties however, which except from olive oil production are also edible.
There officially are 45-50 registered Greek olive varieties, but their actual number exceeds 100, which means that a great number of Greek olive varieties are yet to be officially registered.
What are the differences between cooking-frying with olive oil and other seed oils?
- Less impact on blood clotting.
- Smaller increase in triglycerides.
- Frying temperature threshold 180℃.
- Smoking temperature threshold 210℃.
- Greater effect on blood clotting.
- Greater increase in triglycerides.
- Frying temperature threshold below 180℃.
- Smoking temperature threshold below 210℃.