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I Love This and That: Olive Oil {FYI}

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Olive Oil {FYI}

I have done a bit of research and thought I would like to share some of it with you. Great sites www.oliveoiltimes.com and www.saolive.co.za with loads of information on, but I just made a summary for you, so if you need more information have a look there. 


There are many different kinds of olive varieties from which oil can be produced, and each brings a unique flavour and quality to the oil.  Some olive oils are made from blending different varieties together and others are only one variety {mono-varietals or mono-cultivar}.  The variety of the olive as well as the maturity of the fruit, contributes mostly to the flavour of the oil.  
There are more than 200 different cultivars found around the world, and there are at least 20 different cultivars grown in South-Africa.  The more well-known types of olives used to make Extra Virgin Olive Oil in South-Africa are:
Leccino - produces an oil with soft, subtle herbaceous flavours
Frantoio - a typical Tuscan varietal, with strong green overtones
Coratina - can produce a rather bitter oil
Favolosa - specifically selected for oil production and produces an intense fruity oil
Mission - more suited to table olive production, this olive produces a delicate oil which is best consumed within 6 - 9 months
Kalmata - a table olive cultivar which makes a very delicate oil
Ascolano - rather uncommon, but produces oil with a very fruity aroma
In South-Africa olive harvest takes place between March and June/July every year and by August/September the fresh oils are available.  

When the oil is described as ‘virgin’ it is the oil that have been obtained from the original fruit without any synthetic treatment.  Once the olives have been picked, pressed and washed, no other processes has taken place other than decantation, and centrifugation {to extract the oil} and filtration

‘Extra Virgin’
This is the best quality, and most flavorful olive oil classification. It is produced entirely by mechanical means without the use of any solvent and under temperatures less than 30°C that will not degrade the oil.    
Since extra Virgin oil is simplu pressed fruit juice without additives, the factores influencing the quality and taste encompass the countless decisions, ethics and skills of the producer and the terroir itself.  
Extra Virgin Olive Oils can be divided into three styles and the best flavour is obtained when using the most appropriate style of oil with a particular food.  
Intensely fruity {more intensely flavoured foods} - Grilling meat, sauteing garlis and onions, on toast with ricotta, swirled into hot soup and for ice cream.
Medium intensity - For baking fresh tuna, with chicken, on subtle salads and in baking.
Very delicate {delicate desert} - Mayonaisse, in deserts and over fresh fruit. 

Chemical terms if we want to get technical.
Extra Virgin oil
Free acidity {expressed as oleic acid} <0.8g/100g
Peroxide <20milliequivalent O2
Virgin oil 
Free acidity {expressed as oleic acid} <2g/100g
Median organoleptic defect value = 2.5 or less
Ordinary Virgin oil
Free acidity {expressed as oleic acid} <3.3g/100g
Median organoleptic defect value = 2.5 or less than 6.0
Olive oil {Blend of both Virgin and Refined olive oil}
Free acidity {expressed as oleic acid} <1g/100g
Refined Olive oil {This is obtained from Virgin Olive oils by refining methods which do not lead to alterations in the initial glyceridic structure}
Free acidity {expressed as oleic acid} <0.3g/100g
Olive Pomace oil {Comprising the blend of refined olive pomance oil and virgin olive oils fit for consumption as the are, in no case can it be called olive oil} Not recommended to use
Free acidity {expressed as oleic acid} <1g/100g

Tasting Olive Oil
The aromas of olive oil are a critical part of its flavor.  You may notice the smell of...
  • Freshly-cut grass
  • Cinnamon
  • Tropical fruits
  • Aromas of ripe or green olive fruits

Purgency is a peppery sensation, detected in the throat, and a positive characteristc of olive oil.  It is a chemical irritation, like the hotness of chillies and equally appealing once you get used to it.  Pungency can be very mild {just the tiniest tingle} or it can be intense enough to make you cough.

Bitterness like pungency, is also an acquired taste.  As anyone who has ever tasted an olive right off the tree can attest {and I have tasted that... mmm not that pleasant} bitter is a prominent taste in fresh olives.  Since olive oil is made from uncured olives, varying degrees of bitterness can be found {oil made from riper fruit will have little or no bitterness, and oil made from greener fruit can be distinctly bitter} 

Fruitiness you may notice in the mouth include nutty, buttery and other ripe flavors, and a fuller spectrum of green fruity notes.  

The traditional palate cleanser between olive oils, is water, plain or sparkling, and slices of Granny Smith apple.

To store your olive oil
Unlike wine, olive oil does not mature with age - it should be consumed as fresh as possible to derive most advantage from the culinary as well as health benefits.  
When with olive oil is exposed to heat, light and air the valuable nutrients in the oil begin to oxidize and it will begin to lose its fruit flavors.  When buying extra virgin olive oil, look for those packaged in opaque or tinted glass.  
Do not store olive oil in plastic containers, as the coil can leach harmful substabces out of the plastic.
Store your olive oil in a kitchen cabinet or another cool, dark location.  Keep small container of olive oil within easy reach, and the rest of your supply tucked away to avoid repeated exposure to air.  Make sure the lids of your containers fit tightly and never store olive oils next to the stove, where it will invariably be exposed to heat.  
Olive oil should be consumed within two years of pressing.  Any longer, and the flavors deteriorate and the nutrients degrade.  Every month that olive oil ages, the acidity levels increase, a result of oxidation.  Extra-virgin olive oils have the potential to last longer than other grades because the have a lower acidity.  Check the date of pressing if there is one.  



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