Olive Oil Information

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Olive oil is one of the oldest natural ingredients in the world. Its history goes back almost 8,000 years to when the first trees were cultivated in the Syrian/Iranian region of the Middle East.

Olive oil, like wine, offers a wide range of flavours, colours and aromas that vary with the nature of the soil and climate where the olives are culitivated and type of olive used.

Olive oil is the only cooking and salad oil that offers a variety of natural flavours. These can vary from bland to peppery and can be described as mild (delicate, light and almost buttery tasting), semi-fruity, fruity, pizzico (oil with a peppery accent), rustic (hearty oil) and sweet.

Colours can range from delicate straw hues to emerald green. While dark intense colour may signal a fruity flavour and lighter colours may indicate a nuttier flavour, this is not always the case since oils are often blends of several varieties of olives. Like wines, olive oils have vintages caused by changes in growing conditions that affect colour and flavour.

Olive oils differ in quality, smokepoint, colour, flavour and aroma. Each type of olive oil has its own purpose. Genuine extra-virgin oil has the richest, deepest flavour and captures the essence of the olive itself, but isn't appropriate for every dish. Save it for salads and other cold dishes or trickle it over hot dishes just before serving so the rich flavour can be fully enjoyed. Use it in dishes such as pasta with oil and garlic, where it is the featured ingredient. Use milder oils in dishes where the flavour will be dominated by other ingredients. Their lighter nature allows the flavours of the food to come through, and they are usually preferred for sauteing and frying.

VARIOUS TYPES OF OILS AND THEIR USES

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
To recieve the title 'extra' virgin oil, this completely natural product of the first pressing of olives must achieve an absolutely perfect colour and flavour and have an acidity of less than 1 per cent.
The full aroma and flavour of extra-virgin olive oil adds authencity to a wide variety of Mediterranean cusine, inlcuding pizza and pasta dishes, and is also ideal for dressing salads. Extra-virgin has no more than 1 per cents oleic acid, while "virgin oil" has up to 4 per cent. For professionals, the less acid the finer the oil.

Pure Olive Oil
Virgin olive oil is a blend of cold-pressed virgin oil and refined olive oil that has been treated with chemicals and then heated and filtered. The colour of the oil is normally paler and flavour blander and less distinctive. Light olive oil, which has a very mild flavour, is produced from the last pressing.
Pure olive oil can fulfil all the functions of extra-virgin olive oil in recipes where a less pronounced flavour is required. It may also be used as a base for home-made salad dressings, mayonnaise and marinades.

Light Olive Oil
This specially refined oil is an innovation which, with its mild flavour and light texture, has firmly established olive oil as an everyday cooking oil.
Light olive oil retains all the health benefits, whilst it's high smokepoint and slower breakdown, compared to other oils, makes it ideal for either deep or shallow frying, stir-frying and baking.

Source: The Mediterranean Olive Oil Cook Book. By: Louise Steele

OLIVE OIL BENEFITS

The fruit of the olive an be eaten fresh, pickled or pressed for it's oil content. More than 90 percent of cultivated olives go into oil production. Olive oil accounts for just 4 per cent of world vegetable oil production, but 19 per cent of world trade by value.
It is the only oil made by simply crushing the fruit, with no additives or further treatment. Olive oil contains Omega 3 and is recognised as helping reduce cholesterol. The island of Crete has the highest consumption of olive oil in the world - and the highest number of centenarians per capita.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE

Olive oil is 100 per cent fat, has no protein, no carbohydrate, no sodium, no cholesterol, no minerals but a trace of vitamin E, which is fat soluble. One hundred grams of olive oil have a calorific value of 884. It is suitable for vegetarians and vegans as it is extracted from a fruit.

Olive Bar

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The Olive Oil Company
82 Henderson Valley Road
Henderson
Auckland
NEW ZEALAND