Flavor and taste determine the quality of olive oil. The resurgence of the use of food products used extensively in Mediterranean Diet countries has become more and more apparent in the US in the last couple of decades, in particular, olive oil. This is possibly due to the increased awareness of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and this is one product that can be beneficial to our daily diet.
Extra virgin olive oil is a much healthier dietary choice than dairy products such as butter as it has essential vitamins and minerals and significant levels of antioxidants. So, not only can the use of olive oil protect against the risk of coronary disease but can also be anti carcinogenic.
Like fine wine, olive oil comes in several varieties, each being determined and categorised by how the oil is extracted and the amount of fatty acid content. For example, extra virgin and virgin olive oil are processed only be mechanical means. However, a mixture of both refined olive oil and virgin olive oil give us the variety known simply as olive oil or pure olive oil. The categorizing of olive oil is strictly controlled, therefore allowing the purchaser to have confidence in the quality of the bottled product. Information regarding the process of olive oil labelling can be found at the website of the regulatory body (www.internationaloliveoil.org).
The flavour of olive oil can vary greatly from region to region, and the time of year the olives are picked. The flavour is dependant upon the color of the fruit and constituent levels of vitamin and minerals, the higher the content the richer the flavour and cost. Extra virgin olive oil is naturally high in these properties which and is distinguished by its intense flavour as opposed to virgin olive oil. In the Mediterranean Diet, extra virgin olive oil is not generally used for cooking but is ideally used to enhance salads and vegetables and makes a delicious sauce in which to dip freshly baked breads.
It is essential to store olive oil correctly to prolong its life. Firstly, it is important to remember the flavour and composition of the oil will spoil if kept in a warm temperature. Ideally, your oil should be stored in an area that is both cool and away from the light. Oil stored in a refrigerator may solidify to some extent but this problem can be reversed if the oil is left to stand for a while at room temperature. If olive oil is purchased in large containers it will be store if the contents are transferred into several smaller bottles or jars