5 Myths About Olive Oil
Believed to be discovered by the ancient Greeks and Romans, Olive oil has been around for thousands of years. While we would love to talk about Greek and Roman myths of ancient gods and olive oil, we are actually referring to the misinformation myths that circulate about extra virgin olive oil now.
Myth 1: You can’t fry with olive oil
This is one of the most popular myths about olive oil. The 'smoking point' is basically the temperature where there is a chemical change and oil and the ‘good’ unsaturated fat changes to ‘bad’ saturated or trans-fat. The myth that you can’t use olive oil for frying comes from the idea that its smoking point is too low. However, the smoking point is actually well above the temperature needed to fry and this frying temperature is not high enough to chemically change the olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil has many health benefits, so fry away!
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Myth 2: The colour is an indicator of quality
There are many important properties when judging the quality of extra virgin olive oil, but colour is not one of them. Yet still this myth is one that cannot seem to be shaken. Even some high-profile chefs and critics still mention colour in their judgement and some producers add olive leaves to the press to make their oil greener (yuck!).
The colour of extra virgin olive oil can be affected by multiple things including the cultivar, climate, and time of harvesting. It is not however, related to the quality of the oil. Actually, the colour of the oil should be ignored so much in its judgement that the official glasses used for professional extra virgin olive oil tasting are a cobalt blue colour so ensure it can’t be seen and the visual sense are ignored.
Do you want to know how to taste extra virgin olive oil like a professional?
Read more: Tasting with Tiziano
Myth 3: The fridge test
The myth is that if the oil solidifies it’s pure extra virgin olive oil. This comes from the fact that extra virgin olive oil is largely made of monounsaturated fats which coagulate at refrigerator temperatures, while other oils tend to be made of polyunsaturated fats which can only solidify at much lower temperatures than regular refrigerators can reach. However, as oils, including extra virgin olive oil, are a mix of the fat types, this test is not an accurate way to test this; it would only work if it was 100% monounsaturated and other oils were 100% polyunsaturated.
As the key indicator that defines extra virgin olive oil is the acidity level which needs a scientific test, there is no way to home test the authenticity of oil labelled extra virgin. You need to ensure you have a trusted source for your extra virgin olive oil to put your mind at ease.
Myth 4: There is no expiry date
This one is part true part myth. Extra virgin olive oil doesn’t expire per se, but its properties do degrade over time so it should be enjoyed fresh. It will go rancid if it is not stored properly, i.e. exposed to heat, light, or oxygen, but it won’t make you sick and it’s certainly better fresh!
Because of this, the best before date is up to the discrepancy of the producer. Supermarket oil can already be 2-3 years old when it is imported and without the harvest date on the label (which it rarely is with industrial brands) as a consumer it can be difficult to tell if it is fresh when buying it. Nudo oils are all given a best before date 18 months after bottling which is quite short in the olive oil industry, but we really want to encourage people to enjoy the oil fresh when it is at its best.
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Myth 5: Olive oil is extra virgin olive oil
It is important to understand that there is a differences between extra virgin olive oil and olive oil so you can get both the health and taste benefits.
Extra virgin olive oils are mechanically pressed and untouched by heat or chemicals, they contain the antioxidant polyphenols and health benefits that you want. Olive oils however will be chemically or heat processed to extract more oil and frequently mixed with other oils such as sunflower or canola oil. Olive oil won’t contain the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil nor the very special taste properties.
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