I love reading other people’s recipes  – I’ll browse for hours through books on Italian antipasti and spend evenings on blogs about cupcakes – and I don’t even bake! Although I love it, there is one thing guaranteed to get my goat: the sometimes wild inaccuracies I read about olive oil – and from people who really should know better. I’ve been collecting these mistruths, and here, to set the record straight, are some important things to know about olive oil. These are all 100% extra virgin true:

  1. When you crush olives you use the whole fruit, the stone included.
  2. Black olives are just more mature green ones. All olives start life green.
  3. There is no olive oil that improves with age. Old olive oil is bad olive oil.
  4. You can’t tell the quality of olive oil by how green it is. Colour gives you clues – if it’s brown and lumpy, stay clear, greenish gold is a much better bet. But green oil can be produced simply by adding olive leaves to the press – and those leaves aren’t doing anything to help the flavour.
  5. There IS a point to using good olive oil in cooking. While it’s true that some of the more volatile flavour compounds are destroyed by heat, they don’t go without filling your kitchen with blissful aromas.