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Frequently Asked Questions
What is olive oil?
Olive oil is a fat. Olive oil is one of the healthiest substitutes for any fat used in any cooking recipe. Try substituting olive oil for butter or shortening in a recipe. Olive oil is a good fat unlike butter or lard. Olive oil contains absolutely no cholesterol. Olive oil contains more monounsaturated fatty acids than any other fat or oil. Olive oil is the most easily absorbed edible fat. Using olive oil in place of saturated fats as the main fat in your diet will actually reduce your cholesterol levels.
How is olive oil made?
After harvesting the olives, they must be taken to an olive mill for processing as quickly as possible – preferably within a few hours. Leaves, twigs and debris are removed, the olives washed, and then the olives are ground into a paste either using huge millstones or by mechanical means. In the traditional process, the paste is spread onto circular mats and entered into a press, which pushes out the juice, leaving the “pomace” behind. The juice is a mixture of oil and fruit water, so it’s now left to stand for an hour during which time the oil and water will naturally separate. The oil is then siphoned off to another vat where any particles drift to the bottom allowing the pure olive oil to be collected. The more modern method presses the olives using centrifuges to separate the juice from the pomace and then oil from the juice water.
What does extra virgin mean?
It is the purest and best quality olive oil. It must be made from the first pressing of the olives with an acidity of no more than 0.8%.
Can you use Extra Virgin Olive Oil for cooking?
You can cook and even fry with olive oil. When used in frying, olive oil coats food instead of being absorbed. It also contains high amounts of antioxidants and can be reused multiple times before being discarded unlike other fats and oils. You can also bake with olive oil. Just substitute the same amount for the fat called for in the recipe with olive oil. The result is moist, even textured baked goods. Check out our recipes for some amazingly delicious ideas.
What is the smoke point for extra virgin olive oil?
Smoke point refers to the temperature at which a cooking fat or oil begins to break down and produce smoke. Depending on the quality of the oil the smoke point will differ. Extra virgin olive oil with a lower free fatty acid level will have a higher the smoke point. A high quality extra virgin olive oil will typically have a smoke point above 400°.
What are Polyphenols?
Polyphenols are critical antioxidants, i.e. natural anti-inflammatory agents, found in highest concentrations in high quality extra virgin olive oil. One of the most important health components of olive oil is hydroxytyrosol, a potent polyphenol. Hydroxytyrosol can slow the aging process in the skin by stabilizing the cell plasma membrane. Research also supports that diets rich in olive oil especially those olive oils with high polyphenol levels are associated with healthier breast tissue, colon function, cholesterol levels and cardiovascular function including substantially reducing the risk of stroke. Links have been found that show that people who follow a Mediterranean diet have a lower mortality rate than those who follow a more traditional Western diet with high amounts of saturated fat.
Why does Oliana source olive oils from all over the world?
Oliana believes the best quality olive oil starts with the freshest olive oil. If you could obtain quality olive oil as soon as it was pressed, you would be months and sometimes years ahead of what is in the supermarket shelves. The olive oil season begins in early October in the Northern Hemisphere and April in the Southern Hemisphere. By sourcing olive oil from both hemispheres, Oliana has the ability to provide you with olive oil that was recently pressed. If we relied solely on the Northern Hemisphere, we could only provide you with fresh olive oil annually. Keep in mind the flavor profile and health benefits of olive oil begin to degrade soon after pressing.