It has been rubbed on Olympians, it has been used in religious ceremony, it has even been used on some of my favorite pizzas I’m lying to my wife about when I’m supposed to be eating a salad.
Behold, the almighty olive! Well, more specifically it’s olive oil.
Since before 4000 B.C., this miracle food has been an influence on various cultures and cuisines. Possibly none more so than the great civilization of Greece. With such a long and rich history spanning philosophy, the arts, literature, and countless other examples; it is amazing how much of an impact this fruit continues to leave on the world.
Enter Malva Olives & Olive Oil, a leader in quality greek extra virgin olive oil.
When examining various oils, specifically from olives, the most common question asked is simply, “Why extra virgin olive oil?” (also known as EVOO).
Much like wine, oils range vastly in quality and purity.
EVOO is made by cold pressing the olives to produce pure oil. These oils that we love express various notes and flavors that could theoretically produce some of the world’s finest symphonies and Michelin starred restaurants (and they have).
Once EVOO is created, a lesser product can be extracted by adding heat. This becomes what is known as Virgin Olive Oil.
Additionally, there are techniques that allow chemicals to extract oil from the fruit that results in the lowest grade of oil called Olive Oil or, at times, Pure Olive Oil.
It is important to mention here that while these guidelines have been clearly defined, it is extremely important to purchase from proven, trusted brands like Malva, as the U.S. does not adhere to the standards set by the International Olive Council.
I am not a doctor, I don’t even play one on T.V.; however, one of the most notable attributes of this wonder-fruit is its many health benefits.
My personal favorite use of olive oil, like many, is on food. My kitchen stays busy whether we are hosting company, cooking a quick lunch, or just want a nice meal without going out on the town. Substituting quality extra virgin olive oil for butter in many recipes has helped my home lower caloric intake without sacrificing any flavor.
Not only stuffed full of antioxidants, but olive oil also contains monounsaturated fats. These fats are better for the body as opposed to harmful saturated or trans fats and have even been reported to help with pain relief.
Much as a great bottle of Syrah will yield a very different experience as the HEB special on a sweet red, oils have varying and intricate flavors.
Some oils will produce peppery and bitter notes. Others will convey a lighter, fruitier forward taste that can be easier on the palette. The beauty I love rediscovering in this ingredient is the joy of finding different oils that work for different recipes.
My kitchen is stocked with many different olive oils, each with an appropriate application. I may use an oil that has notes of lemon and citrus on shrimp or fish before putting it on the grill. On the other hand, if I have a beautiful USDA Prime ribeye in front of me, a stronger, peppery oil will be on deck.
Oils can also be customized and utilized in a myriad of ways by adding fresh ingredients to enhance your experience. I have infused oils with everything from rosemary to thyme to orange peels…but be extra careful when using garlic.
When looking for a truly exceptional extra virgin oil, I find that the best have a great balance of fruit, spice, and bitterness that will complement everything from apples to zucchini.
Quality is an important aspect here because if the oil is extracted at a temperature that is too high, the flavors will change and the overall product will not produce the same subtleties one may grow to expect.
Purchasing from a trusted source is paramount as the integrity of the flavors will prove to be far more robust and present.
Also note, that different oils may have different shades of colors. The color of the oil is not an indicator of that oil’s flavor.
Purity, Quality, and Care Matter
Just as different soils, grapes, and yeasts produce different wines, oils depend on their soils, the fruit produced, their previously discussed methods of extraction and exposure to various elements.
Some rules of thumb when considering olive oils:
● Never expose oils to light, keep oils away from windows or other sources of natural light.
● Air is the enemy, always keep oils tightly sealed
● Polyphenols, natural antioxidants that are contained in extra virgin olive oil, are the shielding protection for the product itself and for the consumer and assist in keeping the oil fresh over time. This has also been reported to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
● While Polyphenol is great protection, EVOO is always best when fresh, aging is typically not suggested for maintaining quality.
● Olive oils should also avoid heat. Heat should only be added during my favorite application, cooking of course!
And remember, always take the time to ensure your oils are coming from a quality and trusted source to maximize flavor.
These days, consumers are surrounded by a great deal of options, and no one has to go very far to find a variety of oils at your fingertips.
EVOOs of all kinds can be found ranging in size, flavor, and price, but most importantly also in quality. Malva has been an industry leading expert at creating some of the most sought after, award-winning greek extra virgin olive oils in the world for over 20 years!
The experts at Lakonia Imports here in Humble, TX bring the taste of the Mediterranean directly to the great state of Texas.