Olive Oil Properties, Ingredients and Types of Olive Oil
Olive Oil Properties – Olive Oil Ingredients – Olive Oil Types
Sun, stone, drought, silence and solitude: these are the five ingredients that, according to folk traditions, create the ideal habitat for the olive tree. We treasure extra-virgin olive oil for its nutritional and salutary virtues. Researchers reports show that extra-virgin olive oil is the most digestible of the edible fats: it helps to assimilate vitamins A, D and K; it contains so-called essential acids that cannot be produced by our own bodies; it slows down the aging process; and it helps bile, liver and intestinal functions. It is also valued for its culinary virtues and organoleptic properties as well: flavour (sapor), bouquet (aroma), and colour (colour)
Climate, soil, variety of tree (cultivar) and time of harvest account for the different organoleptic properties of different oils. Certain extra-virgin olive oils are blends of varieties of olives; others are made from one cultivar. The European Community gives the following parameters:
- Extra-virgin olive oil with perfect taste is oil of the highest quality; it has a minimum organoleptic rating of 6,5 out of 10, low acidity (1% or less), and is untreated.
- Olive oil has a minimum organoleptic rating of 5,5, a maximum of 2% acidity and is untreated.
- The production of all other olive oils involves treatments.
Extra-virgin olive oil is produced in almost all regions of Greece. The leading producers are Crete island, the Peloponnese, Mytilene island, and Chios. In Italy, Tuscany produces such a great assortment of extra virgin oils that many do not resemble each other. In Umbria (Italy), it is so widely produced that it would be hard to imagine the landscape without the abundance of olive trees. Apulia is home to an impressive one-third of Italy’s olive trees. The top location is Puglia in south Italy.
The price of extra-virgin olive oil varies greatly. Two factors are influential: where the olives are grown and which harvesting methods are implemented. Certain locations yield more bountiful harvests; consequently their oil is sold for less. Olive trees planted near the sea can produce up to 20 times more fruit than those planted inland, in hilly areas like Tuscany. It is in these land-locked areas that the olive trees’ habitat is pushed to the extreme; if the conditions were just a little more severe, the trees would not survive. Extra-virgin oils produced from these trees have higher organoleptic scores.
Olive Oil Ingredients
Thanks to its status as a spotlight food in the Mediterranean Diet, and thanks to extensive research on its unique phytonutrient composition, olive oil has become a legendary culinary oil with very difficult-to-match health benefits. Among its extensive list of phytonutrients, no single category of nutrients is more important than its polyphenols. The polyphenol content of this delicious oil is truly amazing!
The list below shows some of the key polyphenols found in olive oil, organized by their chemical category:
Types of Olive Oil
Most of the polyphenols in this list have been shown to function both as antioxidants and also as anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. The very number and variety of polyphenols in olive oil helps explain the unique health benefits of this culinary oil.
Types of Olive Oil
|Extra virgin olive oil||Extra virgin olive oil is the first press from olives & the highest grade olive oil. It has zero defects & an extremely low acidity of no more than 0,8%. It has a superior taste & a rich, fruity flavor.||Virgin & extra virgin oils are best uncooked in salads, drizzling over food (such as pasta) & for dipping breads. It is also the best oil to use in stews & casseroles. It adds harmony to dishes.|
|Virgin olive oil||Virgin olive oil must have a good taste. It is slightly lower in quality than extra virgin olive oil; it has defects from 0 to 2,5 & has acidity of less than 2%.||Virgin & extra virgin oils are best uncooked in salads, drizzling over food (such as pasta) & for dipping breads. It is also the best oil to use in stews & casseroles. It adds harmony to dishes.|
|Ordinary virgin olive oil||Defects of 2,5 – 6 and contains no more than 3,3% acidity.||Suitable for frying & baking with.|
|Lampante oil||More than 3,3%. It is intended for refining or technical use & is not fit for human consumption. technical use & is not fit for human consumption.||Not fit for human consumption.|
|Olive oil||This is a blend of pure olive oils to add flavor & refined olive oils. No more than 1% acidity.||These oils withstand heat well & are suitable for frying & baking with.|
|Crude olive pomade oil||Intended for refining for either human consumption or technical use. It must have an acidity of less than 1,5%.|
|Refined olive pomade oil||Crude oil which has been refined.||Suitable for frying & baking with.|