- What is Olive Oil?
Olive oil is a natural juice, obtained from squeezing olives in the same way that other fruit juices are obtained by squeezing the fruits from which they are obtained.
- How is it obtained?
The process of squeezing extra virgin olive oil is called milling and basically consists of four parts. The grinding or milling consists of crushing the olives in order to break the cellular structures which contain the oil inside the fruit. The shaking consists of moving the olive mass resulting from the grinding with the purpose of obtaining a homogeneous paste and to ensure that the oil droplets contained in it are joined together. Centrifugation is the part where the different components of the paste; marc, vegetation water and oil are separated, thanks to their different densities. Finally, the decantation or filtering consists of cleaning the oil obtained by removing the residues from the pomace and any moisture it may have.
- How many types of olive oil are there?
Fundamentally there are two types of olive oils, the virgin ones are those obtained by physical procedures, and the refined ones which are those that come from a refining process of the virgin “lampantes”.
Within virgin olive oils, we find two types which are differentiated by their quality parameters. – The Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the best quality, it presents flawless parameters, both physical-chemical and sensorial. – The Virgin Olive Oil, can present small alterations in its quality parameters, either physical-chemical or sensorial, it is therefore a lower category oil in relation to the Extra Virgin. – Finally, Lampante Virgin Olive Oil cannot be packaged and sold to the public since it cannot be directly consumed, so it is subjected to an industrial refining process. By means of a refining process of virgin lampante oil, Refined Olive Oil is obtained, which is not sold packaged and which mixed with virgin olive oils gives rise to Olive Oil. They are industrially prepared oils with great continuity in flavor, but which may lack some elements of nutritional interest that can only be found in Extra Virgin Olive Oils.
- Which is the best?
Extra virgin olive oil, undoubtedly, because it is simply the juice of the olive, natural, obtained from healthy fruits and at its optimal maturity. It presents all the minor components of nutritional interest as well as an extraordinary composition in fatty acids. Besides, it offers a wide variety of sensory nuances, which make it unique among all oils and suitable for both raw consumption and other culinary uses. It is one of the essential elements of the Mediterranean Diet, and, according to many studies, one of the healthiest products in the entire world.
- And for deep frying?
The extra virgin olive oil is the best for that as well. Extra virgin olive oil is the most suitable, light and tasty for frying, and most exactly, Picual variety, because of its high stability and resistance to both oxidation and high temperatures.
- How many times can I use it in the fryer?
That depends on the type of oil used. Olive oils can be reused a greater number of times than those from seeds, due to their higher resistance to thermoxidation. Moreover, the conditions of frying and the food to be fried affect the number of reuses as well.
For instance, when you fry potatoes, the number of reuses will be greater as they leave no remains as opposed to frying battered or breaded food.
- Does olive oil expire?
The answer is yes. Even though this is not totally true, because they do not reach a point where they are detrimental to our health, all olive oils, from extra virgin to olive oil, are altered over time, mainly oxidizing, and can reach rancidity in prolonged preservation. The expiration time depends on several factors, the variety, the type of oil, the way of conservation in establishments and later in homes, etc. Extra virgins are, in general, more resistant than olive oils, because of several components than the former keeps but which are lost in the process of creating the latter. Finally, as a rule of thumb, the best way to keep an EVOO is in a cool environment, away from kitchen fires, and dark, away from light.
- Is color an indicator of quality?
The color does not influence the quality of an oil at all, in fact, the glasses used for its tasting are opaque in order to hide the color from the tasters. Extra virgin olive oils may appear with intense green colors and light golds, depending on the variety of olive and the harvest season. Even the same oil can change its color over time, always tending to gold, thus losing the greener shades of chlorophylls.
- What is the acidity of an oil?
Acidity is a quality parameter which is measured in oleic acid. It indicates quantity of free fatty acids, expressed in this acid. This parameter marks the alteration by hydrolysis of the triglycerides in the oil. Therefore it is indicative of an alteration in the quality of the oil, although it is not the only expression nor the most important. Acidity is used, along with other parameters, to classify virgin oils in the three categories, Extra, Virgin and Lampante.