Olive trees grow into the most interesting knotted shapes and evoke the drawings of illustrator Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) - you'd almost expect to discover fairies living beneath bony limbs there. An olive tree, which may have been planted by Muslims in the 9th century, was recently awarded as the “Best Monumental Olive Tree”, a national award in Spain. The olive tree grows in the Sóller Valley in Mallorca and is over 6.5 meters tall. It is a remarkable construction 1,000 years old and still producing 120 kg of olives per year. That these tiny fruits have remained popular for centuries says a lot.
Because of the high portion of vitamin E and other powerful antioxidants contained in olive oil, it is usually used to replace other vegetable oils in healthy diets. Olive leaves are also well known to help reduce inflammation in the body and boost the immune system and can be used to make an infusion. The levels and quality of natural, health-promoting polyphenols found in olive oil, which are closely related to olive milling and further processing, can vary widely.
Olive Oil Fraud
It's reliably reported that 80% of the Italian olive oil on the market is fraudulent. Some experts think that percentage is an exaggeration. Others believe that the bigger problem is poor quality olive oil, deliberately mislabeled as virgin or extra virgin. In fact, the nature of the health benefits of olive oil as a cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet means that its economic value makes it a popular scam target. Practices include dilution using poor quality vegetable oils, mislabeling with false claims, and unauthorized enhancements such as added colors and flavourings. Supporting screening tools and powerful analytical methods are constantly being developed to try to stay one step ahead of fraudsters. In the meantime, how can you be sure of what you're buying?
Top Tips For Buying Genuine Olive Oil Products
Not only the matter of ensuring a return on investment, knowing that we buy the authentic olive oil means taking steps to ensure we consume the best quality food possible for the health of ourselves and our families, as evidenced from studies on the impact of 'food products' versus food on health and well-being. Although none of the following methods are 100% guaranteed, they are a step in the right direction.
Buy From The Origin
Always buy olive oil directly from the grower if it is possible. Olives grown by small, independent farmers are traded in bulk just like other counterfeit foods such as coffee beans, honey and spices. Small growers around the world without the resources to sell and market their products lose their personal integrity in the large volumes of food traded.
Buy Verified Oil
You can alway check the olive farm's geo-location label for quality. Many olive-growing countries and regions have their own authentication status, such as "Denomination of Origin" which is regulated under EEU policies. In the United States, the California Olive Oil Council (COOC) provides olive oil certification.
Choose An Oil Labeled 'Extra Virgin' (EVOO)
Extra Virgin olive Oil is the 100% pure olive juice extracted without any means of heat or chemicals. Oils labeled 'pure' or 'light', 'olive oil' and 'olive pulp oil' have been chemically refined or heat treated.
Check The Harvest Date
Make sure you use the oil within up to 18 months since the fruit is picked. Once it is opened, use it in time. Don’t leave the bottle at the back of the kitchen cupboard as an afterthought. Consuming rancid oils is not only bad for health but also diminishes in flavour.
Buy Olive Oil In Small Quantities
A larger bottle might seem like a bargain, but once opened, its quality and benefits begin to deteriorate. Always check the label and, if necessary, ask questions before buying. “The real devil is in the details, which is why so many of those details are often not even revealed. If a brand is not disclosed, it should raise a red flag. The company offers handmade products, small series. A professional importer allows you to experience oils typically enjoyed only by growers' families and local communities.
How To Use Olive Oil In Cooking
There are several ways to incorporate olive oil into your diet such as adding it to your morning smoothie and coffee or simply drinking a healthy glass of it daily. Another popular way is to use it for mild to moderate cooking methods, such as roasting tomatoes with olive oil pesto, or drizzling over soups and casseroles before serving. Single real estate oils are also well suited for marinating or dipping sourdough bread. And of course, olive oil is absolutely perfect for salad dressings.