Flavor defects like acid, mustiness, an off odor or taste indicate damage of some sort caused by poor handling, frost, or improper storage. Furthermore, the oil must be milled from the olives within 24 hours of picking. This ensures the top quality aroma, color, and taste. The taste also reflects the earth, the minerals in the earth, and the climate, together called the terroire.
Freshness matters! Nothing tastes like the first press of the season, called olio nuovo, new oil. To me, the oil smells very grassy, like fresh cut grass, and the finish in my mouth is a little bitter. I have spent up to $30 on a small bottle of olio nuovo. It is so worth it. It is a little bit of heaven in liquid gold.
Extra virgin olive oil has an abundance of antioxidants and polyphenols. These are good for the human body. When the body knows something is good for it, it utilizes it well. The best oils are used by the body as energy, rather than turning the oils into body fat, like the highly processed oils in junk food do. According to the Food and Drug Administration, we should eat about 2 tablespoons of EVOO a day to reduce the risk of heart disease. Of course we should eat olive oil with lots of green veggies and include movement in our approach to wellness too!
I always encourage folks to eat good fats, and the closer to nature the better. The only thing healthier than the EVOO is the olive itself. Eating the olive itself adds fiber to the mix. I use EVOO at room temperature, adding it to my salads and cooked veggies. If you cook or bake with EVOO, use it at low or medium heat, no higher than 450 degrees. Higher temperatures change the molecules of fat, and the chemistry change may not be healthful.
What healthful oils do you love?
I want to hear from you!