MythDebunkers: Olive Oil Edition
One of the biggest parts of working at Harvest is educating people about what Ultra Premium Olive Oil is and why it is different from SupermarketOliveOil; how it’s good for you; and when it’s OK to cook with it. (Spoiler: Always.) I’d like to address this and other myths that are often put forward as fact.
Myth: You can’t cook with Olive Oil
I’m not sure how, when, or why this idea started — I like to joke that the Coconut Oil People started a rumor — but somewhere along the way, people got it in their heads that olive oil should not be used for cooking. THIS IS 100% FALSE.
The RIGHT kind of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the kind we know and love as Ultra Premium, is ALWAYS great to use for cooking! The truth of the matter is that olive oil has a smoke point of about 410 degrees, so it’s very suitable for cooking and baking. Ultra Premium Olive Oil will retain all its health benefits and taste when cooking; heating WILL NOT hurt either of these!
Sorry if it seems like I am yelling. We’re passionate about this topic as it’s a straight fallacy that has become stuck in the minds of many. There is simply no reason not to cook, bake, or even fry with Ultra Premium Olive Oil. To hear Seth and I wax rhapsodic on this, book a complimentary private party with us. We promise it will be fun, too!
Myth: All great olive oil comes from Italy
Sure, it can. Italy produces some magnificent olive oils — but so does Australia, Portugal, Spain, California, Greece, Chile, Uruguay…I could go on and on.
Great olive oil can come from just about anywhere with the appropriate climate, and the taste, while subjective, is largely dependent on the freshness of the fruit. All Harvest Ultra Premium Olive Oils are certified as such for 14 months after the crush date of the olives. Our fusti tags will tell you the crush date, and we rotate them out seasonally to ensure you are getting the freshest and healthiest oil possible. This is why we don’t always have the same oil that you purchased before — this is a good thing! You want your olive oil to be as fresh as possible.
The Southern Hemisphere crushes its olives in the spring (usually April and May) and the Northern Hemisphere crushes in the fall (anytime from September to January). You’ll see new olive oils pop into the store as the new crushes become available.
All that being said, you’re in luck if you like Italian oils: We’ll debut some new oils from the Bel Paese later this month!
Myth: Greener = better
Nope. Just nope. This is patently false. It may have been true at one point, but lack of regulatory enforcement has led to an adulteration of the Extra Virgin olive oil label; producers are able to use these widely believed myths to trick consumers. I assume this myth came from the fact that the color green in olive oils may indicate a higher level of biophenols (the antioxidants associated with olive oil’s health benefits). The problem is that some producers ignore the rules and add chlorophyll to olive oil to boost make it look more green. This practice is fairly widespread. And it’s icky.
Our Ultra Premium Olive Oils have no artificial colors, artificial flavors, or artificial anything added to them. Some are, indeed, a gorgeous clear emerald green. Some are a cloudy pea-soup green. Some aren’t green at all; we have yellow, we have tan, we have crimson. They’re all incredible products. Color doesn’t matter.
Avoiding Olive Oil Pitfalls
These are the biggest myths we encounter here at Harvest, but there are several others we could speak on. In order to ensure you are getting the freshest, healthiest olive oil, Use these tips as you shop:
- Look for a crush date, not a bottled on date nor an expiration date. The crush date of the olives is your indication of freshness.
- Try to buy single-varietal oils instead of blends. Blends may not follow the global harvest and therefore some oils used might be older than others within the blend.
- Purchase bottles in dark-colored glass bottles, not clear plastic. Light, heat, and air can negatively affect the taste and health benefits of olive oil.
- Taste it! Ultra Premium Olive Oil tastes amazingly different than the plastic jug of oil you might buy in bulk. Stop in and talk to us; seriously, folks, it’s our job and we love it. We always have at least five single varietals in the store varying from mild to robust in taste, and we are happy to take you on a personal tasting tour.
Do you have an olive oil myth you’d like addressed? Shoot me an email — I live, breathe, and dream olive oil. (Editor’s note: It’s true, she does.)