Extra Virgin Olive Oil Facts

Extra virgin olive oil is a grade of olive oil not a flavour. Extra virgin means the olive oil's oleic acid (or acidity) level is less than 0.8 percent. (Note: Virgin olive oils range from 0.8 to about 2.5 percent.) To determine an olive oil's acidity level, a chemical analysis must be performed. Extra virgin olive oil is renowned for its great flavour, aroma and taste. It is also highest in minerals and vitamins, and anti-oxidants. Seems like a lot to digest...in the meantime, enjoy these delectable facts on extra virgin olive oil!


1. Taste it!

The best way to become familiar with the flavour of extra virgin olive oil is to taste it. Different olive varieties produce different tasting olive oils. An in-store olive oil demonstration is a great way to taste an olive oil before you buy it.

2. Reduce calories

Extra virgin olive oil does not have more calories than any other common cooking or salad oil. But because of its greater flavour and aroma, you'll probably use less olive oil in cooking than other oils, therefore helping you cut calories even more.

3. For all your cooking needs

Extra virgin olive oil is excellent for all your cooking needs: frying, sauteing, stir-frying, baking and even deep-frying. It is often rumoured that olive oil is only good for salads or as a finishing oil. Not true. Extra virgin olive oil is truly versatile. Plus it's more economical to use because it actually expands when heated, so you can use less. But you should let your own taste preferences be your guide. (Note: Olive oil does have a lower smoking point that most seed oils; best to heat at medium-high levels.)

4. Reusable

Greek extra virgin olive oil has been tested, and can be heated to 210°C (410°F), retaining its flavour, nutrients and fruity aroma while cooking. Since the olive oil does not lose its flavour at high heat, olive oil used for frying can be reused again. Filter any impurities from the oil and store in a cool dark place (kitchen cupboard).

5. No Refrigeration Needed

In a Greek kitchen it isn't how to keep the extra virgin olive oil that's the problem, it's always having enough on hand. Extra virgin olive oil does not need any refrigeration. Best to keep it in a cool place away from heat and light (in a kitchen cupboard) and in a tightly closed bottle. Olive oil is best stored in stainless steel. (Note: While you don't need to refrigerate olive oil, that doesn't mean you can't. Add your favourite spices and herbs to your EVOO or leave it as is; place your olive oil a container and refrigerate until solid. High quality extra virgin olive oil will solidify when refrigerate. Test yours out!)

6. Excellent for salads

Enjoy your salads by adding Golden Olive Eleni® certified organic extra virgin olive oil to your dressing. Try it with a little Dijon mustard or our certified organic balsamic vinegar for some extra punch. Nothing better and sure beats those overly-processed conventional salad dressings.

7. How Olive Oils Are Processed

Processing and refining methods affect the nutritional content, storage life, and safety of fats and oils. Some extra virgin olive oils are still hydraulically-processed the old fashioned way. Second and more readily available is the mechanical-extracted unrefined oils.

  • Mechanical (expeller) extraction
    An expeller crushes the seeds, nuts or vegetables in a process that raises the temperature to between 48-88°C (120° and 190°F).
  • Chemical free, no preservatives
    Our extra virgin olive oil is obtained exclusively from the pressing and centrifugation of crushed olives. The unfiltered oil is stored in large vats and left to rest until the sediment from this cloudy liquid settles naturally. The oil is then bottled without disturbing the sediment. Some feel the clearer the oil, the more esthetically pleasing; others argue that it deprives the oil of the natural flavour that is savored by chefs and homecooks alike. We do not filter our extra virgin olive oil, nor do we add any flavours, chemicals, preservatives or additives to our oil.
  • Solvent extraction
    Some oils are extracted by use of a volatile solvent known as hexane, then heated to remove the solvent. Traces of hexane, a known carcinogen, have been found in solvent extracted oils.

8. Beware Of Olive Oil Adulteration

Extra virgin olive oil is well sought after for its good flavour, and nutritional values. However, not all extra virgin olive oils are made equal. There is a trend of mixing EVOO with other seed or vegetable oils in order to get a higher price. Some brands will indicate if the olive oil is a blend or not. But often times this information is excluded for the label. While olive farmers advocate first cold-pressed olive oil (olives that are pressed once and the olive oil produced with little to no heat), big producers will press olives several times and at high heats. What does this mean? Most often, olives are watched, pressed once, and from this olive mash, comes the fresh olive oil. Big producers will add high heat or solvents to extract additional olive oil from the olive mash through subsequent pressings. This is not extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil should have an acidity level of 0.8 percent or less. Adulterated olive oils will have acidity levels close to 3 percent and higher, given their exposure to heat and other variables.



Olive Oil Cookbook

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A wonderful combination of Greek classics, treasured family recipes, and some wonderful recipes as supplied by the chefs who use our olive oil.
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