The large majority of olive oil that is imported into this country is fake. That’s right, fake. Olive oil is the most highly adulterated food product coming out of Europe and experts estimate that between 70-80% of the oil that is on store’s shelves today is made up of oils that have been treated to taste and look like the real deal. Here is a cheat sheet of the 5 essential things you must know when you are buying Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
1: Know the harvest date. When you know when the oil was pressed, you know approximately how long it will be good. Unlike wine, olive oil doesn’t get better with age. The highest quality oils (like the ones Mountain Town Olive Oil sells) will be good for approximately 12-18 months after harvest. Best by dates are not a good indicator… always look for the harvest date.
2: Dark bottles — if your oil is in a clear bottle, stay away from it! Dark bottles protect the oil from light and heat. Keep your oil away from the stove or windows. Store in a cool dry place, like a pantry. Don’t store it in your refrigerator.
3: Look for a nutritional facts panel. High quality olive oil should be very high in monounsaturated fat and low in saturated fats. Monounsaturated fats have been proven to reduce blood pressure and high cholesterol, among other things, so be sure to know what kinds of fats you are consuming!
4: Good olive oil should taste fresh, grassy, with a little bit of pepper. If your oil tastes greasy, like you’ve eaten a pat of butter, it probably isn’t real olive oil. If you feel a burning sensation on the back of your throat, that’s a good thing. That is the anti-inflammatory property that make olive oil so good for you. If you were to chew an advil tablet, you would experience that same burning sensation.
5. High quality EVOO is full of anti-oxidants that help fight heart disease, high cholesterol, can reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke and help reduce inflammation. Adding a couple of tablespoons of fresh EVOO to your diet can do a world of good for your overall health so make sure that what you are buying is the real deal and not fake.
Bonus tip: if you can buy from a local olive oil store, that is best. You will usually be able to find single varietal olive oil that you can taste before you buy. The store can tell you about the oil, where it was pressed, tasting notes, and more.