Olive oil color & quality
“Color is an indicator of age, but not quality”, Zdenka continues. Freshly pressed olive oil is dark in color and will get subsequently lighter during year two and three. Variety, maturity & how the oil was derived from the olive are the most important factors determining quality & flavour.
Harvesting season begins at the end of October until mid January and ten kilograms of olives will yield about 1 liter of oil.
If possible, Zdenka recommends to purchase olive oil directly from a producer or a distributor whom you trust as mixing olive oil with other vegetable oils and then selling it as 100% olive oil unfortunately is very common in the commercial industry.
“Panched olive oil, even to 50%, cannot be detected by taste”, says Zdenka. One test, however, if you put olive oil in the freezer (which won’t affect quality, nor does refrigeration), the faster the oil freezes solid, the more likely that it is pure olive oil.
Extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin is the highest grade of olive oil. It is unrefined and contains more nutrients compared to other processed varieties. It is pure fruit juice, so to speak.
Unfortunately, there is no set standard or certification in many parts of the world and much mislabelling is happening, even in some well-known brands. California is one of the few regions that has a state law regulating the term ‘extra virgin’ olive oil in terms of purity.
History and mythology
Olive trees are among the oldest known cultivated trees in the world, long before language was written down!
Native to Asia Minor, olive trees & culture spread from Iran, Syria and Palestine to the rest of the Mediterranean basin 6,000 years ago, then carried over to the early Greeks and Romans, who brought olive & oil with them in sephoras wherever they went. In more recent times, the olive tree spread to North and South America, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.
The Greeks anointed athletes with olive oil and there are many references in several world religions to the olive and the oil. The Garden of Gethsemane means “oil press”.
Olive oil for health and skin
It is said that just a drop or two of extra virgin olive oil on a cotton pad is all it takes to gently and effectively remove eye makeup without irritating the delicate skin around the eye area. If used consistently, maybe olive oil can soften the skin around the eyes and smooth out wrinkles, too?
Research has determined various health benefits of olive oil which are destroyed to a great degree when the oil is heated, especially to smoking point. As with so many other fresh products, olive oil’s beneficial nutrients are optimally maintained when eaten raw, e.g. in salad dressings or drizzled over appetizers and cooked food.
Croatian olive oil wins gold medals
Out of 45 entries at the 2018 Official Index of the World’s Best Olive Oil, Croatian farmers won 40 awards for their olive oil entries.
This 89% success rate compares favourably to a success rate of between 32% and 62% of farmer entries’ from countries such as Italy, Greece and Spain.
Maybe you will soon see (or ask for) one of these award winning Croatian brands of olive oil in your local grocery store. Here the link to the 2018 Official index winning brands: https://bestoliveoils.com/country/croatia