The 5 Myths You Think Were True When Buying Olive Oil

Olive oil comes in various packaging and in various gradings: extra virgin, simple, pure, even…smoked!

However, with so much information around how can someone get accurate information about what is true and what is a myth about olive oil?

We decided to give you 7 myths that most people think when it comes to olive oil:

Myth #1: Buying in bulk directly from a “friend” is the best olive oil

Not likely. You see, most people have a friend, who has a friend, who has a friend who has a friend who knows someone who produced olive oil in a remote village somewhere in Spain, Italy or Greece and he swears by the fact that this is the best olive oil you can get, if you buy in bulk – i.e. in Greece, people buy their olive oil in 17kilo tins!

However, most people don’t know that the bulkier they buy, the easier the olive oil can be adulterated – and that whoever sells us the bulk olive oil must have some quality assurance, like HACCP certificate, ISO or something that certified that the production of olive oil was in a controlled environment and it is safe for consumption.

In addition, when you buy in tins, and you leave the oil within the tin, it will deteriorate and oxidize.

So next time you want to buy in bulk, avoid the 17kilo tin – get a 5 kilo tin and immediately transfer the olive oil in glass bottles or larger plastic containers suitable for food consumption and keep it away from sunlight, strong smells like garlic, petrol or onions.

Myth #2: The small producer makes better olive oil than the mass one.

So no true. The taste and quality of the olive oil have absolutely no correlation to the size of the production.  It is true, that sometimes, large businesses may focus on the long shelf life of their oils by sacrificing tasting notes that a smaller producer may focus on, whom olive oil may lose its organoleptic characteristics faster because not all quality and security production measures have been met.

So the actual quality of the olive oil is down to how carefully the small or large producer treated the olives from harvest to milling as well as whether the milling was done in the proper temperature, and quality conditions.

How can you tell if the quality has been met and the olive oil you are buying is good?

Simple. When buying olive oil don’t just look at acidity. Look to state “extra virgin” and the time of bottling – if it is within one year, you are good to go. If not, avoid it.

Myth #3: Good olive oil never expires.

Well, truth is you will never got poisoning from a true olive oil – only when it is adulterated with other substances such as the odorless palm oil or sunflower oil. After all, olive oil has long been used as a food preserving – just look at the various types of food (from fish to pickles) that are sold in jars with olive oil.

Point is, that the olive oil must keep its extra virgin  properties – to have exceptional taste and aroma,  to be harvested early (early November) and to be milled ideally on the same day so as not to lose its taste. If all these factors are met, then olive oil can be kept and consumed for up to two years.

Myth #4: The green color in olive oil says a lot about its quality

Nothing could be further than the truth. Just drop a few green olive leaves in the milling process and you will get a deep, green colour to misinform and cheat the consumer thinking that it is superior than anything else. Have you seen an olive oil tasting? If yes, the olive oil tasters pour the olive in dark blue glasses so as snot be “affected” by the colour while tasting and deciding with no bias.

Myth#5: Organic olive oil is the best

Well, it is certainly more expensive! The truth is that organic farming is faced with hundreds of diseases that need to be dealt with non-chemical treatments – the addition of chemical treatments, fertilisers, etc produce a more sturdy, firm and healthy olive, which in turn gives higher organoleptic characteristics (sweetnesss, bitterness, fruity) of its organic equivalent. Scientists still search to find a solid answer to that and until they do, allow us to doubt.

On Friday, we will hold an FAQ with the most common questions people have when buying olive oil, so stay tuned!


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