04 Apr

Quality olive oil worth its weight in taste, nutrients

By Linda Hoffman,

Olive oil is delicious and healthy, containing a monounsaturated fat, needed antioxidants and enzymes.

We need to look for expeller first cold pressed oil, which means it has been produced without damaging heat and chemical solvents. The term “extra virgin” by itself is no longer sufficient to guarantee quality, as some imports have been diluted with other oils, less carefully produced and less stable. Buy it in a quantity you can use fairly quickly, or store it in the refrigerator to prevent rancidity.

The best oil comes from perfectly ripe olives and has a fruity or spicy flavor, sometimes nutty or herbaceous, depending on where the olives have been grown.

The trees are about 35 years old before they produce olives, developing more subtlety and flavor with age. Old olive trees, like old grapevines, are venerated, and flavor and quality differ from one year to the next.

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