Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Fact V Fiction
Although there is no doubt that the world has fallen in love with the magical taste and health properties of extra virgin olive oil, it’s surprising how many myths and half truths still surround this original superfood. We at Morocco Gold are extremely proud of the knowledge and experience we have gained over recent years. Working closely with our expert team of olive growers in Morocco, we have learnt the facts from the people who know the most – and we want to share this knowledge with you, our extended Morocco Gold family.
So, just what are the most common myths about Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Myth 1/ Extra Virgin Olive Oil Matures With Age
Unlike another stablemate of The Mediterranean Diet (namely red wine), high quality extra virgin olive oil does not mature with age. All olive oils, extra virgin included, will deteriorate with age and are best consumed as fresh as possible – ideally within the first few months of purchase. To prolong the freshness of your extra virgin olive oil, it is best to store it in a dark place within an airtight container when not in use. Other tips on how to store your extra virgin olive oil can be found here and include the advice to keep it away from the fridge. If you store your olive oil in the fridge it will eventually solidify, and condensation will promote oxidation – which is not good for extra virgin olive oil!
Myth 2/ Olive Oil Has a Low Smoke Point
The ‘smoke point’ of an oil is the temperature at which it starts to smoke and break down and produce potentially harmful free radicals. Contrary to some beliefs, however, high quality extra virgin olive oil such as Morocco Gold is a great choice for many cooking methods as its smoke point is somewhere around 374 – 405 °F (190–207°C). As explained by the Olive Wellness Institute, Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains high levels of natural antioxidants. These antioxidants protect the naturally stable oil when heated, making Extra Virgin Olive Oil a very health option to cook with (including deep frying, pan frying, sauteing and oven baking). Which takes us neatly on to myth no. 3!
Myth 3/ You Can’t Bake With Olive Oil
A good quality extra virgin olive oil, such as Morocco Gold, is an excellent choice for the keen baker. Not only does it offer considerable health benefits when compared with some other fats but it also gives you baking a unique and flavoursome taste. This monounsaturated fat helps keep your cholesterol in check as well as offering a host of antioxidants that are essential for healthy living. Incorporating a more monounsaturated or polyunsaturated source of fat rather than just saturated fats. Compared to vegetable oils, extra virgin olive oil is free from chemicals and other impurities that compromise both the nutrients and flavour of the ingredient. But using extra virgin olive oil in a recipe that calls for butter isn’t quite an equal comparison. When a recipe calls for butter, you’ll want to use ¾ of that amount. For example, if the recipe needs six ounces of butter, use just four ounces of extra virgin olive oil.
Why isn’t it an even swap? Extra virgin olive oil is 100% fat while butter is only 80% fat. If you’re swapping regular canola or vegetable oil for extra virgin olive oil, it will be an even substitute.
Myth 4/ The Colour of Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is A Mark Of Quality
It seems like an obvious indicator of quality but the colour of extra virgin olive oil, say many experts, is not a reliable judge of quality or purity. Renowned Olive Oil expert Tom Mueller – writing in his book ‘Extra Virginity’ said: “Don’t pay much attention to the colour of an oil. Good oils come in all shades, from vivid green to gold to pale straw.” Taste and smell are much more important indicators of freshness and quality and – in the case of Morocco Gold – are the truest testament to the care and attention to detail throughout the entire production process.
This year’s harvest of Morocco Gold has the highest ever concentration of health boosting antioxidants (or polyphenols) at 644mg/kg and an exceptionally low acidity level of 0.2%. The end result is a multiple gold award winner for its green fresh fruity taste, with hints of sweet almonds, fresh turf and herbs.