What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
The term “Extra Virgin Olive Oil” is worded very specifically. It is a classification of olive oil. In order to be called Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), the product needs to have been cold-pressed, one time. It needs to never have been heated or refined in any way, and it must not have any additives or have any other kinds of oils mixed in with it.
When fresh, EVOO has a flavour profile specific to each species of olive tree that was harvested to form the oil. Its flavour can typically be described as grassy, fruity, or even floral, with a bitter characteristic, and then a peppery aftertaste. For more on EVOO tasting techniques, please scroll down.
When combined with other foods or ingredients, EVOO acts as an flavour-enhancer, richly provoking the natural flavours in food. It is a favourite among chefs due to its stability when cooking; many chefs choose to fry in it, and then add butter for flavour if desired, as the EVOO stabilizes the butter and increases its smoke point when cooking. From garden-fresh veggies, to bread and cheese, to pasta and sauce, meat and more, EVOO is a wonderful pantry item, pleasing to any palate.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a smoke point of 410F according to the most recent study conducted by the International Olive Oil Council. That is approximately med-high heat on your stovetop. EVOO does not break down and form carcinogens, even if its smoke point is exceeded.
A note on how to cook with olive oil, from The International Olive Council (2013):
"Olive oil is ideal for frying. In proper temperature conditions, without over-heating, it undergoes no substantial structural change and keeps its nutritional value better than other oils, not only because of the antioxidants but also due to its high levels of oleic acid. Its high smoking point (210ºC) is substantially higher than the ideal temperature for frying food (180ºC). Those fats with lower critical points, such as corn and butter, break down at this temperature and form toxic products." Click here to read more.
How are the EVOOs Flavoured?
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, by definition, must have absolutely no additives. Once a flavouring has been added to an EVOO, it must only be called a flavour-infused olive oil, in order to protect the EVOO term.
So, at Prairie Oils & Vinegars, we stock EVOO, as well as a huge selection of Infused Olive Oils. The Infused Olive Oils are based on the most mild EVOO of that season's harvest, so that the flavourings shine through. Our ingredients in our flavourings are so simple, they are usually reflected right on the fusti label.
For example, Lemon Olive Oil includes a mild Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a pure lemon extract. Chipotle Olive Oil is chipotle peppers steeped in EVOO, and then sieved out. Any of our Infused Olive Oils flavoured with extracts mean they are using the natural oils extracted from the flavouring-ingredient through expression or maceration, not through chemical processes.
Our only misleading label is our Butter Olive Oil, which actually has no butter in it. It is vegan-friendly and dairy-free, making it a perfect choice for those with lactose-free needs. It is made using a patented plant that actually makes the EVOO taste very much like melted, unsalted butter. We invite you to stop in and try it!
Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil Healthy?
Yes, it is! In fact, the healthful properties of this remarkable substance are substantial. It is a healthy source of fat, lowers bad while upping good cholesterol, rejuvenates and protects our skin, possesses pain-reducing anti-inflammatories, and much more. So it can be an excellent choice to add to our diet!
Our supplier for our vinegars and most of our oils is a company called MillPress Imports.
MillPress Imports is a privately held, family-owned and operated business primarily focused on sourcing, importing and bottling the finest lots of fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil and vinegar products. Leveraging their deep industry expertise, their team is on the cutting edge of agriculture, product testing, organoleptic ratings, food safety and manufacturing.