| Looking After You and Your Oil
Our olive oils contain just 100% the oil of the olives, with no chemical treatment and nothing added. They are not blended with low grade or refined oils neither are they heated or chemically treated to extract more oil than the olive would give naturally.
The acidity is not artificially adjusted in anyway. Its low acidity is the natural product of oil made from the first cold pressing of olives within two days of harvesting.
These oils are all 100% natural products and very occasionally some bottles may lay down slight sediment over a period of time. This sediment is quite normal and in no way harms or changes the flavour of the oil, it occurs due to the fact that these oils are not industrially filtered or treated.
You should also keep olive oil away from excessive heat or cold.
It's actually better to keep the oil a little too cold than too hot. If it gets too cold it will return to normal at room temperature, if gets too hot it can change the flavour for ever. So don't put it in the fridge, near the stove or keep it above a radiator. The best place is in a cellar, of course, but as not many of our houses are blessed with these a cool larder or cupboard will do fine.
If olive oil is allowed to get too cold (below about 7 deg C) it may become cloudy. This is quite normal and the oil will return to its normal state once allowed to slowly regain room temperature.
You should keep your olive oil away from bright daylight too as over a long period of time exposure to too much UV light can alter the flavour.
If you treat it pretty much as you would a fine red wine you won't go wrong.
The only difference is that unlike fine chateau bottled wines that improve with age, single estate olive oils do not and you should therefore enjoy it sooner rather than later and at least within two years of when it was harvested.
Pure olive oil is an antioxidant. Substances like a-tocopherol, b-carotene and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) are generally found in fresh fruit and vegetables. Olive oil, the only oil to be obtained from a fruit, contains these properties in abundance. It also contains vitamin E, provitamin E, a predominance of monounsaturated fatty acids and balanced polyunsaturates, all of which ward off free radical attack.
As you've probably heard, free radicals can promote a wide range of symptoms most often associated with aging. These include atherosclerosis, senile dementia, myocardial infarction and ischaemic heart disease in general, inflammatory arthropathies, psoriasis and certain tumors. This is the chief damage, although many other organs and systems in the body are affected. By consuming pure olive oil, you are introducing the antioxidants at the source during the food processing activities that can cause the release of the highly reactive and unstable free radicals.
It has also been found that monounsaturated fatty acids are also superior to oils made with polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as sesame or corn oil, because the latter have been found to be favourite targets of free radicals. Clearly, the recommendation of modern scientific research tends to be to avoid overusing polyunsaturated-rich vegetable oils and to prefer intermediately monounsaturated fatty acids like linoleic acid, the chief constituent of olive oil.
In addition to being a shield against free radicals, pure olive oil also protects the lining of the digestive tract, reducing the likelihood of ulcers, and minimizing the occurrence of heartburn and acid stomach. It reduces the formation of gallstones by activating bile flow and increases high-density lipoproteins (HDL). It stimulates bone mineralisation thereby preventing calcium loss. For these reasons, and because it is palatable and digestible and aids in the assimilation of minerals and vitamins, pure olive oil is recommended for young and old people alike.
As many people know, a diet rich in animal fats raises blood cholesterol levels, which is one of the principal risk factors in circulatory diseases. That is because of the high amounts of the bad type of cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins) contained in saturated animal fats. Pure olive oil has no bad cholesterol! As mentioned before, it consists primarily of monounsaturated fatty acids. It tends to lower total cholesterol while raising the good high-density lipoproteins HDL.
To support this, comparative dietary studies have revealed that the mortality rate for myocardial infarction is distinctly lower among the Mediterranean people than it is among Northern Europeans and North Americans. This protection is not linked to genetic differences because Italians and Greeks who emigrate to America and adapt to the new eating style end up with cardiovascular diseases to the same extent as North Americans of Northern European descent.
A fallacy that also needs to be dispelled is that olive oil does not hold up well in cooking. Not true! Pure olive oil is stable at higher temperatures because of the stability lent it by the monounsaturated fatty acids of which it is composed. In addition, frying is extensively used in Mediterranean countries and is a method that, when done properly, allows the food to retain all its properties without absorbing very much oil. Furthermore, olive oil increases in volume at high temperature and so proportionally less is needed for frying.
When properly made olive oil, in its pure state, retains the fine flavour, aroma and health benefits of the fruit from which it is obtained. It is wise to protect ourselves throughout life by eating foods that lend us effective protection. Because of its balanced composition and high antioxidant content, pure olive oil is one of those foods.