The olive harvest is underway in Italy as we speak, and what happens there has a critical impact on what we taste here. Take a look at the two olives sliced open in the photo. The one on the left was sliced two hours prior to the one on the right. Notice the discoloration; in just two hours, the olives are already starting to break down and acidify. This shows why it is critical to get the olives harvested properly and pressed in a short time.
The “acid” test for olive oil: it must have an acidity level of less than .8% to qualify as extra-virgin. That validates that the olives were properly harvested and pressed. The problem in the US? “Extra-Virgin” is a marketing term (whether you’re a southern belle or a bottle of olive oil). To really know whether you’re getting extra- virgin olive oil, you have to know your producers and suppliers (like us!). Why do we want extra-virgin olive oil? Health benefits (lower cholesterol, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory) and better taste. (more…)