5 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT OLIVE OIL
Written and answered by our own Alinda van Dyk – Brand Ambassador within the Western Cape
1. ARE THE DIFFERENT STYLES OF WILLOW CREEK EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL THE SAME QUALITY?
The answer is YES INDEED! Extra Virgin Olive Oil is grouped in 3 styles and Willow Creek has all three styles of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The Styles are classified according to the degree of FRUITINESS, BITTER and PEPPER tastes.
These styles are DELICATE-, MEDIUM– or INTENSE Fruity. All three styles are Extra Virgin and therefore TOP QUALITY and TOP TASTING.
Two main factors determine the styles – the RIPENESS of the olives and the CULTIVAR type when pressed.
Use different styles with different dishes and RECIPES. The delicate oil is ideal for FISH and homemade MAYO. The intense oil can be used with rich foods like STEWS and ROASTS.
2. CAN I COOK WITH EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL?
Thorough research has proven that Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the most STABLE oil to cook with. Olive Oil is a mono-unsaturated fat with SINGLE Carbon bonds. The hydrocarbon chains of the fat molecules are shorter – therefore more stable when used at higher cooking temperatures.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil also has lower peroxide values. When peroxide values are low – it indicates that the presence of anti-oxidants are HIGH.
When Oil is heated – oxidation takes place – causing free radicals to be released. Extra Virgin Olive Oil KEEPS A HIGH LEVEL OF ANTIOXIDANTS – even when heated.
Most other cooking oils have double- and triple bonds – meaning larger amounts of free radicals. This concludes that Extra Virgin Olive Oil is best to use – as there are less free radicals released when olive oil is heated.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a SMOKING POINT of 210°C. This means that only at 210°C do the single bonds START to break-up.
It is IMPORTANT to understand the following:
If you take EXTRA VIRGIN olive oil and OTHER COOKING OILS and take both to 210°C – Extra Virgin Olive Oil will be the most stable – keeping most of its original composition.
COOKING and MONEY SAVING TIP
Due to the density of olive oil and the way it expands during cooking – you only need a THIRD part of oil compared to other cooking oil.
3. WHY IS EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL BETTER THAN VIRGIN OLIVE OIL?
Let us first look at the CHEMICAL COMPOSITION:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil:
FREE FATTY ACID VALUE: Less than 0.8%
PEROXIDE VALUE: Less than 20meq
Virgin Olive Oil:
FREE FATTY ACID VALUE: Between 0.8 and 2%
PEROXIDE VALUE: More than 20meq
Pure Olive Oil/ Lampante:
FREE FATTY ACID VALUE: Above 2%
PEROXIDE VALUE: –
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil has the LEAST free fatty acids – Defects in olive oil where fermentation or other problems occurred during processing or harvesting, is indicated by the level of Free Fatty Acids – In other words, the fat molecules are the LEAST unchanged when free fatty acids are low.
- Peroxide values indicate the presence of anti-oxidants.
LOW peroxide = HIGH anti-oxidants
HIGH anti-oxidants = LOWER oxidative stress in cells
LOWER oxidative stress in cells = LOWER risk of disease and cancer
CONCLUSION: Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the BEST option for salad and cooking
4. BESIDES MY HEART, HOW IS OLIVE OIL GOOD FOR ME?
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a MONO-UNSATURATED fat. It also has “good cholesterol” and ZERO trans-fats. Olive Oil is rich in ANTI-OXIDANTS and vitamins A, D, E and K.
So how does all of this help me?
Extra Virgin Olive Oil helps combat bad cholesterol – keeping your heart healthy as well as your arteries. Olive Oil therefore also reduces the risk of STROKES.
The polyphenols in Extra Virgin Olive Oil are STRONG ANTI-OXIDANTS. The anti-oxidants and vitamins help combat OXIDATION of body cells. When cells oxidize they AGE and BREAK DOWN. Oxidative stress in the body can lead to many forms of CANCER.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is also ANTI-INFLAMMATORY and can have the same health benefit as any anti-inflammatory medicine like IBUPROFEN.
*** HEALTH TIP ***
Cut some fresh bay leaves into small pieces. Place in a holder with Extra Virgin Olive Oil for about 15 days to infuse. Remove the Bay leaves.
Rub the oil on wrists or joints with arthritic /inflamed areas.
5. IS THE EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL COLD PRESSED AND WHAT DOES COLD PRESSED MEAN?
In ancient times olives were crushed with stone wheels. The pulp was placed in bags or on mats. The olive oil was then literally PRESSED out of the pulp. Some Old-World countries (especially in Europe) still use this method.
In modern times machinery with crushers, malaxers and centrifugal systems are used to EXTRACT the olive oil. Sometimes over-heating takes place during the process. The IDEAL MILLING TEMPERATURES should be below 28.5 degrees Celsius. As soon as the temperature rises above 30 degrees while milling, the QUALITY is affected.
What happens with over-heating?
Cells, Vitamins and anti-oxidants start to BREAK DOWN (denaturate) and health benefits are LOST.
Today the correct term used is cold EXTRACTED Extra Virgin Olive Oil as the oil is crushed and EXTRACTED mechanically.