What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)?
Simply put, Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the best quality and best tasting grade of olive oil. According to the International Olive Oil Council (IOOC), quality is determined primarily based on the acidity level (measurement of the free fatty acid content), and the positive flavor and aroma aspects of the oil. The sensory based flavor and aroma qualities, also known as organoleptic qualities are determined by an independent group of certified tasters.
First cold press. This is a misunderstood and somewhat dated term.
First: Except in the production of Olive Pomace Oil, there is no second press.
Cold: Means that there is no excessive heat used in the oil extraction process.
Press: While some traditional presses that squeeze the oil from the olives may still be in use, most producers use modern centrifuge based machines to grind the olives and extract the oil.
Keep in mind that while all Extra Virgin Olive Oil is First Cold Pressed, all First Cold Pressed oil is not Extra Virgin.
What about Peroxide Levels and Polyphenol Counts?
While not part of the determination of Extra Virginity, there are several additional tests that also help measure quality, including peroxide level (measures oxidation levels), and Polyphenol counts. Low peroxide levels and high polyphenol counts are often desirable. Polyphenols are natural compounds, many of them antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. There are additional tests to determine purity.
Olive Oil Classifications: As outlined by the International Olive Oil Council (IOOC): The level of Free Fatty Acids (FFA) is a kind of quality and freshness quotient. The lower the FFA percentage in an olive oil, the better the quality. During the process of evaluating the attributes of the olive oils, the IOOC also specifies an organoleptic evaluation (taste and smell) of the oils to help further classify Extra Virgin, Virgin and Ordinary Virgin Oils.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Oleic acid is lower or equal to .8%, and there are no sensory defects.
Virgin Olive Oil – Oleic acid is lower or equal to 2% and there may be some organoleptic defects.
Pure Olive Oil and Olive Oil– Pure olive oil is oil that failed the parameters of Virgin or Extra Virgin, and must be chemically refined. The hexane based refining process removes all of the vitamins, nutrients and polyphenols in an olive oil while removing offensive flavors and odors, leaving behind pure tasteless oil. Products labeled Olive Oil will usually contain a small amount of Extra Virgin Olive Oil added to Pure Olive Oil.
A note about the California Olive Oil Council, COOC. Producers in California who belong to the COOC have imposed tougher standards for the Extra Virgin Olive Oil classification than the IOOC. To be certified by the COOC, the maximum acidity level is .5% and the oil must exhibit positive organoleptic characteristics. Paducah Olive Oil supports the goals of the COOC, and will not offer Extra Virgin Olive Oils that exceed the COOC standards.
What is Balsamic?
Originated from Italy, this condiment is an aromatic, thick, dark, syrup-like aged type of vinegar, prepared by the reduction of cooked grapes. Balsamic vinegar, though popularly referred to as wine vinegar is not made from wine, but is prepared from grape pressings, whose fermentation process has been hindered. The best balsamic vinegar is prepared in the hills of Modena, in Italy, where unique and flavorful balsamic vinegar is formed. This vinegar is known to be a cut above the other types of vinegar. Unlike the sharp taste of vinegar, balsamic vinegar has a rich, sweet flavor. You need to taste it to believe it!
Italians have been relishing balsamic vinegar for centuries, however, the American palate has been able to savor this only since the past two decades. Today balsamic vinegar is one of the most popular condiments available in American grocery stores and is used in various sauces, marinades, salad dressings, dips, desserts, etc. The popularity surge of this dark, syrup-like condiment is not only because of its remarkable taste, but balsamic vinegar health benefits also play a major role in adding points to the popularity chart.
What are the health benefits of Olive Oil?
Here are some health benefits as follows:
- The best form of dietary fat you can use
- All natural – no chemical processing to make it edible
- Lowers cholesterol – High in anti-oxidants and monounsaturated fat
- Contains no cholesterol
- Has anti-cancer properties. High in antioxidants
- Excellent source of Co-Q 10
- Small amount before meals lowers appetite.
- Tastes great. You will want to eat more healthy salads.
According to an article published in the Huffington Post by Dr Leo Galland titled “Olive Oil: A Natural Painkiller?” –
Extra virgin olive oil can contribute nutritional support in the fight against such health problems as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, and in pain management.
A research study from Spain has shown that higher olive oil consumption is associated with leaner body weight, an important factor in prevention of chronic conditions.
Another study from the universities of Navarra and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain looked at how diets including olive oil might offer protection against depression: Bad Fats Linked to Depression
Natural Painkiller Discovered in Olive Oil
Recent research has identified the antioxidant called oleocanthal, which is only found in extra-virgin olive oil. Scientists at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, in Philadelphia, found that oleocanthal in olive oil has a potency strikingly similar to that of the drug ibuprofen in inhibiting the cyclooxygenase (Cox) enzyme that causes pain and inflammation. Their findings were published in the science magazine Nature.
Given the side effects of common pain relieving drugs, finding a nutritional way to reduce pain and inflammation could be a solution for people suffering from pain.
In another study Italian researchers explain that the characteristic pungent and bitter taste of virgin olive oil have been attributed to phenols in the oil that have potential antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, chemopreventive and anti-cancer benefits.
Research on Health Benefits of Olive Oil
At the meeting of the “International conference on the healthy effect of virgin olive oil” that took place in Spain in 2005, numerous benefits of virgin olive oil from the research were outlined. They looked at the consumption of olive oil from the perspective of issues such as cardiovascular health, cancer and longevity. With respect to anti-aging they noted: “The more recent studies consistently support that the Mediterranean diet, based in virgin olive oil, is compatible with a healthier ageing and increased longevity.”
Consumption of olive oil has been associated with:
- Reduction of total cholesterol and an increase in the high-density cholesterol (HDL-C), which has a protective effect on blood vessels.
- Improved sensitivity of cells to insulin, which helps to prevent the Metabolic Syndrome. Preventing Metabolic Syndrome is important, because the syndrome increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
- Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s disease.
Potent Antioxidant Power of Olive Oil
Phenolic compounds are potent antioxidants found in virgin and extra-virgin olive oil. These compounds give unrefined olive oils their distinctive flavors and high degree of stability.
Studies indicate these compounds may be able to:
- Turn off the activity of genes that produce the kind of inflammation that causes coronary heart disease.
- Decrease production of inflammatory chemicals called thromboxanes and leukotrienes.
- Decrease the production of the most damaging form of cholesterol, oxidized LDL cholesterol.
- University of South Australia researchers note that compounds from the olive were found to be antimicrobial against various bacteria.
What are the health benefits of Balsamic Vinegar?
- Reduced risks of heart diseases
- Reduced risk of cancer and other infectious diseases
- Decelerates the aging process
- Controls diabetes
- Assists in digestion, etc.
Balsamic vinegar retains most of the nutrients present in the parent grapes and comprises nutrients like iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium in adequate amounts. Thus, incorporating balsamic oil in the daily diet will benefit one immensely. Let us look at the different balsamic vinegar health benefits.
Oxidation reactions taking place in the human body to produce energy, conduce to formation of cell damaging free radicals as natural by-products. Free radicals damage cell membranes and manifest themselves in terms of premature aging, hardening of arterial walls and cancer. Antioxidants from balsamic vinegar destroy these free radicals and prevent cells from being destroyed.
The grapes from which balsamic vinegar is formed is known to contain a bioflavonoid called quercetin, which has antioxidant properties. Along with vitamin C, this antioxidant strengthens the immune system to fight cancer and other infectious diseases and inflammations. Balsamic vinegar also contains polyphenols which are anticancer agents.
Reduces Risks of Heart Attacks
Balsamic vinegar is low in saturated fat and is believed to reduce cholesterol. Moreover, since it is low in sodium, it enhances heart health and reduces high blood pressure.
Research reveals that consumption of at least 5 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar a day enhances insulin sensitivity. The greater the insulin sensitivity, the better the diabetescontrol.
Natural Pain Reliever
In ancient times, folk healers used this vinegar to relieve people of their body pain. Moreover, they also used balsamic vinegar to treat wounds and infections. The anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties in the vinegar healed wounds.
The polyphenols in balsamic vinegar stimulate the activity of pepsin enzyme in the body. Pepsin is a digestive enzyme, which helps break proteins into smaller units (amino acids). Moreover, these polyphenols also assist the intestine in absorbing amino acids expeditiously. Efficient amino acid absorption enables the body to utilize it for cell building, repair and other body maintenance work. Thus, balsamic vinegar aids the digestion process.
Read more on: Besides these balsamic vinegar health benefits, this vinegar also reduces the frequency of headache inceptions, strengthens bones (calcium absorption), energizes the body, slows down aging process and prevents anemia. It also helps in weight loss by suppressing one’s appetite. Authentic balsamic vinegar would have been aged for a minimum period of 3 years to a maximum period of 100 years. The longer the aging process, finer the vinegar quality. However, commercially produced balsamic vinegar produced in a few hours is also available in the stores.
Are Paducah Olive Oil Co Oils and Vinegars Gluten Free?
Yes, both are 100% guaranteed gluten free. Our Balsamic Vinegars do not contain gluten or any gluten containing additives.
Are there any additives, or added sugars in your Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinegars?
No. All of our oils and vinegars are naturally flavored with no additives. Our oils may be infused, or they may contain herbal or citrus oils or other natural flavors. All of our flavored Balsamic vinegars contain either fruit juice, or other natural fruit flavors. There is no added sugar, except that a small amount of sugar is used to make the dark chocolate (cocoa and sugar) that is in our Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar.
What is the Shelf Life of Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinegars?
For absolute best flavor, our oils should be used within 1 year of purchase. They may last longer than 1 year, but the flavor may be diminished. For Balsamic Vinegars, most producers recommend to use flavored vinegars within 2 years. Again, over time the flavors may diminish, but the vinegar itself will remain good even after this time frame.
Can I infuse this oil with fresh herbs?
We would highly recommend caution when infusing oils. Improper preparation can be hazardous, even fatal. Several people have become ill and some have died as a result of consuming homemade garlic infused olive oil and food prepared with homemade garlic infused olive oil. Homemade infused oils can pose food safety risks, and won’t last nearly as long as our flavored olive oil selections. Besides, our flavored Olive Oils consistently taste better and cost the same as unflavored Extra Virgin oil, and will ultimately last much longer than home prepared oils.
What are some ways I can use Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinegar?
Balsamic vinegars are excellent for cooking, marinades, sauces, and salads. And of course shrubs! I’m on a mission to show everyone that you can have delicious sparkling drinks that are actually healthy. Adding a little or a little more to sparkling water makes an extremely refreshing drink. And a big bonus: No added sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavors!
To make a simple dressing mix your favorite combination of olive and balsamic. I personally like 2-3 parts oil to 1 part balsamic. But some like more balsamic. Experiment with smaller amounts to see how you like it best!
You can also add a teaspoon of prepared Dijon mustard and some minced shallot or garlic, some herbs and seasonings for a little extra! Serve, and refrigerate unused dressing for up to a week.
Great when used on salads and in vinaigrettes. Also, use it for bread dipping or finishing a pasta dish. Great when used in marinades or brushed on meats and fish before grilling. Sauté and roasting vegetables or toss veggies in olive after cooking.
Can I Cook with EVOO?
Of course, just watch your cooking temperature and try not to exceed 325-350 degrees. If you overheat Extra Virgin Olive Oil it will burn and ruin your dish. As you can imagine, there are many acceptable cooking uses for EVOO. I personally use olive oil exclusively for my all my cooking and baking. I haven’t deep fried anything in years. And, even though some newer studies prove that olive oil can be used for deep frying, I wouldn’t recommend it. Excessive heat and too long at high temperature will kill the exquisite flavor of the premium quality olive oil. Be sure to check out our recipes!
Can I substitute olive oil for butter?
There’s a reason our butter olive oil is one of our best sellers! Made with herbs and botanicals to give you a buttery flavor without dairy. So if milk’s not your thing, we’ve got you covered! I use it for frying eggs in a small cast iron skillet almost daily. It’s great for popping corn or mixed with other flavors for something a little extra! I also use it in my baking. It’s so flavorful that I use only ¼ cup and fill the remaining amount up with Almond Oil.
Use this chart to convert the quantity of butter called for in a recipe to the required quantity of olive oil.
|1 teaspoon||3/4 teaspoon|
|2 teaspoons||1-1/2 teaspoons|
|1 tablespoon||1-1/2 tablespoons|
|2 tablespoons||1-1/2 tablespoons|
|1/4 cup||3 tablespoons|
|1/3 cup||1/4 cup|
|1/2 cup||1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons|
|2/3 cup||1/2 cup|
Do I need to refrigerate my Balsamic Vinegar?
It is best to keep the balsamic away from direct heat or light. Due to the acidic content of vinegars it is self-preserving and does not need refrigeration.
How should I store my Olive Oil?
EVOO should be stored in a closed container, in a cool location away from heat or light. Do not store near the stove or in direct sunlight. You may refrigerate your oil for long term storage, but cannot use it directly from the refrigerator as Extra Virgin will usually solidify at refrigerator temperatures. If you do refrigerate, remove and let it set at room temperature for 30 minutes prior to opening bottle.
Why is there a discoloring in my white balsamic? What is Mother in Vinegar?
There are no added to our vinegars. They are 100% natural. As a result, you may notice the development of a white stringy substance in the bottom of the bottle. This mass is called “mother of vinegar” and will naturally occur in vinegar products over time. It is mostly cellulose, a natural carbohydrate, which is the fiber found in the juice or wine used to make the vinegar. Vinegar containing a “mother” is not harmful or spoiled. If you find it objectionable, “mother” can be removed by filtering with cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Thankfully, I’ve only experienced this once. And it was a in vinegar that I no longer carry.
Why is my Olive Oil Cloudy?
Olive oils may be cloudy for several reasons. If the EVOO is cloudy it may simply be unfiltered oil and what you are seeing is olive pulp that has not had time to settle. Over time, this pulp will settle to the bottom of the bottle. If your oil has solidified during shipping in cold weather, allowing it rise to room temperature will generally clear up the cloudiness. If after coming up to room temperature there is still some residual discoloration, you may warm the oil in a warm temperature water bath to completely clarify it. Use caution and do not use hot water, as this could affect the quality of your oil. Your oil is not harmed by cold or freezing.