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Olive Oil Myths Debunked

Serious olive oil lovers try hard to purchase the best quality oil we can get, then treat it and use it with care to make sure we’re getting it at its best.

But are all our efforts based on solid information? Can we trust what we’ve heard over the years?

It’s not that we believe popular opinion is sometimes wrong, it’s just that… Well, if you take fear of bathing, 13-inch corseted waists, shoulder pads, and low-rise skinny jeans into consideration, apparently popular opinion is sometimes wrong. Sorry if that shocks you.   

Want some real facts on olive oil?

Yes Please, I’d Like Some Facts

Myth #1. You should always look for ‘first cold-pressed’ olive oil for the highest quality.

Extra-virgin and virgin olive oils are, by definition, only produced by a mechanical process called centrifugation. There is no heat involved; pressure and motion extract the oil. What’s the difference between extra virgin and virgin then? Here are the standards set by the International Olive Council:

Extra virgin olive oil: virgin olive oil which has a free acidity, expressed as oleic acid, of not more than 0.8 grams per 100 grams, and the other characteristics of which correspond to those fixed for this category in the IOC standard.

Virgin olive oil: virgin olive oil which has a free acidity, expressed as oleic acid, of not more than 2 grams per 100 grams and the other characteristics of which correspond to those fixed for this category in the IOC standard.

The content of virgin and extra virgin oil earns it its rating.   

Myth #2. You can’t deep fry food with olive oil.

Let’s talk about the smoke point of oil for a moment. Yes, each oil has a smoke point, which is when the oil begins to break down and lose its health properties, taste, and stability. For high grade olive oil, the smoke point is around 410 degrees. Everything from corn dogs to shrimp to chicken is deep fried at temperatures between 250 and 375 degrees – all significantly lower than olive oil’s smoke point. Deep frying with olive oil is just fine.

Myth #3. Always use olive oil by the ‘best by’ date printed on the bottle.

‘Best by’ dates are based on the expected durability of the packaging, not the food within. When olive oil is packaged, its ‘best by’ date is based on when it is sealed in jars. Instead look at the harvested date of the olives and get the freshest oil you can.

Myth #4: You can tell a good olive oil by its color.

Nope, it’s not that easy. Olives produce fresh, delicious oils in all shades of golden and green. Go by taste and smell, rating and harvest date. If you are a regular purchaser, find a solid company with high standards you can trust and stick with that brand name whenever you can.

Still with us? Good. One more:

Myth #5: You can buy good, cheap olive oil.

Oh if only this were true! High quality olive oil is created by hand picking and local, same-day milling. That combined with the fact that it is an all-natural product with no preservatives means it’s going to cost more for the good stuff.

Is the good stuff worth it? Absolutely, yes! Stop by Old Town Olive and browse our selection of fine olive oils and other specialty products. They make wonderful gifts for the people you love (yourself included, of course), and you can taste many of our oils before buying to reassure yourself they are the best.



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