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Olive Oil Questions, Options, Favorites


Shiva
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Not very often I use evoo except when I visit my wife's relos where I would bring a good size demijon back to the city.

Other than that I use the normal store bought tins and since olive oil was the only cooking oil available in the country since time immemorial then again I grew up eating and using the stuff anyway I do not make much fuss about it.

Evoo is often too strong to cook with as it tends to overpower and also expensive. To me Italian oil too light, Spanish and Portuguese often bitter or overrated and Greek too strong so my tendency is to use the normal average. But do not rely on store bought oil too much as a benchmark batches do vary greatly.

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My experience is that, unless you are cooking in enough oil that there is a layer of oil in the pan including exposed areas not covered with food, the whole smoke point thing is a red herring.  I've heated a heavy copper pan on full heat for 10 minutes, then thrown in a tablespoon or two of unfiltered, dark yellow-green extra virgin olive oil immediately followed by mushrooms or onions or whatever, and never got any smoking or off flavors.  So long as the food is there to suck thermal energy out of the pan through the oil, there shouldn't be any problem.  I only turn to high smoke point oils when I know I'm going to be using enough that there will be significant areas not covered by food (e.g., if I'm putting a high-heat surface sear on a single large piece of meat).

That's interesting, Sam. I'll have to try the EVOO alone at high heat.

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Actually, I wondered about Katie's statement that the EVOO "may not be olive oil". This was not hinted at in the NYTimes article.

I've written about this here before, and wanted to find my old posts, but after 10 minutes of reading search results I gave up. The issue isn't so much adulteration with hazelnut oil or other things, but the fact that "extra virgin olive oil" has no real meaning here. The term isn't regulated by the FDA (despite years of effort by the California Olive Oil Council), and as a result the vast majority of olive oil sold in the US labeled "extra virgin" is really a blend of refined and virgin olive oils.

These blends can withstand much higher heats, altho' extra virgin olive oils have smoke points anywhere form 325-375 F, which for me is plenty hot.

Anything sold in a clear bottle that's been sitting under the light of a retail store is almost surely a blend, since true extra virgin oil will turn brown after a few weeks of intense light exposure. Cheaper oils are also likely blends, and anything called "lite" is definitely a blend.

Jim

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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Now olive oil is totally up to a persons preference, I mean olive oil is just like wine, each different location/producer creates a different oil, each mix creates a different flavor, wether it be spicy, tart, tangy, grassy, ect... it really depends on what you the user wants.

I just dont find a point to use olive oil thats mixed with veg oil... what a waste, but if i had a choose an olive oil for taste and cost it would definitely be Colavita olive oil

http://www.colavita.com/oliveoil.htm WEb page

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I may be in the gutter, but I am still staring at the stars.

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As a footnote to Jim Dixon's comments, Connecticut was the first state to enact regulations for olive oils to be considered extra virgin and other classes. California has done the same by Senate bill, defining what qualifies as extra virgin and other grades. Evaluation in California is done by laboratory analysis and taste by an IOOC certified panel.

"I drink to make other people interesting".

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I am never happy with my olive oil. I think my mistake is that I actually taste it by sipping it from a spoon. I keep buying different brands and doing taste tests at home, straight from spoons. They all disappoint, being either bitter or tasteless.

I know olive oil can be delicious straight from the spoon because one day in Crete in the middle of nowhere we stopped at a small cafe and ordered salads. The tomatoes and the olive oil both shocked me. I knew tomatoes could actually taste good - I remember that from when I was little. But I had never had olive oil I wanted to drink. I was slurping it down when I thought no one was looking.

I don't know how to get the good stuff here (in southern CA). David Rosengarten had a olive oil of the month program going a while back but it was super expensive, and I didn't try it.

My husband tells me to forget about Crete, and my dream salad on the Lasithi plateau - after all, once the oil is on the salad or in the pan, it is much harder to taste the bitterness and the off-flavors. Yes, well, but....

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How does it compare? As in taste? You know the best way to find out how they compare... :biggrin: Two fresh bottles and your own tongue.

So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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Some of these selections are down right scary... and just because it says extra-virgin on the bottle or can that does not mean it is. Labeling standards are extremely loose. Olive oil production is rife with scams and adulterated products.

California now strictly regulates the use of the term Extra Virgin Olive Oil. If says it is, at least for California produced oils, that is what it is. When you taste the real thing, you will know the difference immediately.

If you have perused our website's recipes, you will know that we use olive oil for everything! For everyday oil we use a Certified California Manzanillo or Mission Extra Virgin oil. They are milder and generally higher yield so lower priced. A liter is usually abut $20.00.

For recipes that use un-heated oils like pestos and salads, and we want the taste of the oil to come through, we use Italian olive varietal based oils. In particular we like the Tuscan Leccino, Frantoio, Morino, Pendolino, and Moriola olive blends which are "grassy and peppery" in taste. These are generally more expensive, but used more sparingly.

There are a lot of producers on the California Central Coast. 2008 Season's Extra Virgin Olive Oil from the California Central Coast is in and I am hearing from the growers that the oil is of excellent quality this year.

The growers are just begin to bottle right now. If you are looking for California Certified Extra Virgin Oil you can find a list of growers at http://theromantictable.com/ccoga_list.php

Most of the growers have websites and sell over the web.

Larry McGourty

TheRomanticTable.com Food and Wine News from the California Central Coast.

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Just came across this Columela brand extra virgin olive oil from reading America's Test Kitchen. How does it compare to the Trader Joe's own olive oil? Both of them are from Spain

I saw this and bought some. As JoeBlowe suggests, I did a comparison test (chug out of the bottle) with what I had on hand. Yukky. And expensive.
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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm surprised not to have heard anyone suggest Olave organic*, from Chile. It has developed quite a following in the last few years. Very full-bodied, not a light oil. I use it for everything, including cooking. and it's extremely good with bread.

In NYC, Fairway sells Olave at $20 a litre, it's higher most other places.

On the recommendation of a couple of people on this thread I tried Frantoia and found it wanting. I'm also surprised to have heard someone here recommend Colavita . . there is no good price for mediocre olive oil.

~ beau

* their non-organic is not worth buying

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  • 4 weeks later...

From the website list of available items, there was only one listed?

For use as you require, I use Romulo XV, a Spanish oil tha costs me $45/gal. For cooking I use Colavita XV which I purchase in 3l cans by the case for the best price. The 'boutique' oils are just too pricey for percieved quality for me.-Dick

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  • 6 months later...

I won't say it's impossible, but I'm pretty sure that hydrogenation (of food-grade oils, anyway) is done in a vacuum by bubbling hydrogen (in the form of steam) through the liquid. That's an unlikely and nearly uncontrollable operation to conduct on a stovetop.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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It doesn't sound likely to me. Partially hydrogenated oils are produced by introducing hydrogen to the oil under pressure and high heat. I don't think it could happen in a saute pan without a source of hydrogen.

Edited by David A. Goldfarb (log)
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I don't know much about this source, oliveoilsource.com, but this sounds convincing:

according to Dr. A. Kiritsakis, a world renowned oil chemist in Athens, (Book - OLIVE OIL FROM THE TREE TO THE TABLE -Second edition 1998), all oils will oxidize and hydrogenate to a tiny degree if repeatedly heated to very high temperatures such as is done in commercial frying operations. Olive pomace oil and virgin olive oil are both highly monounsaturated oils and therefore resistant to oxidation and hydrogenation. Studies have shown oxidation and hydrogenation occurs to a lesser degree in olive oil than in other oils. But in any case, the amount of hydrogenation is miniscule and no home cook would ever experience this problem.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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