Olive oil selection

Apr 16, 2024 | Blog edition

OIL AND FOOD

PAIRING

OLIO is the extra virgin to be used raw or for cooking in the kitchen. Its versatility depends on the equilibrate taste that comes from a strong harmony between bitter and spicy. People are captivated by the flowery smell where notes of tomato and aromatic herbs stand out. The palate is conquered by almond notes and especially  by the hints of freshly cut grass . To the taste you are pleasantly surprised at the end: a spicy and lightly bitter aftertaste. Oil is the ideal ingredient to enhance white meat based dishes, salads, vegetables, steamed and boiled fish,fresh cheeses like mozzarella or ricotta, pinzimoni and hot bruschetta with homemade bread.

The characteristics of a quality extra virgin olive oil

A quality oil can only be obtained with an excellent raw material, that is, with good olives. The harvest should be carried out by hand, while anti-cryptogram and chemical treatments should be avoided: this is the reason why it is desirable to prefer oils that boast an organic certification. The olives must be harvested at veraison, and attention must be paid to excessive ripening; in general, it should be remembered that the characteristics of the product worsen the more stressful and long the milling process becomes. Finally, it is essential that the pressing is carried out cold.

The peroxides

When talking about oil, it is important to know about peroxides. What is it about? Very simply, they consist of oxidative alterations which represent a symptom of the aging and degradation of the oil. As time passes, a natural increase in peroxides occurs, which results in rancidity; Thus, products are formed that make both the smell and the taste less pleasant. This explains the reason why, when the oil is put on the market, the peroxide level must be as low as possible. This value is also regulated by law, which provides a maximum value of 20.

How to recognize a quality olive oil

As regards acidity, the law establishes that it cannot be higher than 0.8%, although it would be desirable if, from a quality point of view, the acidity reached a maximum of 0.4%. Polyphenols are also very important, as they are reduced as the oil ages. Polyphenols are nothing more than antioxidants, substances that help prevent numerous diseases, including atherosclerosis and tumors, as well as slowing down aging. It is clear, therefore, that the higher the polyphenol content, the more the beneficial properties of the product increase. Furthermore, polyphenols cause the oil to age more slowly.

Visual evaluation

A visual check of the characteristics of the oil allows you to understand its strengths and weaknesses. So how to do it? Simply pour a modest amount of product into a glass and then check whether it is fluid: just swirl it along the walls of the container. The best oils are characterized by reduced fluidity, while the more fluid ones have a high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, as is the case with seed oil.

The olfactory test: here’s how it’s done

Another evaluation that should be carried out is the olfactory one. To proceed, the oil must have a temperature between 27 and 28 degrees: simply warm the glass with your hands. At this point, you cover the glass with one hand and then uncover it, to inhale deeply. In this way it is possible to realize the various scents that come from the product, with aromas that, depending on the case, can be very intense or barely perceptible.