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What does “Extra Virgin” mean?
The process of making olive oil includes first crushing of the olive and then pressing to produce the oil. “Virgin” olive oil is extracted from the olives by mechanical means rather than with solvents and high heat.   All vegetable oils – canola, safflower, peanut, etc. – use chemicals and solvents to extract the oil unless indicated on the label.    The “Extra” in EVOO represents the absolute highest grade for olive oil.   “Extra” virgin olive oil has less than 0.8% free fatty acids (FFA) as compared to “Virgin” olive oil which can contain as much as 2%.  Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the most refined in flavor and contains the highest amount of antioxidants.

How long should I expect my olive oil to keep?
Olive oil does not improve with age.  Eventually, all oils will turn rancid but most high quality EVOOs, if stored properly, will maintain their integrity for at least one year.  Freshness provides key taste attributes and after 12 months, you will begin to lose that fresh taste.  Additionally, the vitamin E content and other health benefits will begin to naturally decrease after the first year.  

How do you store olive oil?
Olive oil does not need to be stored in the refrigerator.  In fact, extended refrigeration can result in diminished flavor and aroma.  Olive oil should be stored in a cool, dark place, preferably in a dark glass container to shield it from UV rays and light.  

What does single varietal mean?Single Varietal means the olive oil is a product of just one particular variety of olive and it is not blended with other olive crops.  Many olive oils in grocery stores are blended with harvested crops from different regions to create a mild, generic blend that can be reproduced year after year.  In some instances, oils other than olive oil are added to create a neutral taste.  For more information regarding adulterated olive oil, click here.

What determines the different flavors found in good extra virgin olive oil?
Time of harvest, technique used, olive variety, growing conditions, soil conditions  and blending skills all play a role in determining the flavor of extra virgin olive oil.  The bitterness that sometimes accompanies extra virgin olive oil is considered a positive attribute.  Sometimes classified as one-cough or two-cough  oils, these strong flavors are an indication of higher polyphenol count which translates to higher antioxidant levels.

Are filtered oils better than unfiltered?
Yes.  Particles in unfiltered oil threaten the life of the oil with spoilage.  The sediment contains microbes that decompose and produce off-flavors.  Filtering removes the risk of this type of spoilage and is a standard practice for producers attentive to quality.

What are the health benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Extra Virgin Olive Oil has been proven to provide many health benefits.  High in monounsaturated fat – the “good” fat – olive oil may prolong life by combating coronary heart disease and different types of cancer.  Up to 80% of olive oil is made of monounsaturated fatty acids which resist oxidation and help keep HDL (good cholesterol) levels up and LDL (bad cholesterol) levels down.  Additionally, the presence of phenols and other natural antioxidants in olive oil prevents the formation of certain free radicals that may cause cell destruction within the human body. Olive oil contains no salt and is cholesterol-free.   Although scientists do not consider olive oil to be a miracle food, olive oil combined with a healthy diet may help combat many ailments.

Should one cook with EVOO?
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is perfect for sauces, sautés, marinades, and vinaigrettes, in addition to being a fine finishing oil or simply as a dipping sauce for bread.  

Why is Extra Virgin Olive Oil superior to other oils?
Taste is the most obvious difference between EVOO and store bought vegetable oils.  Vegetable oil adds fat without adding taste.  EVOO adds a specific fresh flavor and with the many fused and infused flavors available, your recipes can become masterpieces.  Vegetable oils are usually extracted using petroleum-based chemical solvents and then must be highly refined to remove impurities.  Refining also removes taste, color and nutrients.  Extra Virgin Olive Oil is not processed or refined.  It is fresh pressed form the fruit of the olive tree, leaving the color, flavor, vitamins and nutrients intact.  

Can I replace butter and margarine with Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Yes.  EVOO can replace butter or margarine in any baking or cooking recipe simply by following the conversion chart listed below.  Try using our Butter Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil in your baking!

 Butter/Margarine .........Extra Virgin Olive Oil
      1 tsp................................3/4 tsp.
      1 Tbsp..............................2 1/4 tsp.
      1/4 cup ............................3 Tbsp.
      1/3 cup ............................1/4 cup
      1/2 cup.............................1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp.
      2/3 cup.............................1/2 cup
      3/4 cup ............................1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp.
      1 cup................................3/4 cup  

What is Balsamic Vinegar?
There are 2 types of balsamic vinegar, Traditional and Commercial. A quasi-governmental body in Modena, Italy (balsamic vinegar’s birthplace) regulates the production of TRADITIONAL BALSAMIC VINEGAR. The white and sugary Trebbiano grapes, grown in the Northern Region of Italy near Modena, form the base of the world’s only true balsamic vinegars. The grapes ripen on the vine for as long as possible to develop their sugar. The juice or “must” is pressed out of the grapes and boiled down. Then the vinegar production and aging process begins, initially in oaken kegs. Over the years it graduates to smaller and smaller kegs made of chestnut, cherry wood, ash, mulberry, and juniper until it is ready for sale. These woods progressively add character and taste to the vinegar.

How should Balsamic Vinegar be stored?
Just as we’ve described with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, balsamic vinegar’s enemies are light and heat, so cool and dark storage spaces are the best.