Saturday, February 6, 2016

Choosing the healthiest olive oil

Ojai olive tree farm in Cali
Saturday, February 6, 2016

There have been articles and exposes that the olive oil you are purchasing may not be what it says it is.  How do you decide what kind to purchase to minimize the risk that you are getting what the label says?  I would buy an organic olive oil that is extra virgin, cold pressed from an estate.  When food is grown in the USA, you have the highest confidence that it is what it says it is so American grown is a great option!

Extra virgin is oil from the first press of the olive.  Cold pressed means that heat or chemicals have not been used so the oil is as close to the olive as you can get.  Buying an estate olive oil means it is coming directly from a specific olive farm.  With their estate on the label, their reputation is on the line.

There are olive farms in California and Texas in the US.  The olive oil from our US growers are typically estate olive oils.  Many Italian olive oils are a blend of olive oils from many different olive tree farms.

You can buy from a grower you know or have visited. When visiting family in California, we took a tour of a great little family run olive farm Ojai Olive Oil.  American raised and made olive oil   It was the highlight of our vacation.  You can order from them on-line.  

Ojai olive farm-pressing room and tasting room

The next Christmas in Cali, my sister took me on a Jeep wine tour.  Many of the wineries also sold their estate grown olive oils.  Another US state getting into the olive oil business is Texas.  Here is an organic farm I ran across. American grown olive oils are out there!

You can also adopt an olive tree and get the oil from your own adopted tree.  I adopted a tree in Sicily where my grandpa immigrated from.  Nudo started an olive tree adoption program to help small olive farmers keep their farms.  You get to choose which farm you want your tree from and have your oil from that farm delivered to your door.

I have also found estate olive oils at TJ Maxx.  They get in some really fun specialty foods here.

If you just want to go to the supermarket, I buy from Whole Foods.  They check out the companies that they sell in their stores.

Look for the date that the olive oil was pressed and bottled.  You want oil that is within 1 year of bottling.  A fresh oil will have a much stronger, grassy taste, full of nutrients.  Nutrients fade with time.

A fun thing to do with your olive oil is to make herbal oils.  For tips on making your own flavored olive oil  Quick tip-make your own flavored oils   If you decide you want flavored oil, be sure to use dried herbs. 

You can grow your own tree to make your own oil if you live in a temperate area of the states.  Olive trees will also grow in pots that you can take indoors in the winter.  The pot will limit how large they grow.

You have many options on getting fresh, healthy olive oil!

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