Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Olive oil is technically a fruit juice rather than an oil. The olives are pressed to release their juices just like an orange or a lemon be pressed. Spain is the world's largest overall producer of olive oil. Italy is second. Greece is the world's largest producer of extra-virgin olive oil. Italy and Spain come in second and third in the extra-virgin race. Greece consumes the most olive oil per capita. Spain, Italy, Tunisia, and Portugal also top the per-capita consumption list. Italy exports more olive oil to the United States than to anywhere else.
It is also more expensive to manufacture compared to canola and soy oils. Like wine, complex flavors abound, depending on the growing region, olive type, and extraction methods. Indeed in some parts of the world, olive oil has a cult like following.
Despite its characteristic greenish tinge and taste, many people are conned into buying adulterated products – olive oil mixed with canola or soy. And even when buying 100% olive oil, the price variations and various claims on the bottles are very confusing to the average consumer.
Marketers want you to buy their olive oil and therefore you’ll see – pure, extra filtered, cold pressed, natural, extra virgin, and the likes. To make things easier for us, starting in October, the USDA now requires importers to abide by strict labeling guidelines[PDF]
The virgin designation means that the olives were cold pressed, and no chemicals were used to extract the oil.
Cold pressing means that no heating was involved in the oil extraction, and more of the original flavor and nutrients are available.
Despite this, from a nutrition perspective, as long as they are 100% olive oil, there is not much difference among the different brands and markings.
25 facts about Olive Oil
Olive Oil Source