Learning about the various factors that influence the quality of your olive oil can help you tremendously as a consumer. The characteristics that impact the quality of olive oil range from how the olive was grown to how the oil itself was stored following production.
When shopping for olive oil, it helps to have a good understanding of the processes the olive oil vendor went through to obtain the olive oil. Having a good understanding of those processes can help you make an informed decision as a consumer. For further insight on what factors have a big impact on the quality of your olive oil, take a look at some of the tips below.
Region of Production
Where the olive oil was produced is a major factor in determining the quality of gourmet olive oil. Realistically, some locations are better for producing certain goods than others. With that in mind, climates that are generally sunny with a considerable amount of precipitation are best for producing olive oil. The Mediterranean region is the world’s most popular producer of olive oil.
Factors like polyphenols can increase dramatically from one region to the next. The polyphenols have the biggest impact on the sensory of extra virgin olive oil. Along with polyphenols, the content of oleic acid can also be dramatically impacted by the region an olive oil originates from. If you have a particular preference regarding the specific aspects of your olive oil, it helps to know where it was produced.
It’s ideal for olives to be harvested at the peak of their ripeness. Some olive oil merchants make it so that the fruit never even hits the ground before reaching a mill to be refined. Certain olives mature earlier get harvested first. The person in charge of the mill determines the sequence of the harvest and the sequence of olive oil production once the olives reach the mill.
Before the olives are harvested, the person in charge of the mill registers the varieties, conditions, expected yields and maturity of the olives. The data helps to plan logistics for the materials needed for the harvest.
Olive oil should ideally be stored in stainless steel tanks before being packaged into bottles. The stainless steel tanks are temperature controlled. Once the extra virgin olive oil is finished being packaged into bottles. Bottles are typically stored in dark packaging.
Unlike wine, olive oil doesn’t get any better as it ages, which is why it’s suggested that olive oil gets used within a year of its pressing date. The unfortunate part is that most olive oil bottles don’t offer a date when the bottle was pressed. Olive oil that spends time collecting dust in the corner of a cabinet loses its health benefits too. In order to get the most value from your bottle of olive oil, keep the bottle stored in a cool, dim climate. Gourmet olive oil can easily go to waste when not used within a proper time frame.