Three common EVOO mistakes that people make

common evoo mistakes

1 – Expiration

Expire or go bad, means it is no longer edible. Eggs, meat, and fish go bad and can make you sick if you consume them after their “best by” date, but EVOO doesn’t and this is one of the common EVOO mistakes. It naturally changes, it might lose some of its organoleptic qualities and may no longer deliver all the nutrients as before but it will definitely not cause you any problems if you consume it.

Generally speaking the shelf life of EVOO that you buy at the grocery store is 18 months from when the olives were pressed. Some EVOO will lose its intensity of colour over time, some of the aroma may fade, EVOO that was peppery or bitter at first will mellow and still be edible and good for cooking. But not in all cases.

Some EVOOs are like wine, meaning that they will improve their flavour over time: the fresh herbaceous and fruity tones can become nuttier and flowery; also the contrast of peppery and bitterness may become more balanced. On the other hand if the Evoo is improperly stored, either exposed for long periods to light or intense heat this will result in spoilage but this doesn’t happen often.

That’s the reason why EVOO has been traded for more than 3000 years in the Mediterranean by the ancient Greeks and the Romans, even if back then the quality wasn’t the same as today.

common evoo mistakes

2 – “Good extra virgin is green”

We assume that not all freshly pressed olive cultivars give an oil with an intense green colour. Some varieties, with less chlorophyll, make an oil which is naturally lighter but still excellent. Extra virgin olive oils can maintain their green colour practically unchanged over time, others can progressively vary from green to golden to pale yellow. In Liguria Evoo made from Taggiasca olives for example, is neither green, nor golden, nor pale yellow, but more of an opal colour, almost transparent. Sometimes we see Evoo in our grocery store in a clear glass bottle to show off the green colour.

This is definitely a no-no because Evoo needs to be protected from light and that’s why it’s preferable to always choose dark glass. Some producers will preserve that intense green colour by adding chlorophyll afterwards through a chemical process.

common evoo mistakes

3 – “This oil is acidic!”

Acidity is not a defect and can only be tested through a chemical process and not by tasting it. Oftentimes the word “acidic” is used in the wrong way when referring to a product that no is longer of good quality for numerous reasons. More specifically the oil may be rancid (emanating a smell similar to that of rancid cured meat such as prosciutto) it may have sludge or an oily deposit from improper filtering or decanting, it may also become winey or vinegary (in which case its like turning wine into vinegar) or perhaps even “cooked” if it has come into contact with a heat source; it may develop a musty or woody smell as well as many other defects.

But acidity as a change due to lipase or “free acidity” can only be tested in a lab. The lower the quantity of oleic acid, the higher the quality of the product.

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