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Product Information

Olive Oil Classifications

There are three main types of olive oil found on Australian supermarket shelves. Look carefully at the labels as they are not necessarily arranged together, and different types of the same brand may have very similar labels. 
Extra Light: 
This is a refined oil which is very light in colour, odour and taste. It is suitable but not recommended for making cakes, biscuits, pastry, desserts and other foods where you require very little olive flavour. It is not light in kilojoules having the same number as the other types of olive oil, 485kj (115 calories) per tablespoon. This oil is a good starting point if you want only a hint of olive taste.
Olive Oil: 
This is the middle of the range oil which can be used as an all purpose oil in salad dressings, sauteing, stir frying and deep frying. This is sometimes called 100% Pure olive oil but that term is being used less and less. This oil can also be a blend of refined oil with some virgin oil and has a mild olive flavour.
Extra Virgin: "THE BEST" 
This oil is the top of the range in terms of health benefits, and amount of fruity olive flavour. This should be the main olive oil consumed.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is made from perfect olives crushed as soon as possible after harvest and processed without the use of excessive heat, thus maintaining the flavour, aroma and health benefits of the olive fruit. These oils are sometimes called "cold pressed"
To make the grade of Extra Virgin, the oil must have an absolutely perfectly balanced flavour and aroma with a free acidity level less than 0.8%. There are other types of virgin oils but these are not as common in Australia, Extra Virgin accounts for most of the olive oil produced in Australia.
Olive Pomace Oil: 
Another type of olive oil sometimes available in the food industry is Pomace Oil. This is a blend of refined olive pomace oil with a small amount of virgin oil. Pomace is the residue left behind after virgin olive oil is made, consisting of the pulp, skins and stones of the olive. It consists of about 4% to 10% oil which is usually extracted with the aid of solvents.

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Olive Oil

Olive oil, the world's most eaten mono-unsaturated oil, has been enjoyed for many thousands of years around the Mediterranean. Not only does it taste good, but there is a mass of evidence that a diet based on olive oil can promote longer life and may prevent some of the diseases associated with our usual western eating pattern.

In recent years, medical researchers have turned their attention to the virtues of the Mediterranean style of eating and to olive oil. On closer inspection, this ancient oil has proven to be more than just a source of mono-unsaturated fat. It is also a rich source of antioxidants - substances now attracting great scientific attention. 

Is colour important?

The colour of olive oil is dependent on the pigments in the fruit. Green olives, harvested early in the season, give a green oil because of the high chlorophyll content. Ripe olives, harvested later in the season, give a yellow oil because of the carotenoid (yellow, red) pigments. The colour of the oil is influenced by the exact combination and proportions of pigments.

How long does olive oil last?

Olive oil does not improve with age like wine. A peppery oil will sometimes mellow a little, but olive oil can oxidise and become rancid under the best storage conditions in a few years. Air, light and heat are its enemies. Store your oil in dark containers, in a cool cupboard.

Rancidity is the most common fault in olive oil. It causes the oil to smell "stale walnuts" and have an off taste with little or no fruit flavour.

Olive Oil in Asian Cooking 

Using olive oil in Asian cooking is not new, it is suggested that olive oil probably first made its way from Portugal around the Cape of Good Hope to the spice-rich Goa with Christian missionaries in 1510.

The splendid tasting Japanese tempura, an exquisite dish of seafood and vegetables deep fried in batter, was introduced in the 16th century by the Portuguese. It was probably cooked in olive oil. Now as more Asians discover the health benefits of using olive oil, they are doing away with the traditional fats often associated with the cuisines of Asia.

In Australia, almost 3/4 of the population regularly use a wok. Many have found that they can happily use the milder flavoured olive oil to make a healthy stir fry. Any type of olive oil can be used in place of other fats in most Asian recipes. 

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History Olive Oil

To the Ancient Greeks, the olive tree was a gift of the gods. According to the Homer, who lived in the eighth century BC, it gave us 'liquid gold'. Three centuries later the Greek dramatist Sophocles (ca. 496-406 BC) lauded it as 'the tree that stands unequalled'. For many it yields the fundamental ingredient of their daily diet. They are the lucky ones, for recent research has indicated that olive oil is something of a prevention or even a cure for today's plagues of heart disease and cancer.

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