Frequently Asked Questions

  • Olive Oil Terms and Characteristics

    • Q: What does "Extra Virgin" mean?

      Traditionally produced "Extra Virgin Olive Oil" (EVOO) is made from the first pressing of the olives; it is, essentially, the juice of the olive. Technically, "extra virgin" is a grade of olive oil, usually indicating the highest quality oil that is distinguished by its naturally low levels of free oleic acid. To qualify as "extra virgin," an olive oil must have a free acid count of less than one percent.

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    • Q: What does "first cold pressed" mean?

      First cold pressed olive oil is from the first round of extraction from fresh, intact olives. It has not been heated during processing and therefore retains its full nutritional value.

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    • Q: Is "cold pressed" olive oil better?

      Yes, "cold pressed" refers to the technique used to extract the best oil from the olive. To get the highest quality oil, the presser cannot use any heat. Cold pressed olive oil is of superior quality because it retains not only all of its sensitive aromatic properties, but also the antioxidants and nutrients that are often diminished by the high-speed machinery and elevated temperatures used in modern oil extraction methods.

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    • Q: Does the color of olive oil indicate quality?

      Not at all. An oil’s color mainly indicates the level of chlorophyll in the olive when it was picked. Early harvest olive oils, for example, are made with young olives that yield a greener color. Late harvest olives generally produce oil with a buttery, golden hue.

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    • Q: Does olive oil improve with age?

      Unlike wine, olive oil does NOT improve with age. As olive oil gets older, it gradually breaks down, the acidity level rises, and flavor weakens. Extra virgin olive oil keeps better because it starts with a low acidity level, but it should ideally be consumed within 18-24 months of harvest. Lower quality olive oil has a higher acidity level and must be used even more quickly.

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  • Cooking with Olive Oil

    • Q: How should I cook with olive oil?

      EVOO can be used up to its smoking point of 400° F, and some varietals can be cooked at even higher temperatures. EVOO is also good for sautéing (300° F) or for sauces and frying (340° F).

      EVOO is excellent in marinades and vinaigrettes, and makes a wonderful finishing oil to drizzle over your dishes. It is a flavorful and nutritious alternative to cooking with butter or margarine.

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    • Q: Can olive oil be used for frying?

      Absolutely. Olive oil can withstand frying temperatures up to 400° F without breaking down.

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    • Q: Can I replace butter or margarine with olive oil?

      Yes! Next time a recipe calls for butter, replace it with a high quality olive oil—not only will your food taste better, but it's also a healthier way to eat. We even offer a Certified Organic Natural Butter Extra Virgin Olive Oil that gives you the flavor of butter with the health benefits of olive oil.

      Use this simple chart to convert butter quantities to olive oil quantities:
      1 teaspoon Butter = ¾ teaspoons of EVOO
      2 teaspoons Butter = 1 ½ teaspoons of EVOO
      1 tablespoon Butter = 2 1/4 teaspoons of EVOO
      2 tablespoons Butter = 1 ½ tablespoons of EVOO
      ¼ cup Butter = 3 tablespoons of EVOO
      ½ cup Butter = ¼ cup + 2 tbsp of EVOO
      1 cup Butter = 3/4 cup of EVOO

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  • Storing Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

    • Q: How should I store olive oil?

      Because of EVOO’s high monounsaturated fat content, it can be stored longer than most other oils, as long as it’s done properly. When choosing your storage location, remember that heat, air, time, and light are the enemies of olive oil. Store extra virgin olive oil in a dark, cool cupboard away from the stove and other heat-producing appliances. Refrigerated olive oils will solidify and turn cloudy. Return them to room temperature to restore their fluidity and color.

      The best storage containers for olive oil are made of tinted glass to help keep out light, porcelain and stainless steel are also acceptable. Containers should have a tight cap or lid to keep out unwanted air. Olive oil should never be stored in reactive metals, and we recommend staying away from plastic containers, as well.

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    • Q: How long will olive oil last?

      Olive oil will last up to two years if kept tightly capped in a cool cupboard and away from direct light.

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    • Q: Should olive oil be kept in the refrigerator?

      It isn't recommended. When refrigerated, most extra virgin olive oils become cloudy and thick. While this doesn't harm the oil per se, as with wine, extended refrigeration can result in diminished aromas and muted flavors, even after the oil warms back to room temperature.

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    • Q: Why do your Extra Virgin Olive Oils come in dark bottles?

      It’s a question of quality—dark glass protects the oil from the deteriorating effects of light. This is also why many health products come in brown bottles, wine is bottled in dark green glass, and clear, glass milk bottles have been replaced with opaque cartons.

      Even a few weeks of light exposure will accelerate the aging of olive oil. To slow this process, it’s a good idea to store your oil in a dark, cool cabinet instead of on a countertop, which is likely brighter and warmer.

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    • Q: How should I store balsamic vinegar?

      Balsamics’ enemies are light and heat, so cool, dark storage spaces are best. If you’re using balsamic vinegars primarily for salads and like them chilled, they can be refrigerated. If you’re using them for sauces, marinades, and reductions, store them in a cupboard. The shelf life of balsamic vinegar should be between 3-5 years.

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  • Nutrition and Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar

    • Q: What are the health benefits of EVOO?

      Extra Virgin Olive Oil is an important source of antioxidants. The most important are polyphenols, antioxidants, and tocopherols (Vitamin E). There are as many as 5.5 mg of polyphenols and 1.6 mg of Vitamin E in every tablespoon of olive oil (15 ml). The total proximate of antioxidants is 7 mg in every 15 ml of olive oil.

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    • Q: What are polyphenols?

      Polyphenols are a class of antioxidants found in a variety of foods, like red wine, green tea, chocolate, and olive oil. Antioxidants are now widely touted for their ability to combat the effects of aging and other health conditions.

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    • Q: What are the nutritional facts for Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

      One tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains 120 calories, 14 grams of fat, zero cholesterol, and zero sodium.

      77% of the fat in extra virgin olive oil is monounsaturated (more depending on the varietal of the olive), 9% is polyunsaturated fat, and 14% is vegetable-derived saturated fat. Studies show that when substituted for saturated fats, monounsaturated fats lower blood cholesterol, especially the harmful, low-density lipoproteins (LDL), while protecting the good, high-density lipoproteins (HDL).

      Extra Virgin Olive Oil also contains the antioxidants beta-carotene and Vitamin E, as well as phenolic compounds tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol. EVOO contains no salt and is naturally cholesterol free.

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    • Q: Does olive oil contain cholesterol?

      No. In fact, olive oil is a monounsaturated fat, which reduces the level of LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol). Unlike polyunsaturated fats, olive oil does not affect HDL, which protects the arteries from cholesterol build-up.

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    • Q: Does olive oil contain trans fat?

      No. Olive oil contains no trans fat.

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    • Q: What are the health benefits of balsamic vinegar?

      Balsamic vinegar contains powerful antioxidants called polyphenols, which fight cell damage and boost energy. Additionally, it aids in digestion and balancing the body’s sugar levels, helps control heartburn, acid reflux, and diabetes, and can reduce cholesterol and the frequency of headaches. It can also suppress the appetite, which contributes to weight control.

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    • Q: What are the nutrition facts for Balsamic Vinegar?

      One tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar contains 20 calories, 240mg sodium, 5g sugar, zero fat, and zero cholesterol.

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  • Purchasing and Shipping