Olive oil myths debunked once and for all

Olive oil myths debunked once and for all

Did you know that olive oil is essentially fruit juice? That’s right. This flavorful ingredient that’s a staple in some of your favorite savory dishes has more in common with oranges than with broccoli.

Other than this fun bit of trivia, there’s plenty of misinformation that has influenced the consumption of this super food. As producers of high-quality olive oil, we feel it’s our duty to debunk the following myths.

Myth #1: Cooking with extra virgin olive oil is unhealthy

Although extra virgin olive oil’s (EVOO) “smoking point” (the temperature at which the oil starts to smoke and its fatty acids begin to break down) is much lower than other types of oils such as vegetable oil and light olive oil, it’s high enough to withstand normal cooking temperatures.

In other words, cooking with EVOO at high heat doesn’t diminish its health benefits; rather, it only alters its distinct fruity flavor. The smoking point also varies according to an oil’s age and how it was stored. And it's the ones that were milled using substandard methods that are most likely to have a low smoking point and taste rancid when overheated.

Myth #2: Most EVOO sold in the US is adulterated

With so many EVOOs available, the average consumer would be forgiven for thinking that many of them are fake or mixed with lower-quality oils. But this is simply not the case.

The North American Olive Oil Association, which regularly tests hundreds of products, has proven that more than 98% of olive oil sold in the US is unadulterated. To make sure you’re getting authentic stuff, check that the brand is certified by an authority such as the California Olive Oil Council.

Myth #3: Light and extra light olive oil contain fewer calories than EVOO

Not all olive oils are created equal, but they all have the same caloric content per serving. The light, extra light, and/or refined labels simply refer to flavor and color. EVOO may have more antioxidants, but it contains the same amount of calories as the regular ones.

Myth #4: EVOO is the only healthy olive oil

Not only is EVOO intensely flavorful and aromatic, it also has plenty of health benefits due to its high polyphenol content. However, other types of olive oil are healthy, too. Olive oil is made up of monounsaturated fats, which lower bad cholesterol and are known to help reduce the likelihood of a variety of illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Myth #5: Olive oil gets better with age

It does not! In fact, it’s highly recommended to consume any olive oil within a few months of opening the bottle. So if you have some that's been sitting on your shelf for more than a year, we suggest checking its harvest date to make sure it hasn’t expired.

Myth #6: High-quality olive is produced only in the Mediterranean region

Spain, Italy, and Greece are three of the largest olive oil producers in the world, but it’s not entirely accurate to say that they’re the only ones capable of producing high-quality olives. Australia, South Africa, Tunisia, and the US also have climates suitable for growing good olives. Ultimately, quality comes down to individual producers’ growing, harvesting, milling, and bottling methods.

Here at Saltonstall Estate, our olive oils’ vibrant flavor and intense aroma are the results of our unique vacuum milling and meticulous production processes. And with these myths out of the way, you can make better decisions about buying, consuming, and storing our world-class, California-grown olive oil. Find out what an excellent olive oil tastes like by ordering from our online store today!