Saltonstall Estate answers your questions about extra virgin olive oil

Saltonstall Estate answers your questions about extra virgin olive oil

Do you ever wonder how extra virgin olive oil that’s been in your pantry for over a year retains its freshness? Or have you ever wondered if you’re storing your bottle of EVOO in the right place? Whether you’re an olive juice connoisseur or simply someone who appreciates cooking and brightening foods’ flavors with EVOO, we’re here to answer your pressing questions about the world’s healthiest oil.

Q: Is it normal for EVOO to taste bitter?
A: The short answer is yes. The long answer is that EVOO has a complex flavor profile, and what is perceived as a bitter taste could be a combination of the natural olive fruit and other tastes like artichoke, grass, or butter.

The bitter sensation that it produces on the back of the throat is actually a good indication of its quality. In addition, the anti-inflammatory compound in EVOO called oleocanthal makes the stinging sensation more pronounced, which some people may associate with bitterness.

Q: How can you tell whether EVOO has gone bad?
A: Some may not like the fruity yet slightly bitter taste of extra virgin olive oil and dismiss it as bad. On the other hand, rancidity is the unpleasant sourness one tastes when their food has been cooked in butter or oil that has gone stale. The bitterness one tastes in EVOO is sometimes misconstrued as rancidity, but it could be that it is past its shelf life and has become unfit for consumption.

This is why it pays to know its basic flavor profile. Ultimately, your choice of olive oil largely depends on your personal taste and preference.

Q: How do I keep my olive oil fresh?
A: Exposing olive oil (not just extra virgin) to extreme temperature, light and oxygen will make it spoil quickly. Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to use up your bottle of EVOO upon first opening it; you just need to ensure its proper storage.

Storing a bottle of EVOO in a cupboard directly above the stove is a mistake, as the heat that emanates upwards affects the oil’s quality. EVOO is also not the best choice for high-heat cooking, so put it on your condiment rack instead of anywhere near the high-heat cooking equipment.

Q: What’s the best way to store olive oil?
You shouldn’t store your bottle of EVOO at the back of the stove, on a windowsill, or on top of a refrigerator. Instead, store it somewhere cool and dry. If you buy your olive oil in bulk, choose a dark-colored glass bottle or a decanter. Our line of super premium and aged olive oils are packaged that way to ensure freshness and save you the hassle of transferring it yourself.

Q: Is it practical to use EVOO for non-culinary purposes?
Although it’s perfectly fine to use it for a variety of non-culinary purposes -- including cosmetic use, home fixes such as a lubricant for squeaky hinges, and home remedies such as getting rid of a sore throat -- we maintain that it’s best used as a flavorful ingredient or condiment for salads, soups, crunchy French bread, meats, or any of your favorite dishes. After all, EVOO is prized for its distinctive flavor and aroma.

Q: Is there a major difference between filtered and unfiltered EVOO?
A: Filtered extra virgin olive oil differs from unfiltered in one key aspect: It has a longer shelf life.

Unfiltered olive oil’s shelf life is shorter because its olive bits continue to ferment after bottling, whereas filtered oils don’t. Filtering removes a negligible amount of EVOO’s otherwise strong natural flavor. Both oils do, however, share one important characteristic: They contain the same level of health compounds.

Saltonstall Estate has been producing excellent, California-grown extra virgin olive oil for years, and we’ll gladly answer other questions you may have about any of our premium products. Visit our orchard or order from our online store today!