Olive oil expires a few months after birth. It’s a shame, but it’s the price to pay for such a fresh and “living” product.
Olive oil is composed of oleic acid (more than 70% depending on the variety) and other minor components, fatty acids and polyphenols. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated acid, responsible for our cardiovascular health.
Indeed, it has been shown to be able to simultaneously lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good (HDL).
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This surprising “bilateral” capacity is not found in other vegetable oils, such as sunflower.
The “health” of oleic acid is measured by its acidity, the lower it is, the better. This is why EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) must have an acidity legally less than 0.8 °, and excellent quality oils rarely exceed 0.2 °.
Simultaneously, we find polyphenols. Scientists have already managed to identify more than 200 in extra virgin oil, but which barely represent 2% of olive oil.
However, although they are “few”, they are very important in terms of health, and also responsible for the taste and aroma of the oil.
Indeed, recent studies have shown that some of these polyphenols act as natural antioxidants. They would therefore be able to slow down, and even stop, such complex diseases as cancer or Alzheimer’s disease.
Olive oil expires
Unlike wine, time harms olive oil. Oleic acid and polyphenols are fragile. In fact, the “greener” and therefore fresher the oil, the faster it ages. The reason lies partly in its suspended chlorophylls, which capture the light rays and oxidize it.
Other enemies are oxygen and heat. Therefore, when we open a bottle of EVOO for the first time, the air that will inevitably enter will begin to oxidize it.
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Therefore, we must avoid opening the oil bottle too often. Likewise, it is recommended to keep the oil in a cool place, and much better, in a wine fridge.
Olive oil expires, these refrigerators generally maintain temperatures around 14º-16º, much more “appetizing” for olive oil than 25º-30º in summer.
Keep it away from light, oxygen and heat
How many times have we seen oil in kitchens or restaurant tables, exposed to light, heat and air? incredible that in the land of worship of olive oil it still happens …
The reason is that in recent decades, olive oil in Spain has unfortunately become popular. In fact, it has traveled the opposite path to wine, each time cheaper and “popular” …
Even some unscrupulous producers do not hesitate to mix them with inferior oils to make it cheaper. In this way, the pressure on prices is transferred to the poor farmer who often finds himself forced to sell his production at almost impossible prices. And logically, if the farmer does not generate profits, he does not invest, and ultimately the quality of the product decreases.
As a result, these low-quality oils know almost nothing and their health benefits have also disappeared.
If it’s not EVOO it doesn’t work
Fortunately, some companies continue to produce high-quality oils, which sell through clean channels away from supermarkets.
They also export a large part of their production, to countries such as Japan, Germany or the USA, where our EVOO are curiously more valued than here.
EVOO production is expensive
Indeed, to extract a good extra virgin oil we need more than 12kg of olives. Given that the harvest is still fairly manual, this equates to around 30 minutes of operator work. In addition, each olive tree annually produces no more than about 50kg, which requires about 5 bottles per year.
This is why these oils have a price higher than 10-15 euros / bottle of 500ml. And it is not expensive! In Tokyo or NY the same oil is sold over 50 euros without problem.