Purchasing extra virgin olive oil is something routine that we do so many times each year, whether it’s from local producers or the supermarket. But are you sure you really know everything about this prized food item?
We wanted to answer some of the most frequent questions we receive to help you to learn even more about extra virgin olive oil.
What does PDO mean?
Protected designation of origin—better known by its initials ‘PDO’—is a mark to legally protect the designation attributed by the European Union to foods whose particular quality characteristics depend essentially or exclusively on the area where they were produced.
For a product to be PDO, the production, processing and manufacturing stages must take place in a delimited geographical area. The producers of PDO products must follow strict production rules established by specific production regulations. Compliance with these rules is guaranteed by an independent control body.
In short, it guarantees that the product was grown and prepared in the production area (particular microclimate) indicated by the production regulations according to the techniques stated in these regulations.
Does olive oil have an expiry date?
Oil expires 18 months from bottling: by law, this must be stated on the label of each individual package.
However, if stored correctly, the oil will keep for a long time.
What is the best method of storing oil?
Oil should be stored away from light (this is why dark or otherwise shielding containers are used) and at a temperature between 15°C and 20°C (be careful not to put it near the hob or oven).
Air must not get into the container, to prevent the oil oxidising: it should be kept in small, closed containers to preserve its characteristics and organoleptic properties.
What does it mean when the oil has a sting to it?
That piquant, stinging sensation is a sign of quality due to the richness of the polyphenols naturally present in extra virgin olive oil.
The olive variety, place of cultivation and harvest times are key variables for the development of this piquantness.
Does the colour indicate the quality of the product?
No, it isn’t a quality characteristic.
In olive oil tastings, a blue glass is used to prevent tasters being influenced by the colour of the oil.
The yellow or green colouring is due to how much chlorophyll is present in the oil.
Does oil make you fat?
Extra virgin olive oil consumed in moderation does not ‘make you fat’ but instead helps to keep your body healthy.
The daily recommended amount is 25 g (5 tsp).
Since this oil is 98-99% triglycerides, its calorie content is 884 kcal per 100 g.
Can extra virgin olive oil be included in children’s diets?
Given its richness in antioxidants and micronutrients and the perfectly balanced quantity of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and, to a minimal extent, saturated fats, extra virgin olive oil is recommended for children’s diets from the first day of weaning and is always considered the best condiment during childhood.
(Source: Prof. Vito Leonardo MI niello, paediatrician, Head of the Nutrition Unit at the University of Bari and National Vice President of the Italian Society of Preventive and Social Paediatrics)