The name fresh olive oil describes the natural juice that comes from crushing olive fruits that are still unripe and retain their green colour. So any fresh extra virgin olive oil is not necessarily fresh olive oil.
This precious juice stands out for its rich, fruity, but quite bitter and often spicy taste, but also for its complex, deep aromas.
Are all olive oils the same?
Obviously not. The fact that the olives are harvested early does not mean that the oil they will give is of excellent quality.
So to talk about the special properties of a good olive oil must meet certain conditions:
Low acidity (does not exceed 0.8%), production by cold pressing (the mill does not exceed 28ºC during oiling).
In other words, we are talking about Extra Virgin Agourelo oil.
The whole process of oiling must be done no later than 24 hours after the olive harvest.
The olives are harvested unripe, depending on the area where the olive grove is located. It usually starts in mid-October and lasts until the end of November.
Better quality olive oil is ensured when the olive is harvested by hand and not by sticking, so as not to hurt and oxidize the fruits.
The labels of bottled olive oils, which we trust, list all the mandatory information, as well as its shelf life.
For how long does an extra virgin olive oil remain fresh olive oil?
Unfortunately not for long, from three to six months, but that also has to do with storage conditions.
Some claim for nine months. This, only if stored properly, in an opaque bottle, at the right temperatures, without strong fluctuations in temperature and humidity.
What are its special features?
It is rich in antioxidants and contains the valuable components of the olive, such as minerals, vitamins, polyphenols and healing substances.
Aromatic resembles the fresh fruit of the olive, its colour is intense, very "fresh" green due to the chlorophyll.
Where and how do we use Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
It is recommended to consume it raw, in order to enjoy all its special features.
Drizzle your legumes (bean soup, lentils, chickpeas) with a tablespoon of raw green olive oil.
Drizzle it - you do not need a large amount - for all your salads, it will upgrade their taste.
Sprinkle with this a nice, grilled steak.
Try it on grilled fish or vegetables.
Is olive oil a medicine?
Modern medicine has evidence that it lowers cholesterol, is a cancer preventive, helps the liver function well and is beneficial for patients with diabetes and heart disease.
It is very rich in antioxidants that protect cells from oxidative stress. It also contains vitamins and provitamins, such as vitamin E and provitamin A.
A four-year study by the Department of Pharmacy of the University of Athens, led by Assistant Professor Prokopis Magiatis, concluded that especially olive oils contain a large percentage (up to five times higher content than a simple extra virgin olive oil) of two important medicinal substances - oleasin and oleander.
If the olives come from a grove of natural or organic cultivation, and from a cold press olive mill (use of water up to 27ºC), then it can be considered a medicine and sold by pharmacies.
In some countries, extra virgin olive oil is already sold in pharmacies and prescribed.
And a little history
The ancient Greeks called raw olive oil as omfakio and used it as a remedy for many ailments. Hippocrates considered it beneficial for more than 60 diseases.
Nana Darioti is a contributor to Olive Magazine.