The North American Olive Oil Association recently conducted a survey to establish the general level of knowledge around olive oil. What they found is that there are still several myths which are believed by many people. The following stood out:
Myth 1: The colour of olive oil is related to its quality.
In fact, the colour of olive oil is affected by the types of olives used and what ripeness they are harvested at. Good olive oil varies in colour and interestingly olive tasting panels, unlike wine tasting panels, will use coloured tasting glasses so that they are not influenced by the colour.
Myth 2: Light-tasting olive oil has fewer calories than other olive oils.
All olive oil is by definition 100% fat and therefore they all contain the same amount of calories. But because of the numerous health benefits, calories from olive oil are very good for you. There are some olive oils available which are labelled as ‘light’, they are light in flavour not calories and are used in recipes which cannot handle the more intense flavoured olive oils.
Myth 3: Like wine, olive oil gets better with age.
Olive oil is a fruit juice, and like other fruit juices, the fresher the better! The flavour and health benefits of olive oil diminish over time and as a general rule, you should consume your olive oil within 18 months (read more here). Some containers are better than others at keeping the oil fresh (read more about that here).
Myth 4: Extra virgin olive oil is for cold or raw use only.
Olive oil is great for cooking and contrary to what a lot of people think, it doesn’t get destroyed by heat (read more on that here). The only thing to be aware of is that stronger olive oils might have an impact on the flavour of the food.