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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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August 14, 2012

Is Your Olive Oil Really Olive Oil?

By Mark Sisson
281 Comments

For thousands of years, humans have been picking, prizing, and pressing the fatty drupes found among the oblong leaves of the gnarled, twisted olive tree into rich, green-gold extra virgin olive oil. And for almost as many thousands of years, humans have been coming up with ways to fake it, to pass off cheaper, less delicious, less nutritious oils as the real thing. The earliest known written mention of olive oil – from Syria, 24 BC – describes how court-appointed inspectors would tour olive oil processing facilities to ensure quality, purity, and the absence of fraud. In ancient Rome, the vessels containing olive oil bore detailed information about the contents, including varietal of fruit used, place of origin, name of producer, the weight and quality of the oil, the name of the importer, plus the name of the official who inspected it and confirmed the previously mentioned data. Let’s just say they really, really liked their olive oil, and that olive oil adulteration has always been an issue.

It continues today, of course, and studies are bearing out the fact that extra virgin olive oil is often adulterated with cheaper, more refined, deodorized olive oils, oils from olives deemed unfit for human consumption, and/or random nut, seed, and vegetable oils spiked with chlorophyll and beta-carotene to replicate the authentic color. An Australian study found that over half the supermarket EVOO was anything but, even the supposedly legit stuff from the Mediterranean countries; New Zealand researchers had similar results with Mediterranean imports into their country. Last year, a University of California at Davis study (PDF) found that 69% of imported extra virgin olive oils failed to meet international standards, while 90% of California EVOO tested passed (the study was partially financed by major California olive oil producers, and producers of some of the failed imports are crying foul). Similar adulteration is taking place in China, where imported olive oil is mixed with cheap seed oils. In 2007, the New Yorker published a harrowing account of widespread and longstanding fraud in the Italian olive oil industry (“Profits were comparable to cocaine trafficking, with none of the risks”), and more recently, a study found that four out of five Italian olive oils were “debased.”

I’ve spent the last few years recommending that you eat extra virgin olive oil, and now it appears as if the fraud is pervasive enough to throw everything you thought you knew into a state of confusion. So what are you supposed to do? How do you know if your olive oil is actually olive oil?

The Fridge Test

By now, you’ve probably all heard about it: to test the legitimacy of a supposed olive oil, stick it in the fridge for a day or two. If it begins to solidify, you’ve got yourself a bottle of true extra virgin olive oil. Does it hold true?

Kinda.

Pure monounsaturated fat, also known as oleic acid, solidifies at 39 degrees F. Since olive oil is primarily oleic acid (about 70-85 percent, generally), sticking a bottle of real olive oil in the fridge should elicit solidification. The original olive oil adulterants, sunflower oil and safflower oil, were mostly polyunsaturated, so adulterating olive oil used to be easy to spot. Now, with high-oleic sunflower oil, high-oleic safflower oil, and high-oleic canola oil on the scene, adulterated olive oil can still solidify in the fridge. Thus, the fridge test is still a necessary, but not sufficient, test for the legitimacy of your extra virgin olive oil. It’s really a test for the degree of monounsaturation in the oils. It’s important (toss any oils that fail the test), but it’s not the full story.

The Taste Test

Good olive oil is often bitter, pungent, spicy, and slightly abrasive. It’s not always smooth and easy going. In fact, the “off-notes,” the intense flavors that make the uninitiated screw up their face actually indicate the presence of high levels of polyphenols, those antioxidant plant compounds which make olive oil so good for you. If the olive oil you taste burns the back of your throat and tastes funny to you, chances are you’ve been using and are used to adulterated (or at least non-virgin) oil.

To my knowledge, olive oil adulteration hasn’t progressed to the point where scammers are able to simulate the flavor of true EVOO. If they were to do it, I’d imagine they’d have to add polyphenols or olive extracts to the vegetable oils, and that can’t be cheap. And even if they did add olive extracts and synthetic polyphenols, it’d be better than having none at all.

Does It Matter?

Aside from being cheated out of your money for a disgustingly disappointing mix of soybean and canola oils, can any real health issues arise from consuming adulterated olive oils?

There are allergy concerns, of course, if the adulterant contains an allergen, like peanut oil. Owing to the similarity of its fatty acids to olive oil’s, hazelnut oil is another popular adulterant as well as a fairly common allergen, and one study even showed that people with hazelnut allergies could identify olive oil spiked with hazelnut oil because they suffered symptoms after eating it.

Another health issue that can arise from using adulterated olive oil is the one caused by excessive intake of omega-6 fats from the soybean, sunflower, safflower, canola, or any other cheap high-PUFA oil being added: generation of inflammatory eicosanoids, systemic inflammation, and oxidized blood lipids. Luckily, the fridge test is sufficient to ferret out PUFA-rich “olive oil” and prevent this from harming you.

Depending on the source and age of the adulterants (year old soybean oil, five month canola, etc), the once robust polyphenol profile of the starter extra virgin olive oil will have been severely diluted. And since the healthful, anti-inflammatory effects of olive oil can mostly be attributed to the polyphenols, olive oil adulterated with inferior, polyphenol-less oils will be less stable, more rancid, and more prone to oxidation. Oxidized oils are not very good for us; here’s why.

I’d say it does matter, and not just because of taste (as if “taste” isn’t reason enough). Here are my roughly recommended guidelines for choosing a good, real EVOO:

My best results have come with domestics – wherever I am. My favorite olive oil here in California is a California olive oil. The best Italian olive oil I ever had was in Italy. Same for Spanish olive oil. In all those studies referenced above, domestics seemed to win out. The NZ and Australian studies found that local oils bested the imports, just as the California study found that the top oils were from California. I’d imagine Italians like Italian olive oil and Spaniards like Spanish olive oil and so on and so forth because they’re not getting the imported, adulterated dregs.

You might have to spend a little money. Sure, I’ve made some good, affordable finds at Trader Joe’s in my day (including a $15 a liter bottle of spicy, unfiltered to the point of clogging the spout, lime green EVOO from Italy that appeared on the shelves for a month or two last year only to disappear before I could grab another bottle), but generally, I’ve gotten what I’ve paid for.

Do some tastings. Look for specialty shops or farmer’s market stands that allow and even encourage tastings of their olive oils. Take at least an ounce (the quarter teaspoon some places try to offer is way too meager to get an accurate reading), slurp it up, and swirl it around in your mouth like you’re trying to make a saliva-EVOO emulsification. Be obnoxious about it, even. But as you swallow the oil, relax and be ready to note the peppery polyphenol kick at the end, usually experienced at the back of your throat. Good EVOO should linger pleasantly in the mouth, even after it’s been swallowed.

Do the fridge test. Even though it won’t prove that your oil is pure, you’ll at least know that your EVOO wasn’t cut with PUFA-rich oils.

Avoid clear bottles. Although I’ve bought some fantastic olive oil from dedicated small-time producers that was stored in random glass jars, I usually opt for EVOO that comes in dark bottles or stainless steel containers. First reason being, light exposure oxidizes olive oil and degrades the polyphenol content. Second reason, most quality olive oil producers care about their product enough to ship it in suitable vessels.

Buy a winner. I always keep up with the latest winners of the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition. Whenever I’ve tried one from the list of winners, I haven’t been disappointed. Here are some other lauded competitions.

Talk to people who know good olive oil. Talk to olive farmers at the farmers’ market who grow and pick and press and sell the stuff, talk to the mustachioed olive oil aficionado who owns the olive oil shop that you’ve never stopped in to see, talk to your friends who know about this sort of thing and splurge on olive oil all the time.

Ultimately, absent a team of sensory experts, access to gas chromatography equipment, and the ability to astrally project your soul backward through time to the time and place of the oil’s production, there’s no one way to tell, no grand, all knowing test. The closer you are to the proximate producer of the oil (buy “close to the mill”), the fewer times it changes hands before reaching yours, the “feeling” you get from sniffing the herbaceous fragrance, tasting the piquant fruitiness, the enjoyment you derive from it – this is how you determine the worth of your oil. It’s more art than science.

Thanks for reading, folks. Be sure to drop a link or reference to your personal favorite (or favorites) extra virgin olive oil, preferably one that’s widely available or available online, as well as your tips for finding a good brand.

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200 Comments on "Is Your Olive Oil Really Olive Oil?"

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Bruno
Bruno
4 years 3 months ago

I really enjoy dousing my salad with ‘olive oil.’ To think that I might be drinking the remaining lemon juice with a half cup of canola oil makes me kind of sick…

Isn’t this illegal or something?

Bruno
Bruno
4 years 3 months ago

I mean.. shouldn’t companies be put out of business if they’re caught being blatantly dishonest to their customers? Maybe we should start a watchdog website to cripple those greedy bastards. Provide me a list of the perps and I’ll never give them another dime.

Dave
Dave
4 years 3 months ago

Yes it is illegal, but mostly they aren’t caught because the industry is corrupt and especially in Italy controlled by the Mafia. Best thing you can do is follow the recommendations above.

ravi
4 years 3 months ago

hi bruno – yes they should but do you realize that we have just experienced the most massive, and literally tsunami-like bank scandal in history (libor) and basically no one of any consequence is going down for it (or will…) now will anything of consequence change how the banks operate.

how high do you think olive oil purity is on regulators lists? (even assuming that there were honest regulators – which there are not…)

just sayin’

Jeff
Jeff
4 years 3 months ago

There is already a website dedicated to this:
http://www.truthinoliveoil.com it is hosted by the author of “Extra Virginity” a book about the olive oil industry and the corruption and scandal in that industry.

andre Chimene
4 years 3 months ago

Jeff, thank you for the link. I heard this on NPR and have been looking for the web,..oh and thank you Mark Sisson for the great article. I wish olive oil tastes as good on my fingers as it does on a crusty hard baguette.

Cheryl Boswell
4 years 3 months ago

If there is an angle to play, big food invariably plays it. That’s why this site is so vital. Thanks for that link.

Primal Toad
Primal Toad
4 years 3 months ago

We live in a corrupt society!

On the fridge test: this may fool you! A lady commented on one of my olive oil blog posts and said that her homemade olive oil fails the fridge test. It remains liquid even though she presses the polices that she grows herself!

I think taste is the best test. And know your grower.

Nan
Nan
4 years 3 months ago

Perhaps her fridge is not cold enough?

J
J
3 years 10 months ago

Or she was a plant from the OO lobby

goldengrain
goldengrain
1 year 9 months ago

My husband started to fry eggs in olive oil, which I thought was horrid, but they actually are quite good.

A person whom I trust said he gets his if they are from California or Chile because there are strict laws in those areas and a person could be put out of business if caught cheating. California Olive Ranch is found in my local supermarket.

Nikhil
Nikhil
1 year 5 months ago

Don’t fry things in olive oil. It is best to have it raw instead. Try using coconut oil or butter, or animal fat to fry things in.

fritzy
fritzy
4 years 3 months ago

I’ve never been disappointed by any of the tinted bottle offerings at Trader Joe’s and word on the street has it that their oils are supposed to be the uncut, real thing. All of the best oils I have had have always been small batch, locally produced oils. When I lived in CA, there was no shortage of great, locally produced stuff.

Kris
Kris
4 years 3 months ago

I’m curious if anyone knows anything about the refined brands (their purity, and any “household tests.”) We use the “olive oil” (non-extra virgin) from Trader Joe’s for making mayonnaise. Wondering if the reason fraud is prevalent in EVOO is because of the higher price and refined stuff is (relatively) safe?

Gift clumsywarrior
4 years 3 months ago

I have trader joe’s olive oil too! I tend to agree with buying local tho… I try california olive oil once and it was oh so tasty!!

andre Chimene
4 years 3 months ago

What I learned from the http://www.truthinoliveoil.com was that California highly regulates the olive oil from Ca. It is the best bet for local in the US. I switched from Trader Joes others to the California Estate brand there.

Alison Golden
4 years 3 months ago

Oh lordy, something else to worry about…I’ve totally converted to coconut oil but I do like a little olive oil on my salads. Thanks for the tips.

Erica Reinhart
4 years 3 months ago

Very good to know! Doing the test on mine!

Francisco Guerrero
1 year 1 month ago

Try Guerrero’s Olive Oil
#1 Is American Olive Oil
#2 Comming from California
#3 Is 100% Pure Extra Virgen Oilive Oil 1st Press.

visit us at :www.facebook.com/Guerreros2014

Alice
Alice
4 years 3 months ago

This month’s Consumer Reports has an article about extra virgin olive oil and rates around 26 brands. Some of them sound really awful (musty from mold, for instance). Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods’ 365 brand were winners.

Ben
Ben
4 years 3 months ago

365 brand fails the fridge test.

Alice
Alice
4 years 3 months ago

Really, wow, I’m surprised. Thanks for letting us know. I just discovered that my unbrand Italian oil which I assumed would be junk after reading this post has a total polyphenol kick when tasted.

lindsay
lindsay
4 years 3 months ago

Really? My Whole Foods 365 passes the fridge test. My bottle says it’s from California. Maybe there are different ones?

yoolieboolie
yoolieboolie
4 years 3 months ago

make sure your fridge is cold enough (40° or below for food safety, 39° or below for the solidity test)

John
4 years 3 months ago

My 365 brand bottle passed the Fridge test.

Nancy
Nancy
4 years 3 months ago

I think that failing the fridge test doesn’t automatically mean your oil is adulterated. As someone else mentioned, your fridge might not be cold enough. Also, I’ve been doing some reading. It turns out that the fatty acid composition of olive oil can vary quite a lot depending upon the growing conditions and even the weather. I think the taste test is the most reliable. If it’s extra virgin, it should be strong in flavor, a little spicy and even grassy in flavor. I wouldn’t throw out good tasting olive oil just because it didn’t solidify in the fridge.

Michael
Michael
4 years 3 months ago
First, a correction: neither Whole Foods 365, nor REGULAR Trader Joe’s EVOO, came out on top of the Consumer Reports test (which wasn’t really a good test to begin with, because they really almost entirely purchased supermarket brands). The winners were McEvoy Ranch and Trader Joe’s California Estate. Second, the fridge test is not only sufficient, it’s not necessary, and indeed can be quite misleading: Fake or low-quality oils can pass, and real EVOO can fail. See this explanation from Australian olive oil expert Richard Gawel: http://www.aromadictionary.com/EVOO_blog/?p=550 Third, to the person who asked about regular “olive oil:” you don’t want… Read more »
goldengrain
goldengrain
1 year 9 months ago

There is another website that rates brands for purity and Whole Foods failed. But, even they, said California is the way to go.

Brad
Brad
4 years 3 months ago

For anyone in Texas, Texas Olive Ranch makes some good stuff that’s the real deal. It’s pretty spicy and grassy like Mark was talking about, so it takes some getting used to if, like me, you’ve only had the supermarket stuff. I’ve met the owner out at farmer’s markets and he’ll be happy to tell you all about his orchards (not a paid shill, I just like the product).

Grace
Grace
4 years 3 months ago

Excellent, olive oil, though pricey!

Anon
4 years 3 months ago

I’ve had good luck with Costco Organic Olive Oil.
Chase

Bruno
Bruno
4 years 3 months ago

Your parents lacked creativity if “Debt Free Teen” is the best they could do.

Colleen
Colleen
4 years 3 months ago

I’m thrilled by the moniker, if we had more who followed that philosphy the country would be in a better place (just as if we had more who ate primal).

spayne
4 years 3 months ago

Word.

Bruno
Bruno
4 years 3 months ago

Per Mark, at the very top of the comment board:

“Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.”

yoolieboolie
yoolieboolie
4 years 3 months ago

+1

yoolieboolie
yoolieboolie
4 years 3 months ago

oh geez, really? you gotta pocj on the kids name? do you need a nap or something?

yoolieboolie
yoolieboolie
4 years 3 months ago

*pick* (derp derp derp)

enough of this, I’m going camping.

Nicole
Nicole
4 years 3 months ago

Really? Are you going to jump on everyone else who does not use a variation of their real name?

Bruno
Bruno
4 years 3 months ago

Pardon, I have a lot of respect for Mark and this website. He provides priceless knowledge for us every day without asking for anything in return. Oh wait, nevermind, that’s right. He asks for ONE and ONLY ONE thing in return for allowing us this open forum to share and discuss. To completely blow off this ONE request is blatantly disrespectful.

That message from Mark that I posted above appears at the bottom of EVERY SINGLE article on this website – yeah, I’m sure it’s not very important to him.

Bruno
Bruno
4 years 3 months ago

And this especially on an article about rules and guidelines being blown off for the sake of profit. Nice hypocrisy, guys!

Nicole
Nicole
4 years 3 months ago

E-mails are required to post. Let the man who runs the website worry about enforcement.

I also think Mark won’t use name-calling as a tactic.

Bruno
Bruno
4 years 3 months ago

You’re probably right, but I’m not Mark, I’m Norton Antivirus Free Update dot Com

Jenny
Jenny
4 years 3 months ago

Debt Free Teen looks great. I just gave the link to my high school senior.

Conviventia
Conviventia
4 years 3 months ago

Kirkland Organic (not the regular) EVOO is one of the reasons we keep our Costco membership. UC Davis’s Olive Center did a test a couple years ago that’s worth checking out

http://addictedtocostco.com/2010/07/29/kirkland-signature-extra-virgin-olive-oil-best-imported-oil/

Sarah
Sarah
4 years 3 months ago

I was so mad that I put my olive oil from Aldi’s in the fridge and it was too hard to pour out of the bottle. I thought I would keep it from going rancid. Now I’m very happy.

Josh
Josh
4 years 3 months ago

If you live near Frederick, MD check out Lebherz Oil and Vinegar Emporium (L.O.V.E.). No, the olives are not grown locally, but it is high quality stuff. Yes, they also fear other fats,, so they tend to be super pumped about their butter flavored EVOO. They have numerous varietals from Spain, Italy, Chile, and elsewhere, as well as tons of flavors. It’s all 100% olive oil, so no worries.

Kim
Kim
4 years 3 months ago

Me Me, I’m close to Frederick, MD. Thanks a bunch for the tip, I will check them out. Any other gems nearby?

Josh
Josh
4 years 3 months ago

Cafe Nola (also downtown) uses all local ingredients and pastured eggs. Their breakfast are primal, just skip the toast. I’ll have to check around more next time I visit my sister. I know many of the restaurants (firestones, Isabellas, the tasting room) use local ingreidents. Pick a good place downtown and you’ll be able to find something primal.

Chad
Chad
4 years 3 months ago

I had that Trader Joes Olive Oil that was sold for a limited time last year as well. Same happened to me, went back for more and it was gone, still look for it to come back every week when I stop by TJs. It was awesome, cloudy, milky looking and pungent. Every oil I have now I compare to that.

Greta
Greta
4 years 3 months ago

I had always thought that the labeling would indicate whether the oil was pure olive or not…. I can’t say I’m surprised, but it’s getting ridiculous when even olive oil is getting compromised. For the past while, I’ve been purchasing any imported oils from specialty shops – Zingerman’s and the like. Cheap it ain’t, but at least I know I get a quality product.

Groktimus Primal
4 years 3 months ago

I hear Popeye knows his Olive Oil 🙂

Jeremy
Jeremy
4 years 3 months ago

Biblically, even!

Diane
Diane
4 years 3 months ago

Oops — he does know his Olive Oyl, though.

Alexandra
Alexandra
4 years 3 months ago

I’m interested in hearing how you all maintain the freshness of the oil? I keep it in the fridge and then liquify at room temp before using — then put back in fridge.

I heard an olive oil loving doc mention that some people squeeze the contents of a vitamin e capsule into the bottle but he prefers to squeeze a capsule of co-q10. He said it makes the oil red but preserves it quite well. Thoughts?

MarkA
MarkA
4 years 3 months ago

Should be OK in a dark, cool pantry or cupboard, as long as its not sitting around for months and months. Another option would be to buy a small wine fridge (some decent ones for under $250) to keep items cool but not cold. Great for dry-cured meats, cheeses, perishable oils, root vegetables, etc.

Tasha
4 years 3 months ago

If someone comes up with a list of brands that are okay in the states, that would be awesome!

Nocona
Nocona
4 years 3 months ago

I’ve been getting the Costco EVOO First Cold Pressed…It’s going in the fridge for a test while I go to my Farmers Market today and get some good stuff! I don’t have a good feeling about the ‘ol Kirkland brand. It has to be lousy doesn’t it? It’s dirt cheap.

Max Ungar
4 years 3 months ago

Please let us know the results, I use the stuff myself

BonzoGal
BonzoGal
4 years 3 months ago

Consumers Reports recently rated olive oils and liked the Kirkland brand.

KimInGA
KimInGA
4 years 3 months ago

My Costco EVOO definitely hardens in the fridge. I make homemade vinaigrette all the time and put the leftovers in the fridge, and I always have to remember to take it out early so it can un-solidify.

carolmcdonald
carolmcdonald
4 years 3 months ago

Costco would be World Market as well I believe. I love my World Market EVOO. It comes in a Can and the price is awesome. It keeps well in the can (out of sunlight) for quite a while and has a wonderful, rich flavor. I haven’t tested it in the fridge and don’t really care how thick it gets cold. Like I said, it tastes great.

Nocona
Nocona
4 years 3 months ago

My wife just said that the Costco EVOO hardens when she makes salad dressings and put in the fridge for a day or two. I still don’t believe it’s the good stuff. A 2-pack is $20 for a gallon.

Derek
Derek
4 years 3 months ago

Is olive oil primal? Nope.

‘Nuff said.

Jodis
Jodis
4 years 3 months ago

It’s not? Pretty sure there are a lot of people under the impression that it IS primal.

So no, NOT ’nuff said. Why do you think it’s not primal?

Josh
Josh
4 years 3 months ago

I’m certain grok didn’t extract oil from coconuts, yet I haven’t heard one person say coconut oil isn’t primal. Same goes for olive oil. Olive oil is absolutely primal.

Nancy
Nancy
4 years 3 months ago

Olive oil is primal. If you press olives, you get oil in one step. Grok could do it too. The same goes for coconut oil. The stuff is naturally oily.
If you press corn, you don’t get oil, unless you do a whole lot more processing.

Jeff
Jeff
4 years 3 months ago

Maybe Grok’s cousins lived on Maui? Cracking open a coconut on a rock is as primal as you can get

Dan
Dan
4 years 3 months ago

Neither are computers.

Kevin Hughes
Kevin Hughes
4 years 3 months ago

You eat computers?

Steph
Steph
4 years 3 months ago
Here’s an interesting post about the “fridge test”: http://primaltoad.com/olive-oil/ Tl;dr version — guy who makes his own oil, by his own hands, puts it in the fridge 12 hours, and it didn’t get solid. No word on whether it eventually did, but what it says to me is that the fridge test may be even less useful than we think. (And yeah, it’s the internet, and he could be lying, but I don’t quite know what the point of that would be.) Anyway, I’ve had olive oil from very good, very reputable vendors take days to “set up”. I honestly… Read more »
Tania
Tania
4 years 3 months ago

I’m reading this late as usual because of the time difference. We’re in Adelaide, Australia and press our own olive oil. I’ve just put some in the fridge and I’ll let you know later whether it solidifies.

Tania
Tania
4 years 3 months ago

Forgot to say, that I don’t think ours goes solid either which is why I’m keen to see for sure. There could be differences across varieties. We grow Verdale olives, one of the less common types because they are low yielding. On the other hand they make delicious oil.

Tania
Tania
4 years 3 months ago

The oil has been in the fridge for 6 hours now and shows no signs of solidifying. Mark did say leave it in the fridge a day or 2 so I’ll do that.

Tania
Tania
4 years 3 months ago

Ok, it took 24 hours but it did solidify in the end. It’s been an interesting post. Thanks Mark.

VorJoshigan
VorJoshigan
4 years 3 months ago

If any of you live in Arizona, I highly recommend a trip to the Queen Creek Olive Mill. Maytag Blue Cheese stuffed Olives may not be primal, but they’re incredibly delicious. They also have lots of crazy (Blood Orange?!) flavor infused olive oils.
Now I got a hankerin’ & I’m 1700 miles away. harrrrumph!

Chris
Chris
4 years 3 months ago

I live in NW Phoenix and am definitely going to check that out next time I’m in the east valley. Thanks!:)

Carlos
Carlos
4 years 3 months ago

We’ve been buying this from WF and a couple of times found at Farmer’s Market (Ahwatukee). Recently I tried the fridge test, it did not solidify. May try again, maybe fridge wasn’t cold enough.

Duncan
Duncan
4 years 3 months ago

They taste even better after soaking in Gin and a tiny bit of vermouth . . . .

Robert
Robert
4 years 3 months ago

Newman’s got me on that one not so long ago.

Scott UK
Scott UK
4 years 3 months ago

Always read the label. The other day I almost used some of “Newman’s Own Olive Oil & Vinegar Dressing”. Turns out it is only olive-oil flavoured. The “All Natural Ingredients” are:

Olive Oil Blend (Olive Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil), Vegetable Oil (Soybean Oil and/or Canola Oil), Water, Red Wine Vinegar, Onion, Spices, Salt, Garlic, Lemon Juice and Distilled Vinegar

Disappointed much? Obviously, the answer is just to buy olive oil and vinegar and ‘do it yourself’.

CJ
CJ
4 years 3 months ago

I picked up a glasslock container with a real snap on spout so I could just fill 1/2 way with EVOO and 1/2 way with vinegar and be done. Shake shake and I’ve got salad dressing. Its clear glass so I keep it (and so the olive oil) away from light as best I can.

I just get hopping mad that I can no longer trust anything packaged!

Les
Les
4 years 3 months ago

Better recipe is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. Then throw in some herbs, a clove of garlic, some peppercorns, and a little salt.

Scott UK
Scott UK
4 years 3 months ago
BonzoGal
BonzoGal
4 years 3 months ago

Agreed! I’ve seen “olive oil” mayonnaise at the health food store that turned out to have both olive and canola oils. There was just enough olive oil in there to flavor it.

DarcieG
DarcieG
4 years 3 months ago

In the Newman example, the first ingredient was still olive oil, so I don’t really think it was misrepresentation.

jpatti
4 years 2 months ago

All the “olive oil” mayonnaise in the stores is similar, mostly soy or canola with a bit of olive added for flavor.

rob
rob
4 years 3 months ago

Does anyone grow their own olives? Any recommendations on where to get seedlings and a press?

ravi
4 years 3 months ago

not sure you have enough time on the planet to grow your own – in the med countries, grandfathers planted new seedlings as gifts to the 2nd and 3rd generation down – these buggers grow slooooooly – unless you can nab an acre or two of already mature trees (not to mention in the right climate) – yer stuck with the grocery store.

Tania
Tania
4 years 3 months ago
We have seventeen trees planted along our back and side fence. We usually get around 40 litres of oil because our variety is low yielding. We’ve got Verdale. I’d recommend the Koroneiki variety for high yields but it’s tiny and not good for pickling. As for pressing your own, it’s not possible really. You need massive presses. Imagine a huge factory full of equipment. What backyarders tend to do is take their olives somewhere close to be pressed. Sometimes family groups pool together. We take ours to George at the Fleurieu Peninsular Press. Might be a bit of a journey… Read more »
Jenny
4 years 3 months ago

How timely, just was in an olive oil/balsamic vinegar tasting store in Breckenridge, Co yesterday with my family! We almost convulsed with joy at how amazing everything tasted, and I scored a bottle of white coconut balsamic (you cannot even imagine how amazing it is) and a mushroom sage olive oil. It was nice knowing that the product was much higher quality than what I can find in the grocery stores. Because I use olive oil more sparingly than coconut oil, ghee, etc I think from now on I’m only going to be these higher quality olive oils.

Nicole
Nicole
4 years 3 months ago

White coconut balsamic… I must find this somehow.

Jenny
4 years 3 months ago

Nicole, the place is called Olive Fusion and is in Breckenridge and Silverthorne. I’m sure they would ship to you and you will not regret it, I promise! It’s out of this world!

Jennifer
Jennifer
4 years 3 months ago

Any recommendations for good brands in Canada? Sadly, no domestic ones here in the great white north…

Foxylibrarian
Foxylibrarian
4 years 3 months ago

I love Sciabica, a family owned outfit in California. It’s not organic (the certification was too cumbersome for such a small outfit) but they don’t spray.

Kevin Hughes
Kevin Hughes
4 years 3 months ago

There are a number of Canadian suppliers (retail) listed here. I am in Vancouver and get great oil from Vancouver Olive Oil Company.

http://www.truthinoliveoil.com/great-oil/best-olive-oils

Diane
Diane
4 years 3 months ago

Didn’t you guys read the article? No brands. You gotta buy close to the source, do the fridge test, etc. You can’t trust a brand to be the same quality every time either.

By the way, honey has the same problem as olive oil. A lot of it is fake, not honey at all.

Nicole
Nicole
4 years 3 months ago

Not everyone can buy close to the source. Sometimes a brand is the best one can financially do, so it would be good to know what evil brands are the least evil.

yoolieboolie
yoolieboolie
4 years 3 months ago

Since reading your last post on olive oils I’ve been going for the top shelf, small and spendy bottles (CA) than the larger, cheaper bottom shelf stuff (Italy) at my local Food CoOp. I was amazed at the flavor, and much happier with the performance.

I had worried about how long those bottles were sitting in my counter since I didn’t use it for every-flippin thing anymore. Now I’m content to only have it on hand sometimes and really enjoy the quality of it.

Also appreciate the contest winners link. Very cool! Thanks, Mark 🙂

MyFirstNameIsPaul
MyFirstNameIsPaul
4 years 3 months ago

I did the ‘fridge’ test and Newman’s passed, California Olive passed, and a bottle of ‘Savor’ from a small vendor at my local farmer’s market failed. I specifically asked her if it was 100% unfiltered, first cold press, EVOO, and she, the owner, said it was. Makes me question the validity of the test.

MarkA
MarkA
4 years 3 months ago

Too bad life isn’t like that Ricky Gervais movie where everyone has to tell the truth:
You: Is this 100% cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil?
Vendor: No, I cut it 50/50 with Wesson canola oil so I can make more money.

Mike H
Mike H
4 years 3 months ago

Read the label, you just think it passed:

All Natural Ingredients:
Ingredients: Olive Oil Blend (Olive Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil), Vegetable Oil (Soybean Oil and/or Canola Oil), Water, Red Wine Vinegar, Onion, Spices, Salt, Garlic, Lemon Juice and Distilled Vinegar

Not Kosher

http://www.newmansown.com/product_detail.aspx?productid=1

Michael
Michael
4 years 3 months ago

The “fridge test” isn’t valid, as I’ve mentioned before: see this explanation from Australian olive oil expert Richard Gawel:
http://www.aromadictionary.com/EVOO_blog/?p=550

Confirming this, Newman’s Own failed the laboratory testing performed by the University of California at Davis’ Olive Center:
http://olivecenter.ucdavis.edu/news-events/news/files/olive%20oil%20final%20071410%20.pdf

Audrey
Audrey
4 years 3 months ago

How timely! I recently bought a salad dressing at a health food store because I thought the ingredients were so good. Olive oil was the only oil listed in the ingredient list along with some other items I am perfectly ok with consuming (sesame seeds, aminos, ect.) I put it in the fridge and my husband and I were so puzzled that the oil separated and then solidified at the top. After years of buying Whishbone and other such junk we had never seen a salad dressing do that. At least I know I got the good stuff!

bill
bill
4 years 3 months ago

Yes, I have a favorite EVOO. Here’s the link:

http://www.kilerridge.com/Kiler_Ridge/Home.html

I’ve been helping with the harvest for a few years now, so I KNOW where my olive oil comes from. It’s also a blast.

Keefe Bella
Keefe Bella
4 years 3 months ago
In Canada, I can vouch for the Costco Kirkland Organic EVVO sold in 1.5L bottles. It is pointless to put it in the fridge, unless you want to have a block of Extra Virgin Olive Butter, and burns like a shot of whisky on its way down and makes kermit the frog look like he’s sporting on off yellow tint. That said, the non-organic Kirkland brand is smooth as water, doesnt solidify very much, and has a pale green hint of colour. It may not be the best stuff out there, but for folks on a budget, i dont think… Read more »
Sharon
Sharon
4 years 3 months ago

I have given up on olive oil. I didn’t grow up with it and don’t use it often so even if I could trust some brand, I fear it would go rancid before I used it up.

As far as I know, there is no local olive oil and it just seems like too much energy and time would be needed to track down the good stuff.

Sully
Sully
4 years 3 months ago

I’ve had pretty good success with Capatriti Extra Virgin Olive Oil

sjmusic2
sjmusic2
4 years 3 months ago

Any info on organic olive oil vs non-organic ?

Is there a significant difference between the two ?

Anthony Duncan
Anthony Duncan
4 years 3 months ago

Great article! There is a typo though- the first mention of olive oil was in 2400 BC rather than 24 BC.

garymar
garymar
4 years 3 months ago

2400 BC? In Sumer?

Defrog
Defrog
4 years 3 months ago
Not entirely on-topic, but thought I should mention a yummy trick I learned this weekend: I peeled a whole head of garlic cloves, put in a saute pan and covered them with EVOO (Olave Brand, from Whole Foods). Heated for about 45 minutes, until the cloves were toasty brown on the outside. Pureed the cloves with some basil leaves to make a spread to put on some grilled salmon (YUM), but now I’ve got about 2 cups of the most delicious garlic olive oil! For what its worth, the oil does solidify in the fridge; as far as I’m concerned,… Read more »
Ashley
Ashley
4 years 3 months ago

In Exodus 30:24 the Hebrews used a hin of olive oil to make ‘a holy anointing oil’. The book of Exodus is dated by most experts to have taken place at about the 13th century B.C…..A LONG time before the written mention you’ve described from Syria. But hey, I just drove your point home even more!!

Keep up the great work!

Diane
4 years 3 months ago

The best EVOO I’ve had is from Kasandrinos Imports- they bring it to the US directly from Greece, pure and unadulterated. My friend’s family owns the company and the farms. It’s really amazing oil!!

http://www.kasandrinos.com

Praxis
Praxis
4 years 3 months ago

I appreciate the article, and I’ve been hoping to see something about this because I only recently heard about this problem; but you’re not really doing much to tell us how to find it, are you?

I mean, if the fridge test is inconclusive, and the taste test requires you to have had the “real thing” for comparison, and if we live in a region where olive trees don’t grow (like where I live) which rules out local produce, how do I find which shelf-brand to buy? :/

MarkA
MarkA
4 years 3 months ago
I think maybe the point was that residents of the US in general may be better off buying California olive oil (since there’s no such thing as local olive oil in Wyoming or Wisconsin) than oil from Spain, Italy, or Greece. In many cases, imported olive oils are sold in bulk to companies that just label and bottle, so there’s more possibility of oil being diluted with other non-olive oils. If you live in Italy or Spain, stick with olive oil made in your own country since it’s more likely that the fraud is taking place with stuff that’s being… Read more »
eva
eva
4 years 3 months ago

If anyone is interested in reading more about the olive oil subject –there is a great book written by Tom Mueller called, “Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil”. He gives a history of olive oil and explains many traditions as well as fradulent practices in his book. He also explains the high standards of true olive oil and gives some preferable brands.

Teera
Teera
4 years 3 months ago

Are organic versions a good option? Or are they tainted as well?

Dave
Dave
4 years 3 months ago

Anyone know of a good source in the UK?

I’ve just checked my huge Filippo Berrio, and it’s not good 🙁

Gary Conway
4 years 3 months ago

elolivo-olive-oil.com

http://www.oliveology.co.uk

These are next on my list to try

Amy
Amy
4 years 3 months ago

So what is someone to do when you live in a small town in Nebraska? In my town we have a Wal-Mart, and two other grocery stores and I’m pretty sure none of them carry “local” olive oil. Is there maybe a choice that’s less evil than say the Wal-Mart brand, which I have by the way and says, Ingredients: Extra Virgin Olive Oil and that it’s a product of Greece, Italy, Spain, Tunisia… but distributed by Wal-Mart.

Mark
Mark
4 years 3 months ago

Amazon.com 😉

Limbo Lizard
Limbo Lizard
4 years 3 months ago

Walmart’s Great Value brand of both ‘100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil’ and the more refined ‘Pure Olive Oil’ easily solidify in the refrigerator. And they ranked surprisingly higher than many ‘quality’ name brands, in that California study. Since it’s not important to my self-perception to be hatin’ on Walmart, it’s a good, economical ‘everyday oil’, for me to use. Depending on your priorities, you might want to save more of a limited budget for organic veggies and grass-fed meats, and the occasional purchase of a very high-end EVOO, to be enjoyed as one would an expensive wine.

Mark
Mark
4 years 3 months ago

I thought good EVOO was supposed to have a slight burn in the back of the throat? Even one part of the article talks about a spicy taste to it.

I use Spectrum and it solidifies and leaves a slight kick at the end.

Rebecca
Rebecca
4 years 3 months ago

There’s a little winery in Arkansas called Raimondo’s, and they import olive oil from all over the world, depending on where it’s in season. They have a single varietal Picual olive oil right now that is amazing–peppery, grassy, and green. I’m pretty sure they have a website you can order from.

Rebecca
Rebecca
4 years 3 months ago
Looked up the website, and they even have information on the polyphenol content. Here’s the description, with a link at the end. I’ve been to the winery, but I have no other connection with them (besides being a proud Arkansan!). Organic Picual Extra Virgin Olive Oil Origin: Australia –By Cobram Estate, Boundary Bend Ltd Crush Date: Early Harvest 2011 – April-May 2011   Flavor Intensity: Medium Intensity Flavor: Green leaf aroma, strong hints of almond and fig and finishes with notes of avocado and unripe tomato  Suggested Uses – Picual Olive Oil will maintain flavor when cooked and is ideal for baking, sauce making or… Read more »
Susan Alexander
4 years 3 months ago
I love Frantoia olive oil. Whenever I serve it, people go crazy over it and ask what kind it is (including Europeans who know their stuff). It comes in a clear bottle, which surprises me. But through the glass you can see its beautiful color and incredible viscosity. It’s way better than many kinds I’ve had from tins. I use Frantoya for pretty much everything. It’s especially good for dipping raw veggies in (you can pour some oil in a little bowl and sprinkle Herbs de Provence on top, for a festive look on a tray). Sometimes I’ll chop up… Read more »
Susan
Susan
4 years 3 months ago

What about for those of us who can only stand the flavor of “light tasting” olive oil? Am I better off skipping it altogether? I’ve tried different kinds of what I thought was good olive oil over the years and to me, it all tastes awful!

Interesting article either way.

Limbo Lizard
Limbo Lizard
4 years 3 months ago

No, I wouldn’t skip it. The “light taste” oil has more of the greenish chlorophyll and other compounds refined out, but the basic oil remains, and is one of the “good oils”. The more refined oil may even be less susceptible to oxidation (so I read), since the chlorophyll is gone. I use both EVOO and the “light”, depending on whether the taste goes well with what I’m using it for.

Tania
Tania
4 years 3 months ago

You might be better off skipping it. Light olive oil is not EVOO. It usually means it is a refined oil. It is made from chemically extracting whatever is left from the olive paste/waste after the EVOO is extracted. Sometimes the olives are processed several times.

Light oils are also often mixed with seed oils.

jcase
jcase
4 years 3 months ago

Safeway Select brand Extra Virgin olive oil doesn’t pass the fridge test

Foxylibrarian
Foxylibrarian
4 years 3 months ago

Supposedly the business of debasing/adulterating European olive oil is more profitable than the cocaine trade in Europe – and with none of the risks! The New Yorker had a wonderful article about the scandal olive entitled Slippery Business that was later expanded into a book. I always buy Californian.

Sharon
Sharon
4 years 3 months ago
The taste test is hardly conclusive. Different oils have different flavor profiles. They are not always made from the same type of olives so comparisons are hard. Some are very spicy, bitter, and green while others are more golden, mellow, and buttery. All of them have a lot of flavor which cannot be said of the mass-produced neutral oils like soybean, cottonseed, or canola (or olive oil produced with heat and solvents, for that matter). Whole Foods usually carries a variety of EVOO in bulk foods and you can taste them before you buy. I’ve been pretty pleased with the… Read more »
Tania
Tania
4 years 3 months ago
I’ve been amazed at the different tasting oils we’ve produced using just the one variety of backyard olives. If we pick early in the season, when the olives are quite green, the oil is much more grassy and has a really lovely, slightly bitter taste. It was only after a few years that we learnt we should pick our olives when they get a blush of pink colour. Then we get a lot more oil and still a lovely taste. A lot of commercial producers leave their olives until they are a very dark colour. The flavour is more bland,… Read more »
Tania
Tania
4 years 3 months ago

oops, still *liquid* is what I meant to say.

Marissa
4 years 3 months ago

such great info as i’ve often wondered what kind of quality (or lack thereof) i am getting in the olive oil that i buy.

Patty
Patty
4 years 3 months ago
There is a store that sells Olive Oil and Vinegar at the Gateway Mall in Salt Lake City, that I discovered last month. They have a shop in Park City also. I make my salad dressing with the oil and different balsamic vinegars daily. I only make enough dressing for that day. I had a BBQ last month and made some oil/vinegar dressing and some creamy “ranch”. The ranch wasn’t touched but I had to make more oil/vinegar. I grew up in Northern CA with Olives and I love their olive oil. You can buy it here in Utah. Lovely… Read more »
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