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No surprise that some of the best
looking olive oil dispensers come
from Italy. This one by Giannini, a
sleek looking stainless steel olive oil
dispenser that will keep your olive
oil out of light’s way. It holds 33 fluid
ounces and is available from
lushbite.com
Olive Oil is also graded by acidity and the amount of free oleic acid in the oil is an
indicator of the quality of the oil.  Extra-virgin oil has the lowest level of oleic acid
(no more than 1%) and tastes more like olives and retains natural nutrients and
anti-oxidants found in olives.

The color of olive oil is dependent on many factors, such as the type of olive used,
and the location, by region and country; French, Spanish, Californian and Texas
olive oils tends to be lighter in color than Greek or Italian olive oil which are darker.
With any product olives are subjected to local soil conditions, environmental
factors while the olives are grown, such as the weather, the timing of the harvest,
as well as the methods of harvesting.

GREEN GOLD
by Georgina Callan

It’s another name for olive oil, the essential Mediterranean cooking ingredient that has become ubiquitous
in restaurants and homes. It’s that gorgeous green or golden green color that somehow seems to set off the
taste buds just by looking at the bottle, inviting visions of dunking hunks of bread into shallow bowls of the
green stuff.  But olive is a confusing product. Do you buy extra-virgin, or just virgin olive oil? Or will any olive
oil do? And where do you keep it and how do you store it—in a modern manner, of course?

Color will not enable you to distinguish a grade of olive oil so the darker the color oil does not mean that
the oil will taste better. There are several grades of olive oil, refined and unrefined, unrefined being
untreated while refined is treated. Refined oils tend to lack an “olive” smell and have little color,
flavor or bitterness.  They are often blended with unrefined olive oil to create “pure” olive oil—which
is a contradiction in terms not unfamiliar in the food marketing industry.

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For the Italian firm Alessi, architect and designer Marta Sansoni, created the “filo d’olio”,
a cap with a pouring spout that fits into the neck of a bottle.  It can be purchased
with the glass container shown, which was designed for oil tastings.
alessi.com

It is possible to cook with extra-virgin olive oil but it has a lower smoke point so it will
burn at a lower temperature and should be used for salads, dipping and cold
dishes.

“Light” olive oil is not a diet or low calorie version of olive oil. It’s a refined oil suitable
for cooking and baking because it has a higher smoke point.

Storage is important both in the extraction process and in the subsequent packaging.
It is not a marketing trend that olive oil is stored in dark containers. Olive oil exposed
to light and heat will turn rancid.  That’s why it’s a good idea to keep the container
away from sunlight and from the stove top, in a cool area of the kitchen. Some
people store their olive oil in a fridge to prolong shelf-life.  If you just want to
recycle an existing dark bottle, then here’s another option for a stopper.
Oxo pourer available at williams-sonoma.com

For anyone interested in learning more about olive oil, making and or packaging
their own, this website is very helpful
 wholesale.oliveoilsource.com, as is
the
texasoliveoilcouncil.org
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