Long before olive oil became indispensable in kitchens of the best chefs, researchers found that people in the Mediterranean region were generally healthier and lived longer than others. They knew that this was mainly due to their healthy diet, including their significant use of olive oil.
In 1990, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published an illuminating report on the health benefits of EVOO. In the large scale study, nearly 5,000 Italian men and women were studied on their risk for heart disease associated with their consumption of vegetable oil, butter, and olive oil. The conclusion suggests that polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, may be associated with a lower coronary risk profile.
Zest Naturel is proud to take this tradition of wonderful cooking and nutritional benefits one step further by offering you internationally acclaimed, great tasting, cold-pressed, natural olive oil – in 5 different styles.
What is olive oil?
Olive oil is a fat. Olive oil is one of the healthiest replacements for any oil/fat used in cooking or salads. Olive oil is a good oil unlike regular cooking oil commonly used here in Singapore, such as palm oil. Olive oil contains no cholesterol. Olive oil contains more monounsaturated fatty acids than any other oil. Olive oil is the most easily absorbed edible oil. Replacing saturated fats with olive oil as the main fat in your diet will actually reduce your cholesterol levels.
How is olive oil made?
After harvesting the olives, they must be taken to an olive mill for processing as quickly as possible – preferably within a few hours. Leaves, twigs and debris are removed, the olives washed, and then the olives are ground into a paste either using huge millstones or by mechanical means. In the traditional process, the paste is spread onto circular mats and entered into a press, which pushes out the juice, leaving the “pomace” behind. The juice is a mixture of oil and fruit water, so it’s now left to stand for an hour during which time the oil and water will naturally separate. The oil is then siphoned off to another vat where any particles drift to the bottom allowing the pure olive oil to be collected. The more modern method presses the olives using centrifuges to separate the juice from the pomace and then oil from the juice water.
What does extra virgin mean?
It is the purest and best quality olive oil. It must be made from the first pressing of the olives with an acidity of no more than 0.8%.
Can you use Extra Virgin Olive Oil for cooking?
You can cook and fry with olive oil. When used in frying, olive oil coats food instead of being absorbed. It also contains high amounts of antioxidants. You can also bake with olive oil. Just replace the same amount for butter called for in the recipe with olive oil. The result is moist, consistent textured baked goodies. Check out our blog in a week’s time, we’ll be putting up recipes for some amazingly delicious ideas.
What is the smoke point for extra virgin olive oil?
Smoke point refers to the temperature at which oil begins to break down and produce smoke. Smoke points vary with quality of oil. Extra virgin olive oils with lower free fatty acid levels have higher smoke points. A high quality EVOO will typically have a smoke point higher than 200° Celsius.
What are Polyphenols?
Polyphenols are important antioxidants, natural anti-inflammatory agents, found in greatest concentrations in high quality EVOO. One of the most important health constituents of olive oil is hydroxytyrosol, a potent polyphenol. Hydroxytyrosol can slow the aging process in the skin by stabilizing the cell plasma membrane. Research also supports that diets rich in olive oil especially those olive oils with high polyphenol levels are associated with healthier breast tissue, colon function, cholesterol levels and cardiovascular function including substantially reducing the risk of stroke. Links have been found that show that people who follow a Mediterranean diet have a lower mortality rate than those who follow a more traditional Western diet with high amounts of saturated fat.
Why does Zest Naturel source olive oil from ALTO Olives?
Picture: ALTO olive grove
We could go on and on, but key to ALTO’s great EVOOs is the superb terroir of their farm at the foothills of Australia’s Great Dividing Range near Crookwell, New South Wales. Apart from mid-winter, the days are sunny and warm and the nights cool, superb conditions for olive growing. Attributed to their high altitude location; Alto Olives Extra Virgin oils are high in polyphenols which is the major compound that makes EVOO such an excellent oil for people.
By crafting from peak condition premium quality olives, crushing and centrifuging on-farm within hours of harvest, and without the use of chemicals or excessive heat, ALTO’s EVOOs maximize the oil’s outstanding health benefits and freshness.
Check out their farm here.