Frequently Asked Questions
What is extra virgin olive oil?
The “extra” in EVOO represents the absolute highest grade for olive oil; the best you can buy. Virgin oil is classified “extra” when it has less than .8% free oleic acid.
How do you store olive oil?
Olive oil should be stored in a cool, dark place; well controlled pantry conditions are recommended. Light and heat are two of the primary enemies of olive oil. Packaging in dark glass is also important to shield olive oil from UV rays and light. It does not need to be stored in the refrigerator.
How long does olive oil stay good?
The other enemy of olive oil is “time.” Freshness provides key taste attributes, and 12 months after harvest you will begin to lose that fresh taste. Additionally, the Vitamin E content will begin to naturally decrease after that first year of use. Like many other consumable products, olive oil does have a shelf life.
What are the nutritional components of olive oil?
A tablespoon of olive oil contains 120 calories, 14 grams of fat, and no cholesterol. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of the fat in olive oil is monounsaturated and nine percent (9%) is polyunsaturated fat; fourteen percent (14%) is vegetable-derived saturated fat. Extra Virgin olive oils also contain the antioxidants beta-carotene and Vitamin E, as well as the phenolic compounds tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol. Olive oil contains no salt and is naturally cholesterol-free. While there is no scientific consensus, studies suggest that when substituted for saturated fats, monounsaturated fat lowers blood cholesterol, especially the “harmful” low density lipoproteins (LDL) while protecting the “good” high density lipoproteins (HDL).
Should one cook with EVOO?
Certainly. High quality EVOO is suitable for sautés, sauces, marinades, vinaigrettes, in addition to being a fine finishing oil, or simply enjoyed with a baguette. Be careful however, to never leave any sauté pan on a stovetop alone as olive oil at high heat has the capacity to burn. Keep the temperature below 450 degrees and you should be fine.
Why is olive oil superior to other oils?
Taste is the most obvious difference between olive oil and the store-bought vegetable oils. Vegetable oils are basically tasteless, and merely add fats without adding taste. Extra virgin olive oil adds a specific fresh flavor all its own, making it a great replacement for butter and margarine in almost any situation. Extra virgin olive oil, plain or flavored, is becoming very popular as a dipping or topping for bread, as an addition to recipes in place of butter, and as a component of marinades and salad dressings. Vegetable oils are usually extracted using petroleum-based chemical solvents, and then must be highly refined to remove impurities. Along with the impurities, refining removes taste, color and nutrients. Extra virgin olive oils are not processed or refined. Extra virgin olive oil is fresh pressed from the fruit of the olive tree, leaving the color, taste, vitamins & nutrients intact. Due to its antioxidant components, olive oil keeps itself from oxidizing; so it keeps itself fresh longer than vegetable oils.
Can I replace butter and margarine with olive oil?
Yes, please! Use it on vegetables, rice, potatoes, in baking, on toast…just about anything! It is a great way to stay healthy too.
What are the health benefits of EVOO?
Extra virgin olive oil is an important source of antioxidants. The most important are polyphenols, antioxidants, and tocopherols (vitamin E). There are as many as 5.5 mg of polyphenols antioxidant in every tablespoon of olive oil (15 ml) and 1.6 mg of Vitamin E per tablespoon of olive oil. Total proximate of antioxidants: 7 mg in every 15 ml of olive oil. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of antioxidants (vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, etc.) for a 25-year-old male for antioxidants is 120 mg/day. That means that extra virgin olive oil could be 12% of the daily source of antioxidants in your diet if you just use two tablespoon of EVOO in your salads; it could be almost 30% if you drizzled it over fish/meat or roast vegetables or used it for bread dipping.
Why is it important to consume antioxidants?
Antioxidants are associated with several healthful effects in humans:
ATHEROSCLEROSIS: Oxidized low-density lipoproteins (LDL) contribute to the progression of human atherosclerosis. Antioxidants have been shown to prevent LDL modification caused by oxidation. The beneficial effects of a Mediterranean-type diet may be defined by the unique antioxidant properties of its phenolic compounds.
ANTIMICROBIAL ACTIVITY: Olive polyphenols have been demonstrated to inhibit or delay the rate of growth bacteria such as Salmonella, Cholera, Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, and Influenza in vitro. The data from these studies suggest a potential role of olive polyphenol antioxidants in promoting intestinal and respiratory human and animal wellness and as an antimicrobial food additive in pest management programs.
HEART DISEASE: Researchers are fairly certain that oxidative modification of LDL-cholesterol (sometimes called “bad” cholesterol) promotes blockages in coronary arteries that may lead to atherosclerosis and possible heart attacks. Vitamin E may help prevent or delay coronary heart disease by limiting the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol. Research suggests that olive oil helps reduce inflammation throughout the human body.
CANCER: Recent studies have shown that the abundant phenolic antioxidant properties of olive oil have a potent effect on reactive oxygen species associated with colon and breast pathologies. Some polyphenol antioxidants, such as resveratrol, inhibit occurrence and/or growth of mammalian tumors.
SKIN DAMAGE AND PHOTOPROTECTION: The skin damage produced by overexposure to sun-rays and environmental stress is related to the destructive activity of free oxygen-related radicals produced by skin cells. Polyphenolic components of olive oil have been compared to traditional antioxidants used by the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry to prevent skin damage. Results show polyphenols as having the highest activity as radical scavengers. A variety of other beneficial health effects have been attributed to consumption of foods rich in polyphenolic antioxidants. Among these effects discussed are anti-aging consequences such as slowing the process of skin wrinkling.
What is balsamic vinegar?
There are two types of balsamic vinegar: Traditional and Commercial. A quasi-governmental body in Modena, Italy (balsamic vinegar’s birthplace) regulates the production of TRADITIONAL BALSAMIC VINEGAR. The white and sugary Trebbiano grapes, grown in the Northern Region of Italy near Modena, form the base of the world’s only true balsamic vinegars. The grapes ripen on the vine for as long as possible to develop their sugar. The juice, or “must,” is pressed out of the grapes and boiled down. Then the vinegar production and aging process begins, initially in oaken kegs. Over the years it graduates to smaller and smaller kegs made of chestnut, cherrywood, ash, mulberry, and juniper until it is ready for sale. These woods progressively add character to the vinegar.
How should balsamic vinegar be stored?
Just as we’ve described with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar’s enemies are light and heat; so cool and dark storage spaces are the best.
Will the light, or white balsamic vinegars, change color?
All light balsamic vinegar is subject to oxidation. Over time, this natural process leads to a darkening of the vinegar from gold to a deep amber color. This process does not affect the flavor of the balsamic vinegar in any way. If appearance is critical, we recommend that these light vinegars be consumed within three months of purchase and then refrigerated to slow the deepening of color.
Do you recycle Midtown Olive Oil bottles or bottles from other olive oil stores?
We do not recycle MOO bottles, but we do offer a refill program. Simply remove the gold tab, discard the cork stopper and rinse your empty bottle with warm soap and water. You can also run it through the dishwasher. This will remove the residue of any oil or vinegar left in your bottle. You can bring in your clean bottle and we will refill it with any Olive Oil or vinegar of your choice. At checkout, you will receive a discount from your purchase depending on the size bottle that you are refilling. We do not refill or recycle bottles from other vendors.