Common Customer Questions about Olive Oil

What is olive oil?
Olive oil is created by crushing a bunch of olives resulting in olive oil and water. The olive oil will float to the top. That's the simplicity of making olive oil!

What color is good olive oil?
The color of olive oil is not an indication of quality. Olive oil should be chosen based on taste, not for its color. 

How should I store olive oil?
Olive oil should be kept away from light and heat. Ideally, keep olive oil away from the window sill or next to the stove . Instead, store unopened bottles in a dark cupboard or cool basement. Once you open a bottle, try to use it all within 3-4 months.

Why does some olive oil taste bitter?
Want to taste bitter? Try an olive picked off a tree! Olives are bitter and so is good olive oil. Bitterness, along with pungency and fruitiness are all present and well-balanced in the very best olive oils.

Why is olive oil so healthy?
Olive oil is known as one of the best sources of monounsaturated fatty acids, a type of fat that has been shown to improve blood cholesterol levels. The antioxidants in olive oil have also been shown to help fight a multitude of diseases. 

What does "extra virgin" mean?
First, olive oil is considered "extra virgin" when it has been produced by a simple pressing of the olives. Other grades like "olive oil" are usually produced using chemicals and other processes to extract the oil from the olives. Second, extra virgin must meet certain laboratory tests on things like acidity and levels of peroxide. Finally, extra virgin olive oil must taste like olives and it can't have any negative tastes that professionals refer to as "defects."

How do I know if olive oil is fresh?
First, make sure you can find the "bottled on" date or the "best before" date. The fresher, the better. If you can't find dates (or if they are approaching, or past) choose another olive oil. A good olive oil can be used within two years of its "bottled on" date, but within one year is better. Similarly, try to find an olive oil that has a "best before" date which is at least one year in the future. Sometimes you'll see "harvest" dates such as "2014/2015." Try to use olive oil within the year it was harvested. So if it says 2014/2015, it should be used within 2015 -- not into 2016.

How do I know if an olive oil is good or not?
Taste it. Pour a little into a small shot glass or on a spoon and slurp it down. Close your eyes and really taste it. If you're tasting an extra virgin olive oil, it should taste "green" and like olives. You might detect other notes like banana or grass. Other grades will not taste like much because they have been treated to remove unpleasant tastes. But you should not detect any bad tastes, such as cardboard or metallic. You might sometimes taste nice flavors in lower grades due to the small amount of extra virgin that is added.

How long can I keep a bottle of olive oil?
As long as it's stored away from heat and light, an unopened bottle of good quality olive oil will be fine for up to two years from the date it was bottled. Once the bottle is opened, it should be used within a few months.

Which country makes the best olive oil?
The best olive oil in the world is made in Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Tunisia, Syria, Chile, Argentina, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and a bunch of other countries. The worst olive oil in the world is made in all of those same places. Get the point?
While some countries can boast that they have the know-how of countless generations of olive oil makers, the fact is that olive oil is only as good as this year's production. Olive oil competitions throughout the world try to declare each season's champion. But there are many perfect olive oils that never get judged that way, but instead are shared by producers with their local communities, families and friends like a well-kept secret.

How do you cook with olive oil?
Unless you cook with very high heat (heat beyond what most residential stoves can even achieve), you can use olive oil for all of your cooking. Extra virgin olive oil does lose its great taste when it's heated to a point, so you might want to choose a more economical grade when you cook above a low/medium heat. If you're not too concerned about the cost, go ahead and use extra virgin for everything.

Can you fry with olive oil?
Yes! Extra virgin olive oil’s smoke point is generally given as 410 degrees Fahrenheit, far above 250-350 degrees that covers most cooking. Make fried food healthier by using olive oil. 

Is your olive oil and balsamic vinegar Kosher?
Yes! The Well Dressed Olive's olive oil and balsamic vinegars are all Certified Kosher!