Monday, May 20, 2013


Moisten your face with water. Massage some extra virgin olive oil directly into your face. In the palm of your hand, put a small amount of sugar…not a sugar substitute…just some common granular.  Now, scrub the sugar into the olive oil that is on your face. Rinse until all the sugar granules go bye-bye. This will not only get rid of the dead, dry skin cells but leave your face with a natural, healthy glow.

Dry lips? Rub the olive oil on to both alleviate or prevent chapped lips. Makeup? Dabbing your eyes with a cotton ball or cosmetic pad with the olive oil will remove eye makeup, even that waterproof mascara. Ditch the contact lenses before you put any of the oil around your eyes.

Does it make a difference as to whether the olive oil is “extra virgin” when it comes to using it on your skin?  It may, if the olive oil is not true to its category, as companies have found ways to combine other types and lie about the label.

How can you be sure about what you are getting when shelling out for both quality and taste, let alone what could have a different affect on your skin? 

Most people are not aware that there are several olive growers in the United States, especially in California.  A company such as California Olive Ranch has a few varieties.  Let’s take the “ for everyday meals ilk”…first cold pressed.  The back of the label displays a harvest date and a “best used by” date as well.  The olive oil is also tested in a lab located at UC in Davis as many CA olive oils are and stamped with a label from the California Olive Oil Council. 

I happened to find this particular olive oil at a supermarket on sale at less than $6 for 16.9 fl.oz. and at it's regular price at Fairway. I was skeptic on the low price.  When I got home I called the company and was able to obtain some wonderful information and had a spokesperson as a guest on my internet radio show.   

According to Steven Jenkins, taster and buyer for Fairway Market, “California EVOOs are way more expensive than all of my best oils, and none of them are close to being as good.  What you need to strive for, regardless of origin, are early-harvest monocultivars.  Bitter and peppery means high in polyphenols.  This should become your mantra.” I guess that California Olive Ranch must be special.

Steven has researched each and every olive oil product that comes into the stores so you can be certain that not only are the labels correct, but that his own line of Fairway olive oils have been checked out as well. 
There is no doubt that many imported Extra Virgin Olive Oils are not as great on the palate and are not of high quality, the problem being that the regulations are not the same.  Labels may not show a harvest date but a “sell by” date.   As for the olives themselves, the label may show that the olive oil is imported from Italy, for instance, but that the olives are from Greece and Spain.  That may not matter as growers within that area tend to “co-op”. 

Olive growers here in the US have made their way to the Mediterranean areas and purchased the olive branches to grow on their ranch, which according to California Olive Ranch lowers the cost to the consumer. Compare for yourself.

A mild extra virgin olive oil of excellent quality will substitute well in baking.  Using it to sauté may not make as much of a difference but using it as a dressing or to dip some freshly made bread will have an effect on the palate.

A true tasting of olive oil is like tasting wine.  You wouldn’t be dipping the wine in bread.  Place a small amount in a shot glass. Place the palm of your hand on the bottom and the other on top to warm it.  Smell it. Taste by slurping…sipping both the oil and air. Note that the stinging sensation in the back of the throat is a good thing.  Like wine, various flavors will be detected and choices will be formed.

What does it “oil” boil down to?  It’s best to get olive oils in dark bottles as the oils need to be kept in a cool and dry place, away from light and used within a year.  Not only for taste, but that oils go rancid.  Choosing a reliable EVOO is more important regarding a nut allergy, in case the unscrupulous one contains peanut oil…but does not say it on the label.

Other than allergies, the way most important factors are the taste and price.  Just as you would not automatically buy a Merlot simply for the type of wine without knowing the origin or year, the same goes for EVOO. 

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