November 4, 2010

New Olive Oil

How to describe the distinct, polyphonic, greeny, assertive, fresh, piquant, sublime taste of just-pressed olive oil?  We tried first tastes here in North Carolina this weekend and again marveled at the punch it delivers.  I toasted bread then gave it a quick soak in the new oil.  The oil from 2009 is on the right; the new oil on the left.  Look at the color difference!!  At this stage just-pressed oil is bursting with health-improving properties, as well as the indescribable taste.  The 2009 oil is still excellent.  It mellows over time.


Green as it looks, the photo still doesn’t capture the depth of color.

Your cooking skills quadruple when you cook with the freshest oil available.  In stores, do look at the expiration date and the harvest date.  The farther away the expiration date, the better, although well-stored oil lasts a long time.  It just loses its pep slowly. On the other hand, badly stored oil goes south quickly.  A week in a sunny window and it’s lost.  Look on the label for a specific place of origin.  If it says “Product of Italy,” or product of anywhere, that probably means it’s a blend of olive oil (from who knows where) that was bottled in Italy.  Many inexpensive oils sold in American discount stores are blends of oils that did not sell in their first year.  If an extra virgin oil from Italy is cheap, I’m 99% sure that something is amiss.  We get one liter PER TREE!!!  When you know that, you understand that  first-quality oil has to be much more costly.  I get incensed when I look through the olive oils and balsamic vinegars in the grocery stores here.  So much misleading information!  All you can read on the two subjects will arm you against buying a dreary product–oily, stale olive oil, or balsamic with caramel added.

Since Ed only had a carry-on bag, he brought back medicine bottles holding less than three ounces so we could share an immediate taste.  Not very appetizing to see but a joy to behold anyway. Looks like ear drops. We’re loving it, drop by drop, until the five-liter cans arrive in a week.