Characteristics of Olive Oil
The aromas of olive oil are a critical part of its flavor.
- Pungency is a peppery sensation, detected in the throat
Pungency is a positive characteristic of olive oil.
I recently made a green salad using olive oil infused with habanera chili.
A nice way to keep oil from pooling in the bottom of your salad bowl, is to pour a small amount of oil in the palm of your hand and toss the salad in your hands.
- Bitterness, the third of the three positive attributes of olive oil, in addition to fruity and pungent. Bitterness, like pungency, is also an acquired taste.
Since olive oil is made from uncured olives, varying degrees of bitterness can be found; oil made from riper fruit will have little to no bitterness, oil made from greener fruit can be distinctly bitter.
Rancidity—we will explore that when we look at the common defects of olive oil in another article. Olive oil can become rancid from exposure to light and heat,
“Premium extra-virgin olive oil” is nature’s finest, thanks to its extremely low acidity (possibly as low as 0.225 percent
“Extra-virgin olive oil” has a fruity taste and may be pale yellow to bright green in color. In general, the deeper the color, the more flavor it yields. IOOC regulations say extra-virgin olive oil must have a superior flavor and contain no more than 0.8 percent acidity, but other regulators set the acidity cut-off point at 1 percent.
As with the premium version, it is best to use extra-virgin olive oil uncooked in order to appreciate its flavor.
Quality and taste depend on the following conditions.
- Variety of olive used
- Location and soil conditions where the olives were grown
- Environmental factors and weather during the growing season
- Olive ripeness
- Timing of the harvest, harvesting method
- Harvesting method, length of time between the harvest and pressing
- Length of time between the harvest and pressing
- Pressing technique
- Packaging and storagemethods
Read our blog “Olive Tree Varieties used in Mexican Olive Oil” coming soon.