The ABCs of Olive Oil: A to H
Discovering the story of olive oil is as simple as A-B-C!
If we had to name three random things the La Española team love, it would be olive oil (okay, not so random), learning new things about the world, and making lists. From shopping lists and ingredients lists to top ten top tips, give us an opportunity to make a list and we’re all over it. Even that opening sentence contained a list!
So, when we were asked to create a combination of all three, a list of fun facts about olive oil, we were in absolute heaven. And then we had the idea to write it in the form of an alphabet…Oh yes, this is what dreams are made of!
Ready? Good. In the immortal words of Julia Andrews ‘Let’s start at the very beginning’ and make discovering golden nuggets about liquid gold as easy as Do-Re-Mi, 1-2-3 and, you guessed it, A-B-C!
A is for Andalucía
You could say Andalucía is the home and heart of La Española; it is the region where all our fresh 100% Spanish olives are grown. Each year, this small province of Southern Spain produces more olive oil than the whole of Italy. That’s a lot, but perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised, Spain is responsible for producing around half of the world’s olive oil!
We thank the climate conditions and the soil composition for such a rich and high-quality crop yield. Andalusia has one of the warmest and driest summers in Spain, but in the west of the region, winter weather systems from the Atlantic bring plentiful rainfall. This means, as a whole, the region actually enjoys above-average annual rainfall compared to the whole of Spain. It’s perfect for growing gorgeous olives.
Have you got La Española Extra Virgin Olive Oil at home?
You can now track your very own bottle back to its source in Spain!
B is for Baking
Between unfounded fears of burning the olive oil and outright misinformation about the fat contents, flavour or smoke point, so many people are still missing out on the delicious richness that olive oil can bring to bread, pastries, cakes and more! Trust us, there’s no reason why you can’t heat olive oil - we’ve crafted specific products for that very reason. For example, La Española’s Light In Colour Olive Oil is brilliant as a healthy substitute for butter or lard in baking, working especially well for cakes!
C is for Colour
There’s a lot to be said about colourful diets. So much that we wrote an entire article on the subject! Essentially, colourful natural food is the most rich in phytochemicals such as beta-cryptoxanthin and beta-carotene, which appear in olives.
While we’re talking about colours, the notion that green olive oil is better-tasting and higher quality is an urban myth. It’s mostly down to the variety of olives used to produce the oil that determines its color, or the ripeness at time of harvest; unripe olives create greener oil and ripe, purple-black olives produce golden-toned oil. The fact that the color of the oil is greener does not necessarily indicate that the oil is of a better quality.
D is for DIY
Rolling up your sleeves. Donning an apron. Getting your hands dirty. Most things in life are most satisfying and most rewarding when you do-it-yourself. This is so true when it comes to homemade foods and successfully recreating all our favourites from scratch. That’s one of the reasons La Española has been co-creating DIY guides for homemade and handmade recipes and remedies. Missed them? Don’t worry, they’re all available to download here.
Also, did you know that we can help you create a completely customised bottle of extra virgin olive oil with La Española DIY? Whether it’s for your foodie friend’s birthday, your business or for your own kitchen, the result is a truly personalised product designed by you. From just 6 units, in four simple steps, you can enjoy the experience of creating something exclusive: Get started now.
E is for Extra Virgin
Okay, you might think that was low-hanging fruit (get it?) but we couldn’t pass on this chance to clear up the difference that the ‘Extra Virgin’ makes.
Extra-virgin olive oil is an unrefined oil, the highest-quality olive oil you can buy, and it’s more to do with the processes involved in production that lead us to a higher quality oil.That’s right, it’s nothing to do with the colour or where the olives are from.
Non-EV oils, such as La Española Pure Olive Oil, are a perfect blend of virgin olive oil and refined oil, mixed and obtained without the need to add any solvents. This oil is ideal for cooking because it has a more neutral taste and a higher smoke point.
F is for Fat
Yes, olive oil is a pure FAT. It’s very FATTY. There are lots of CALORIES in FAT and olive oil contains LOTS OF CALORIES.
Did that trigger you at all? We wouldn’t blame you if it did. The sugar industry has done a really good job at demonising fat and fatty foods over the years. And even though we are all now savvy about which food groups lead to weight gain, there’s still a widespread prejudice against fats. But, not all fats are bad fats.
G is for Good fat
Olive oils are now recognised as good fats. The main type of fat found in all kinds of olive oil is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, such as MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acid). If you replace saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats, such as MUFA s and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), you may gain certain health benefits.
We looked at this topic in a little more details in our myth-busting blog post
H is for Hair masks
It’s relatively common knowledge that olive oil is good for your body - but it’s not just your insides that can benefit from the fab fruit juice. Olive oil, especially Extra Virgin Olive Oil, is fantastic at refreshing, rehydrating and revitalising your hair. As a natural moisturiser, olive oil is perfect for locking moisture into your locks, leaving your hair smooth, glossy, full-bodied and frizz-free.
Want to give it a go but looking for guidance? Click here for our page on olive oil beauty tips and click here a guide you can download that is packed with our collaborations with Instagram bloggers, sharing their secrets to brighter skin and perfect hair!
To be continued...
Do you think you can finish the list before we do?