THEextra virgin olive oil it is one of the many excellences of the country. But not only is it good, it is also a concentrate of health. Rich in antioxidants, it helps keep blood sugar and cholesterol at bay and delays the aging of our cells. The new extra virgin olive oil is even richer. We talked about it with our experts.
The new extra virgin olive oil it is obtained by pressing the first olives harvested. “New means just pressed. We start to squeeze it from the beginning of October and continue until November 20: this date is established by the Consortium for the protection of Tuscan IGP extra virgin olive oil, but also in the other regions we can say that the period is about the same " , says Alissa Mattei, President of Knoil, an international association for spreading the culture of oil and expert agri-food chemistry.
How a product of excellence is born
"It is good to know, first of all, that olives are a fruit (olive oil is the only one that is obtained from fruits and not seeds) always green in color (regardless of the cultivar), which then becomes dark with maturation .
The harvesting phase is crucial to obtain quality products: whether it is manual or mechanical, it is It is essential that the shortest possible time passes between the moment in which the olives detach from the tree and that in which they are crushed.
The ideal is that they come collections by day, placed in aired crates so that they do not ferment, and squeezed the same evening. Then in the mill, the oily, aqueous and solid parts are separated », continues the expert. «The oily part, a mix between oil and water microparticles (hence the turbidity of the result) gives rise to that aromatic and fragrant magic that is the new oil».
How to choose olive oil
How to be sure of the goodness of the oil? «The country's extra virgin olive oil is of good quality: it is analyzed and certified by the International Olive Council which defines the chemical-physical and organoleptic parameters. Around 80 panels of tasters recognized by the Ministry of Agriculture apply these rules in the country. Each panel is made up of at least 8 tasters », says Alissa Mattei. To choose a good new oil, it is essential to know the main characteristics.
- Cold extraction «It is essential that the oil is cold extracted: it means that all stages of processing must remain below 27 ° C; it's a quality assurance because the low temperature preserves the nutritional properties longer and avoids the rancidity of the product », he says Giorgio Donegani, food technologist and nutrition expert in Milan.
- The taste «Coming to the taste, the freshly pressed oil is spicy, fragrant, aromatic e bitter», Explains Alissa Mattei. «Obviously these characteristics change according to the variety and ripeness of the olives. However, we can say that the bitter and spicy taste is produced by the polyphenol content, precious antioxidants that are good not only for extra virgin olive oil but also for our body », continues the expert. "The more there are, the more bitter and spicy the taste will be. Not only that: the polyphenols also protect the fats (triglycerides) of the oil from oxidation and rancidity. The greater the quantity of polyphenols, the longer the product is preserved.
- Low acidity «Another essential characteristic of new oil is that it has a low acidity: between 0,1 and 0,3% (that of a generic extra virgin olive oil is less than 0,8%)» warns Giorgio Donegani. «It is information that not all producers show on the label, but it is important because it indicates a low oxidation of fat: another factor that keeps it longer ”, underlines the food technologist.
- Fresh is best “Finally, we must say that it must be consumed quickly to enjoy all its properties. Let's say that it is purchased from mid-November and consumed at the latest by the end of January », suggests Alissa Mattei.
What to look for on the label
«The first thing to check is that the oil has the DOP or IGP mark because they are certifications that guarantee traceability and quality, since they must indicate the year of the oil campaign (2021-2021) and the variety of olives of origin », continues the expert.
"If you buy at the supermarket, from mid-November you must also look at promotions, flashes and collars on the bottles (the wording will be 'new oil' or 'new')", says Alissa Mattei.
Taste the new new oil in 4 steps
- The scent It starts like this: put two teaspoons of new oil in a small glass and heat it a little while holding the container in your hands to be able to fully savor the fragrance. Now swirl the content a bit so as to release the aromas, bring your nose to the glass and inhale several times, leaving a few seconds between one inspiration and another. This operation is called direct olfaction.
- The taste Now the tasting phase begins: put the new oil in your mouth, and make a sort of suck (as if you were using a straw) by throwing the tongue towards the palate, so as to get the aromatic part throughout the mouth and nose receptors (this perception is called retronasal). You should begin to recognize the fragrance of the fruity taste: the oil must taste like olive. After this operation of suck, push the oil all over the surface of the tongue and swallow it slowly. You will begin to feel the bitter taste. Immediately afterwards you will feel a burning in your throat, as if you have eaten some chili. This tingling is a tactile effect, typical of freshly pressed oil.
- To grasp the flaws One of the main defects of a low quality oil is the attribute of rancido: the taste is like that of butter left too long in the refrigerator. Another flaw you may feel is that the oil is winey: tastes like wine or vinegar. A further unpleasant effect derives from the presence of mold o yeast: occurs if the olives are left for a long time in humid conditions before being taken to the mill. The taste is precisely that of mold.