It takes an entire olive tree to produce one half liter bottle of olive oil!

Truly the giving tree! It’s takes the fruit of on entire tree to generate the oil needed for a 500ml bottle of oil.

Interesting and informative video here. It think that’s a fascinating factoid.

California Olive Ranch is really, really good olive oil. Worth every penny.

675 trees per acre is one tree every 64 square feet, or an 8’x8’ area per tree, or a plot where all the trees are spaced an even 16’ apart.

Forgive my ignorance, but how would ‘difficulty getting the fruit off the tree’ translate to ‘low quality’? Lower yield, sure. That whole paragraph reads like marketing bullshit.

If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow…


Ditto. It’s my go-to oil these days.

Don’t be alarmed now…

The faster you can get it from the tree and into the press, the better your quality is going to be. I suspect he’s exaggerating the importance a little bit, but that seems (to me) to be an inarguable fact.

This sounds an awful lot like a feature of Mao’s Great Leap Forward, which didn’t work so well for China…

On the subject of olive oil, I’ve heard that there’s a backlash against the people who overuse extra-virgin olive oil. What I read is that extra-virgin olive oil is for making a salad dressing or dipping your bread in. But it’s not for cooking. If you heat up extra-virgin olive oil it just vaporizes all of the subtle flavors that make it special. So when you’re cooking, you should just use a regular grade olive oil and you’ll get the same effect. The implication was that people who cook with extra virgin olive oil don’t really know what they’re doing and are just using the most expensive ingredients without understanding them.

I don’t think that’s anything new. For me, if I’m cooking with olive oil, I have a cheap
, but decent, brand like Goya or Costco’s organic that I use for cooking, and a better one (like Frantoia when I can find it) for dipping/finishing/salads/non-cooking applications. Both are extra virgin. The cheaper stuff is inexpensive enough that I don’t need to buy regular olive oil, or if I want to cut the flavor of extra virgin, I’ll mix in a neutral oil.

I get a big jug (2 liter?) of Pompeiian “olive oil” from Sam’s and use that for most cooking that calls for olive oil (I use a gallon jug of soybean or canola for the rest), and if I need extra-virgin, I get my olive oil from these guys (buy local and all that):

For 90% of what we cook, there’s no real flavor difference between the cheap stuff and the super-duper extra-virgin once you get to the end product, and the more refined stuff actually does work better for sauteing and other high-heat uses.

What do you mean exactly by “the more refined stuff”? It’s a trade term: refined means that it’s been treated after pressing to reduce acidity, it doesn’t mean “better”. So I wonder, are you using it in the trade way or in the general meaning of the word?

IME there’s a lot of difference between varieties and brands within the same category; there are extra oils which barely meet the standards; there’s some brands which haven’t obtained the “extra” label but which actually do meet the standards for it (they’re relatively new and would rather not force themselves to meet the more stringent specs). And the more-expensive “specialty” ones which I am seeing in supermarkets aren’t virgins any more even though the olives may have been: they’re infused with herbs, have “a touch of lemon” or whatnot. Oil cocktails, as a coworker nicknamed them.

To me, it sounds like he’s using “refined” to mean not the extra virgin grades. So, in other words, the cheaper, more processed, refined olive oils. So, he’s saying the non-extra virgin/cheaper stuff is better for sautéing and high-heat uses. That makes sense to me, not only for the reasons given above, but also because unrefined oils have a lower smoke point than refined oils.

Yeah, “more refined” probably wasn’t the most accurate term I could come up with, but pulykamell is right about what I was trying to say.

Thanks, it’s what I understood but I wanted to make sure I had.

You’re right, extra virgin isn’t actually very good for cooking. Its flavour is too strong, for starters.

In the US, there’s even a retail grade called “US Refined Olive Oil,” which is one of the mid-level/lower grades. I can’t remember whether I’ve ever actually seen it on labels, though. I thought I had, but now that I think about it, I generally remember seeing “extra-virgin,” “virgin” and just plain “olive oil.” I’ll have to look more closely next time I’m at the store.

It depends on what you’re cooking, in my opinion. My cooking usually takes advantage of animal fats, butter, or canola oil for 90% of my frying, but I’ve never had issue with starting a pasta sauce by frying my onions or battuto/soffritto in extra-virgin olive oil. Plus I want that olive oil flavor. If I’m using olive oil, that’s why. Otherwise, I’m using some other cooking fat. Now, in terms of the grade, I don’t have to be using EVOO, but the kind I use for cooking is tasty and inexpensive, and takes me months to get through, that there is no reason to use a different grade of oil. If I want to downplay the olive oil flavor (which, like I said, I don’t if I’m cooking with it), I can always cut it with canola.

And on the variety of olives. Virgin is actually stronger in flavor than extra virgin: the mixed ones (labeled “olive oil” and then in smaller lettering something along the lines of “a mixture of virgin and refined oils”) are again low-acidity.

Yes, that’s important to note, as well. Just looking it up, virgin could have up to 2% free acidity, and extra virgin only up to 0.8%. Refined oils are up to 0.3%.

But, yes, also within the “extra virgin” grade, you get a whole wide range of flavor, depending on the kind. Some taste deep and earthy–others are crisp, fruity, and peppery. And a whole range of tastes in between. Some I can sip straight from the bottle, others I prefer to use for cooking as a base flavor, but don’t like as much on its own.