Oh the interesting things you learn about Olive Oil in the midst of the la raccolata (olive harvest) in Italy. Namely it’s time to bin the flavourless tuna caught by pole and kept in water to the cat and return to the succulent tuna canned in olive oil, that is if you want to consume it with its essential Omega 3 oils practically intact.
Italy’s olive oil harvest is in full swing, which gave us an excuse to nip into Teramo’s hills and its strada dell’olio than runs from Montepagano to Notaresco to try Abruzzo dop Pretuziano Olive Oil. The local groves have been famed throughout Italy for their olive oil right back to the Italic tribe that this Italian dop olive oil is named after. We stopped off at Frantoio Montecchia to try this year’s olio nuovo, amazing not just in colour and smell but taste too which A adored after it had been poured generously over 2 slices of bread that he demolished.
The biggest olive oil buying tip I can pass on after a decade shuttling between Italy and the UK, avoid buying olive oil that is sold in a clear bottle. Light destroys the chlorophyll responsible for the green colour which protects the oil and makes it pro-oxidant.
The olive mill gave me this really useful list of the 10 things you didn’t know about olive oil which is a bit of an eye-opener. I had an Italian Great Aunt that the rest of the family used to think batty as she took a spoonful of olive oil daily and insisted on using this only for her cooking, she had the last laugh and outlived them all, perhaps this is why.
- That … by storing tuna in extra virgin olive oil it maintains its omega-3 contents intact
- That… extra virgin olive oil contains oleocanthal , which gives the oil its pungenet charateristic and has an anti-inflammatory action similar to Ibuprofen, Beautchamp et al…
- That… extra virgin olive oil provides a sense of fullness, useful for those with big-appetites
- That … extra virgin olive oil helps activate the digestive secretions necessary to counter intenstine intolerance and allergies
- That… extra virgin olive oil keeps cholesterol LDL levels low, and combined with a balanced diet helps to maintain low blood pressure levels
- That … the composition of the fatty acids contained in extra virgin olive oil, the inoleic:linolenic ratio is extremely similar to breast milk.
- That … monosaturated fatty acids (olive oil contains on average 75%) protects again breast cancer**
- That… extra virgin olive oil contains a-tocpherol (85%) which is the most important Vitamin E: it is a power antioxidant and is easily aborbed by the body *
- That… the bitter flavour of extra virgin olive oil is given by polyphenols which counteract the free radicals and reduce cellular agin (these substances are asbsent in seed oil) – L J Dominguez, M Barbagallo, Mediterranean Diet & Longevity
- That… the oleic acid and the antioxidantfrom the oil help protect against cardiovascular diseases
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