California Grown Olive Oil: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know + 9 Easy Recipes!
You probably already know all about the incredible health benefits of olive oil (top line: it’s anti-inflammatory, rich in mono-unsaturated fats and loaded with antioxidants). Let’s take a look at how this “liquid gold” is made and, more importantly, the most delicious ways to incorporate it into your diet!
In the food world, there are fleeting trends (we’re looking at you, jello molds and low fat cookies) and then there are foods and ingredients with some serious staying power. To put it mildly, olive oil falls safely in the latter category. In fact, historians have uncovered evidence of the production of olive oil as far back as 6000 BCE.
A Brief History of Olive Oil
Even in it’s earliest renditions, it was incredibly versatile, being used for everything from lamp fuel, to religious ceremonies and anointing royalty. The first mention of using olive oil for culinary purposes was a few thousand years later, around the 4-5th century BCE. We’re not sure whose idea it originally was to try to ingest the lamp fuel, but we’re sure glad they did.
Meanwhile, in the Golden State…
Here in California, we were a little later to the game. Like many of your favorite agricultural commodities, the origins of California olive oil can be traced back to Franciscan monks in 18th century. Spanish missionaries planted olives at each of the missions established between San Diego and Sonoma. The original plantings flourished in California’s cooperative climate and by the mid-1800’s the Golden State was home to a burgeoning industry.
The California Difference
California olive oils are produced from a selection of over 75 olive varieties and through a wide range of methodologies – from labor intensive, traditional hand harvesting to those that are highly mechanized. The range of climates and olive varieties allows for blends unique to California. These oils represent not only the incredible spectrum of flavors available in the olive, but also the agricultural and environmental diversity of California. There is truly a California extra virgin olive oil for every palate.
How is Olive Oil Made in California?
Extra virgin olive oil is a staple in California kitchens, but have you ever wondered how exactly olive oil is made? If you’ve ever plucked an olive straight from the tree, you know it’s nothing like the golden liquid that flavors so many of our favorite dishes. We caught up with fourth generation farmer, Rolland Rosenthal, who walked us through the process involved in the production of extra virgin olive oil.
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Cake is always a good idea – but this dense, flavorful olive oil cake from our friends at The Feed Feed is the BEST idea.
Want to know the secret to this delicious dip?Look for high quality California Grown EVOO. You really can taste the difference!
Choose a mild, buttery oil to complement the sweet apples and subtle spices in this moist and delicious cake recipe.
We can’t wait to see your creations! Snap a pic and share on social using #CAGROWN!
FAQs About Olive Oil!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Despite the fact that olive oil has a higher smoke point, EVOO has been proven to be the safest, most stable option for home chefs. As a result, the antioxidants in EVOO are believed to contribute to its high stability when heated. And no, they don’t burn off. Studies have shown that Extra Virgin Olive Oil retained most of its nutritional benefits after 36 hours at a temperature of 365 degrees!
U.S. Extra Virgin Olive Oil for oil with excellent flavor and odor and free fatty acid content of not more than 0.8 g per 100 g (0.8%); Certified California EVOO must also pass a sensory analysis by a group of experts, called an organoleptic panel evaluation.
U.S. Virgin Olive Oil for oil with reasonably good flavor and odor and free fatty acid content of not more than 2 g per 100 g (2%);
U.S. Olive Oil is a mixture of virgin and refined oils;
U.S. Refined Olive Oil is an oil made from refined oils with some restrictions on the processing.
By definition, EVOO should be free from any additives. For instance, did you know that DYK that EVOO is the only food on the planet whose classification relies on the results of a human taste test? Tasters are trained to look for taste defects or unwanted flavor. As a result, any additives would make this subtle determination impossible.
Olive oil is always in season in California! Other year round crops in the Golden State include wine, nuts, tomatoes, honey, strawberries and dried fruit! Hungry yet? Check out our “Always in Season” recipe round up!
For peak freshness, open bottles of olive oil within two years of the harvest date. Once the bottle is opened, the product will retain peak freshness for three to six months.
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