By: Song Bird
1) How can you tell if the olive oil you are buying is in fact real and pure?
When trying to decide whether the olive oil you are buying is pure, you must search for 3 things: A crush date, a location it is imported from, and a certification.
Basically, you should be able to see when the olives were physically harvested crushed (and it should be within the last 6 months to a year), what country the olive oil came from, and it should have a certification (such as U.P. or I.O.C.) saying that it has been regulated under certain standards and deemed real, pure extra virgin olive oil. It is highly recommended that you go to olive oil shops as they are guaranteed to carry olive oil of the highest quality, although some grocery stores carry a few brands that can be trusted. Read more about it here:
2) Have you tasted every single oil & vinegar in your store?
Most of us in the store have tasted every oil & vinegar that we carry. A lot of the popular pairings came from us taste testing all the possibilities. We don’t just work here because it is a job, we love the product! That is why we get so excited to share our passion for olive oil & vinegar with every guest that comes in our little Winter Garden tasting shop!
3) Why can’t you sell the oil and vinegar in the same bottle?
We get asked this question almost daily! There are a few reasons that we sell our vinegar and oil separately. First, it is not recommended to store your olive oil & vinegar in the same container. Olive oil decreases in nutrients with natural oxidation, whereas vinegar gets better with age! Second, you may not want to use both on every dish. Although we love putting both oil & vinegar on most dishes, there are times where you may only want to use just oil or just vinegar. It is best to have that option by having two separate bottles.
4) How long does olive oil last?
Olive oil has a shelf life of about 2 years. It is sensitive to light and heat, so it is important to keep your olive oil bottle away from those two enemies! That is why we sell our olive oil in dark bottles, to protect it. Over time, your olive oil will lose some of its antioxidants due to normal oxidation, so it is always recommended to buy fresher olive oil. Fresh is best!
5) How long does vinegar Last?
Vinegar is self-preserving, so it doesn’t go bad! As long as you keep it capped, it has a shelf life of a few years as well as olive oil.
6) Should I refrigerate my olive oil & vinegar?
Although olive oil is sensitive to light and heat, there is no need to refrigerate it. In fact, olive oil will solidify a little when refrigerated, so we recommend keeping it in a cool, dry place such as a cupboard or pantry. We do suggest that you keep it stored far from the stove, and don’t leave it in the car as the Florida heat will diminish the natural polyphenols! Balsamic vinegar does not need to be refrigerated either unless you reduce it, then we would recommend keeping it in the fridge.
7) Is olive oil just used for salad dressings?
There are so many uses for both olive oil and vinegar including salad dressings, marinades, dessert toppings, and even just as condiments. Here are a few examples of oil and vinegar pairings and what you can use them for:
Chipotle Olive Oil & Espresso Balsamic= makes a great steak marinade!
Blood Orange Olive Oil & Dark Chocolate Balsamic= fantastic ice cream topping!
Persian Lime Olive Oil & Coconut Balsamic= Delicious over salmon!
So we encourage you to get creative! You never know what you will discover 🙂
8) What is the smoking point for olive oil? What happens if it reaches that point?
The smoking point is the temperature at which the oil begins to smoke and loses its nutritional value. Basically, you don’t want to heat up an oil past its smoking point because not only will it have lost its nutrition, but it can even become rancid. The smoking point for Extra Virgin Olive Oil is around 320 degrees F to 375 degrees F. It is always best to have olive oil raw to maintain all of its glorious antioxidants, so our recommendation is to use olive oil as a condiment instead of cooking with it, but you can cook with it on low heat.
9) Do I just drink it?
This is our favorite question because it is one that we all asked before we became team members. In our culture, the thought of drinking olive oil and vinegar is peculiar and just flat out gross! That is because our version of olive oil in grocery stores is not real! Most store-bought olive oils contain filler oils such as canola oil, which has a greasy feel to it. The thought of drinking canola oil grosses us out too… but when we tasted our olive oils for the first time and discovered the fresh taste, it all made sense. Real olive oil is not intimidating to drink, in fact most of our team members spend all of our days at The Sacred Olive taking shots of new pairings… that is olive oil and vinegar shots of course!