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Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is always a staple at our home. It’s healthy, and we prefer to use it over any other oil. Have you ever had authentic olive oil from Europe? Quite honestly, I thought olive oil was all the same. I couldn’t be more wrong! Thanks to the Flavor Your Life campaign, supported by the European Union, Unaprol, and the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, and their mission of shedding the light on European Extra Virgin Olive Oil, I know more about this revered commodity. With their help, US consumers can make informed decisions when purchasing Extra Virgin Olive Oil. They certainly opened my eyes!
Learn more about Extra Virgin Olive Oil, then scroll down for a super easy bruschetta recipe. Flavor your life with olive oil!
Did you know?
- Olives are drupes. It comes from the plant Olea europaea, or European olive. The drupes are harvested anytime druing their ripening process. To ensure freshness and purity, extraction happens without heat or chemicals.
- Little acidity. Almost EVOO acidity is below 0.8%, unlike other oils that are overly processed with higher levels of oleic acid. It’s all about quality rather than taste.
- High standards. To be designated with the Extra Virgin rating, the olive oil will need to be tested for low peroxide values. The lower the value, the fresher the oil and more rapid processing, which is needed for Extra Virgin designation. The experts also test for taste defects and the presence of positive attributes of fruitiness, bitterness and spiciness. If it doesn’t have the signature fruity taste and harmonious balance it won’t receive an Extra Virgin rating.
- Versatility. Olive oil has a high smoke point (400° F), and can handle deep-frying. You can bake with olive oil, too. Have dry skin? You can even use olive oil as a moisturizer. Who would have thought?
What to Look For:
I had not known much about olive oil, but after reading more I now know what to look for.
- Look at those labels. The European Union PDO certification (Protected Designation of Origin or DOP in Italian) lets you know that the oil was produced, processed and prepared in a specific region using traditional methods in that specific region’s characteristic style. Some even have QR codes that can be scanned, and will show the country of origin. Too cool!
- You’ll also find the country of origin on the label. Third party authorities constantly monitor these certifications.
- Pay attention also to the best buy date and lot number.
- Look at the color of the EVOO. The color of the EVOO will typically indicate what country it came from.
Tips on how to store EVOO:
- Think twice before putting it on a counter or near a store. Between uses, store your oil someplace dark and cool (around 57° F, if possible). Never in the fridge!
- Keep the lid screwed on tight.
- Use your oil within 6 months of opening, and within 18 months of purchasing.
Super Easy Kid-friendly Bruschetta Recipe
One of the easiest things to make with kids is bruschetta. I spied this super easy recipe from one of my favorite peoples, Jordan from Fun Cheap or Free. She has this awesome bruschetta recipe with none other than day old Jimmy John’s bread. We love our Jimmy John’s bread, and seriously who could beat the price of only 50 cents! Plus, she had this genius idea of freezing the bread. How have I never thought of this before? Mind blown! I updated her recipe with my own flair.
- 1 – 2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 chopped tomatoes
- Day Old bread from Jimmy John’s (or any baguette-type bread)
- Basil or Italian Spice
- Mozzarella or any preferred shredded cheese
- Cut bread.
- Spread olive oil on both sides of bread. My kids love helping out in the kitchen, and they couldn’t wait to dive in. Their job was to spread olive oil on both sides of the bread. We tried out Zucchi olive oil, a 200-year-old company that has been owned and managed by seven generations of the family, and we were instant fans.
- Put in the bread in the oven on low broil for a light brown toast. Flip over.
- Combine garlic, tomatoes, and basil (or Italian spice, in our case.) My little helper couldn’t wait to mix, mix, mix.
- Remove bread from the oven, then top with tomato mixture. Add cheese. Enjoy!
How do you use olive oil?