Frequently Asked Questions
What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Virgin, in terms of olive oil, means “by hand.” The Romans would use stones to crush the olives by hand to extract the oil. Although, in modern times, the oil might be extracted using machinery, it is simply still the fresh fruit juice extracted from the olive. This is unlike vegetable or other oils where they use highly industrial processes of adding chemicals in order to extract the oil. The term, “extra” is simply a classification meaning the best. Extra virgin olive oil is the best olive oil you can buy. It can only be classified as “extra virgin olive oil “when it has less than .8% free oleic acid. At Joe and Son’s Olive Oils, we exceed these standards by offering ultra premium olive oils with less than a .3% rating.
What is first, cold pressed?
All of our oils are first pressed which means the olive is pressed only one time, the remaining product is discarded. Most commercial olive oils are pressed several times before the actual olive is discarded. It is not uncommon to press up to ten pounds of olives to produce one pound of high quality olive oil.
The standard temperature for extra virgin olive oil is that is must not exceed 80 degrees. Just like heating a lemon for a few seconds in the microwave to release the juices, the same can be done to olives. Although the standard is 80 degrees, all of our olive oils are pressed at 68 degrees. This may mean that it yields a smaller amount of product, but a higher quality olive oil. At Joe and Son’s Olive Oils, we press for quality, not quantity.
What is Balsamic Vinegar?
How does humble vinegar come to reap such praise? As far back as 900 years ago, vintners in the Modena, Italy region were making balsamic vinegar which was taken as a tonic and bestowed as a mark of favor to those of importance. Although it is considered wine vinegar, it is not wine vinegar at all. It is not made from wine, but from grape pressings that have never been permitted to ferment into wine.
Sweet white Trebbiano grape pressings are boiled down to dark syrup and then aged under rigid restrictions. The syrup is placed into oaken kegs, along with a vinegar "mother," and begins the aging process. Over the years it graduates to smaller and smaller kegs made of chestnut, cherrywood, ash, mulberry, and juniper until it is ready. All of these woods progressively add character to the vinegar. As it ages, moisture evaporates out, further thickening the vinegar and concentrating the flavor.
Some balsamic vinegar has been aged for over 100 years. It is this aging process that makes true balsamic vinegar from Modena in Northern Italy so expensive. You don’t have to travel to Italy to get great balsamic flavor. All of our balsamics are imported from Modena, and are aged at least 12 years, if not more. Stop in and try our heirloom balsamic—the Traditional 18-Year Balsamic. We are sure you will feel like you have slipped into your own little piece of Italy right here at Joe and Son’s Olive Oils
What is the difference between our Extra Virgin Olive Oil and other store bought oils?
DON'T BE FOOLED! There are several key differences between the olive oil you purchase at Joe and Son’s Olive Oils and impersonators of our kind. Olives have a natural growing season just like other fruits and vegetables. Olive trees only produce an olive once a year. To offer only the freshest available product, we carefully watch the seasons from both Northern and Southern Hemispheres and select only the finest produce. Although olives only grow once a year, they grow at different times at opposite ends of the earth! This allows us to bring you a fresh harvest of only the best olive oil every six months. When you sample the oils, you will notice a distinct freshness rarely found in other retailers, especially those purchased from a grocery store shelf. We are fortunate to have at our fingertips a certificate of analysis on all the regional olive oils we offer. This is important because it gives us valuable information like the date of crush, the polyphenol levels, and other crucial chemistry.
If the above information isn't convincing enough, simply stop in our retail store and tasting bar. One of our highly trained staff will be able to educate you on the chemistry of the olive oils we offer, or simply help you select one that suits your palate!
Should I store olive oil in the refrigerator?
It is best to store olive oil in a cool, dark place such as a pantry. Storing olive oil in the refrigerator can cause condensation to form in the bottle. Condensation/water in the olive oil will turn the olive oil rancid.
What is the shelf life of olive oil and vinegar?
Olive oil can last 12 months from harvest or more if stored properly. After the first year, the Vitamin E content will begin to naturally decrease. Vinegar will last 3 to 5 years. The shelf life of your product is largely determined by how it’s stored. The bottles have a great design, so why not store them right on your counter!
Can olive oil be used in place of butter?
Absolutely! In fact, why not try our plant based Butter Olive Oil? Otherwise, any recipe that calls for butter can be substituted with olive oil. Simply follow the CONVERSION CHART that we provide on our website. Use olive oil on vegetables, meats, salads, or anything that calls for butter! Not only will the flavor be better, but you are adding all the healthy benefits of olive oil to your diet.
Is Olive Oil Healthy For Me?
Olive oil is incredibly healthy for you! In fact, the health benefits of olive oil are so vast, we couldn’t begin to fit all the benefits here! However, here are just a few benefits of adding olive oil to your diet: Protection against Chronic Degenerative Disease, Protection against Heart Disease, Lower Blood Pressure, Prevention against blood clots, helps to reduce the risk of Breast Cancer, Better Blood Sugar Control, helps prevent Belly Fat and Improves Insulin Sensitivity, Acts as a Natural Anti-Inflamatory, Helps prevent Bone Loss, Supports Gastrointestinal Health, and has been found effective against Helicobacter pylori.
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the best food oils available today. Simply adding olive oil to an unhealthy diet already soaked in saturated fats or vegetable oils will not lead to any of the benefits listed above and may actually cause more harm than good. When pure, extra virgin olive oil is used as a primary source of fat in a whole foods, healthy eating plan, the potential goodness of the oil prevails.