FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Here is a list of our top asked questions about olives, olive oils, and balsamic vinegar.
If you have one, please feel free to contact us and we will add it to the list!
How do you cure your olives?
Are dark red olives a different varietal of olives?
No – the color of the olive is an indication of ripeness. All olives start green and almost all fully ripen to black. In between, they can be red, purple, speckled, hay colored and more.
Are raw olives poisonous?
No, they are not. However, they are incredibly bitter and taste terrible in its raw form. Curing and putting them in brine is all kinds of fun because you can add your favorite flavors into the ‘soup’ to create your own unique flavor.
What does Extra Virgin mean?
Extra Virgin is a term used to describe the highest grade of olive oil. The olives most likely are first cold pressed, in our case in a vacuum, without the use of solvents or high heat.
Olive oil is determined as ‘extra virgin’ if it has passed a taste test, in order to taste for defects and most importantly, it gets sent to a lab in order to get the chemical profile. Basically, you want your acidity and peroxide levels to be low.
What’s the deal with cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
The average bottle of EVOO has a smoke point of up to 400F. Contrary to popular belief, the higher the quality of the olive oil (lower acidity), the higher the smoke point. Considering that the average bottle of olive oil reaches over 400F, you may as well save the finest extra virgin olive oils for finishing your foods.
What’s the difference between filtered and unfiltered olive oil?
- Pros: People like the fact that you are getting all the organic matter from the sticks, the leaves, the water particles, etc. Some believe that there are more health benefits because as filtration removes vital polyphenols. Some say that the oil also tastes fruitier.
- Cons: Because of all the organic matter in the oil, it eventually decays and speeds up the oxidation of the olive oil itself making it a less shelf stable olive oil. So always check your harvest dates.
- Pros: With filtered oil, it removes waste material from the crush like vegetable and water particles leaving more of just the olive oil. Also improves stability of the oil. Polyphenol tests between filtered and unfiltered olive oil’s show no difference.
- Cons: Science is always teaching us new things and as far we know, filtration protects the oil better over the course of its life
What do I do with flavored olive oil and balsamic vinegar?
The way to think about flavors is to think of them as accents on your food. They add an extra zing and can help really pop the food. They are a quick and convenient way to add flavor. Instead of squeezing the lemon, use Nuvo’s Meyer Lemon.
Instead of chopping up garlic and cooking eggs or veggies, Nuvo’s Garlic Olive Oil is an awesome substitute.
The key is to experiment and try different things on different foods. You may think that marinating a steak with a sweet balsamic sound strange, but those of you who have tried it know how counter intuitively delicious it is!
How do I make sure I’m buying real olive oil?
When shopping for olive oil, the first question you want to know is if it’s fresh. Over time, olive oil oxidizes and that’s why knowing the Harvest Date is the first place to start. Olive Oil older than 3 years from the harvest date should be avoided. Only fresh olive oil contains heart health nutrients that our bodies crave.
You can also look for the COOC (California olive oil councils) seal. This seal means the olive oil has gone through a taste test and a chemical analysis. If the oil is still fresh, the bottle with the harvest date and the COOC seal is always your safest bet.
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What is Balsamic Vinegar?
Balsamic vinegar is considered to only be made in the towns of Modena and Emilio Reggio in Italy. Lambrusco or Trebbiano grapes are the grapes of choice. The whole pressed grapes complete with skin, seeds, stems, and juice is simmered to the point of caramelization. At this point, it is fermented and then aged in barrels anywhere from 12 years to 25 years and up. Drizzle on vegetables, cheese, meats, chicken, fruit, ice cream, anything!
What is White Balsamic?
White Balsamic is simply white Trebbiano grape pressings (must) that is simmered for hours but not to the point of caramelization. This keeps the color and the flavor lighter and less complex than its better-known version. Because of its lighter flavor, it makes it a great carrier for adding other flavors. It can be used with lighter colored foods, salads or dressings, without any discoloring.