The following are answers to Frequently Asked Questions about olive oil.
Q: Is placing olive oil in your refrigerator overnight the best way to know if it's really extra virgin?
A: While some extra virgin oil will solidify, that is not an indicator of the quality and purity of your oil. Extra virgin olive oil may freeze thanks to traits of the olives it's made from - like the climate, harvesting time, location and latitude of the specific olive grove they were picked from. Keep in mind both high and low quality olive oil can freeze when exposed to cold temperatures and therefore can’t be a good method of judging the quality of the olive oil. Most importantly, refrigerating extra virgin olive oil will cause it to lose its good-for-you antioxidants and polyphenols, so instead we recommend storing it in a cool, dark place. Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the first to participate in the USDA Quality Monitoring Program.
Q: What does "cold pressed" mean?
A: "Cold pressed" means that olives are washed in cold water, then pressed at room temperature to yield their oil, without heat or chemical assistance.
Q: Why is the "first pressing" important?
A: The first pressing of the olives by hydraulic pressure alone yields Extra Virgin Olive Oil, an absolutely pure, natural product that meets the highest standards for color, clarity, bouquet and flavor.
Q: Why does Extra Virgin Olive Oil seem bitter to some people?
A: Extra Virgin has the most robust flavor of all olive oils because it is an absolutely pure, natural product. The peppery or bitter flavor is an acquired taste for some Americans, but olive oil connoisseurs prefer it because it’s a sign of a desirable olive oil – one that is newly pressed with strong flavors and low acidity.
Q: How should olive oil be stored?
A: Store olive oil away from heat and light (in a kitchen pantry, for example) in an airtight container. Pompeian suggests storing for no longer than 2 years and provides a "Best By" date which is stamped on the top of the bottle cap.
Q: Is Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil lower in calories?
A: No. "Extra Light" means light in flavor. Olive oil and all other edible oils contain about 120 calories per tablespoon.
Q: Why are there different colors of Extra Virgin Olive Oil if they are all "Extra Virgin"?
A: The color of olive oil depends upon the type of olives used to make it, if a single variety is used, or upon the types that are blended together if several varieties are used. Color can also be influenced by the soil, climate and seasonal weather conditions in which the olives were grown. The "Extra Virgin" grade is determined by an olive oil's acidity, not its color.
Q: Why does olive oil cost more than other oils?
A: Two factors influence the cost of olive oil. 1) Producing olive oil is labor intensive. The fruit must be carefully picked and collected for pressing, as bruising can effect the acidity of the olive oil and ultimately affect its flavor and grade. 2) The ratio of olives to olive oil produced is quite high. It takes about 2,000 olives to yield just one quart of olive oil!
Q: Is a more expensive olive oil better?
A: Price alone is not an indicator of quality, since the quality of olive oil depends upon many factors: the type of olives from which the oil was produced, the handling of the olives before and during pressing, the storage of the oil and the overall quality standards of the producer. Following your individual taste preference is always the best way to choose an olive oil.
Q: Can I use olive oil to replace other oils or fats in my recipes?
A: Olive oil can replace almost any other oil or fat, even in baking and desserts. Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil in full-flavored recipes, where a hint of fresh olives will enhance the taste, and Classic Mediterranean Olive Oil in mild-flavored recipes. When you want the benefits of olive oil with little or no olive flavor, such as when making desserts, use Extra Light Olive Oil.
Q: Is the smoke point the same for all of Pompeian's Olive Oils?
A: No, it varies depending on the variety. Pompeian Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil has a high smoke point of 390-410° F, which makes it ideal for high-heat sautéing and stir-frying. Pompeian Classic Mediterranean Olive Oil with a370-390° F smoke point can be used for lower heat sautéing, while Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil at 310-340° F is better suited for basting and sauces. All three can be used in baking, based on your taste preferences.
Q: Is Pompeian olive oil cholesterol free?
A: Yes, all three varieties are cholesterol free, unlike animal fats.
Q: Why should I consider olive oil as an alternative to butter?
A: Olive oil contains far less saturated fatty acid (only 2g compared to 7g) and no cholesterol (butter contains 33mg of cholesterol per serving). This makes olive oil a better ingredient, and you can even use olive oil to grease a pan.
Q: Can olive oil be used in sweet recipes?
A: Yes, we recommend Pompeian Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil as an alternative to plain margarine, butter or plain vegetable oil in desserts because it is light in taste.
Q: Which has more calories, fruity olive oils or vegetable seed oils?
A: They are the same, but many people find that the more flavorful taste of olive oil allows them to use less, thus reducing calories.
Q: Are Pompeian olive oils produced in a facility that produces peanut oil?
A: No, our products cannot be cross-contaminated by peanut allergens during production.
Q: Are Pompeian olive oils kosher?
Q: Where can I buy Pompeian products?
A: Pompeian olive oils, vinegars, cooking wines and other products are available at many large supermarkets, small grocery stores, drug chains, discount retailers, and military commissaries. Sizes and varieties may vary from location to location. If you cannot find our products, ask your local store to carry them or email us your town/city, state and zip code, and we will assist you.