Category Archives: Blog

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How olive oil can care for and feed your cast iron skillet

Cast iron skillets are a workhorse as they can take on any challenge thrown at them and require only a skilled hand to keep them going for a lifetime. Unlike non-stick or stainless steel, cast iron isn’t a pan you clean with soap and water because you don’t want to wash off the flavor it gains being used. Yep, this is a pan that asks you to keep it, what modern people would call, dirty.

The only problem is that many people who get a cast iron wind up never using it or throwing it away as they fear rust and the dreaded generic germs that can live in the pan. With a little bit of salt, lemon, fire, and olive oil, we’re going to tell you how to care for your cast iron.

Just finished cooking

While the pan is warm (Not hot as hitting it with water at that temp can damage it) hit it with some water, sprinkle on a good layer of salt, and rub that salt in with the rough side of a sponge. Once you think the pan is ready to go, do a fast towel dry, and put it back on the stove or a warm oven. Put the heat on low and that will dry off the rest of the water sitting on the pan’s surface. Then take a thin layer of olive oil and rub it in on the inside of the pan’s surface and edge. Turn on the heat again until you reach the oil’s smoking point and let it cool down completely.

Do this and your pan will live forever and it’s all thanks to olive oil.

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Why is olive oil better than butter?

When it comes to cooking, butter has been used for generations as both a lubricant and flavor enhancer, or at least that’s what you’ve been told. Truth is, olive oil has been right alongside butter in the kitchen for just as long, but it was only recently that it was recognized as being a better choice.

This begs the question, why is it better and in what way?

For starters, olive oil has no cholesterol because it is derived from a plant rather than an animal like butter. This means that if you have health issues or are looking to lose weight, cooking with olive oil will decrease your intake of unhealthy fats.

Secondly, the flavor of olive oil will not override the natural flavors of the food you are cooking. Butter usually coats and takes over the flavors of most food while keeping the food moist; while olive oil keeps the food moist without taking over its flavor.

Lastly, olive oil is more environmentally friendly, as olive plants do not create gasses, but in fact help make oxygen. Then you have cows, which butter comes from, that make clouds of methane gas that will haunt your nose long after you’ve driven past the dairy.

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What to look for and what to avoid with olive oil

When it comes to buying olive oil, not all packaging is created equal. Many makers out there will use verbiage that tries to pretty up the actual product in the bottle or the packaging itself isn’t up to standard. Seeing these products on store shelves, here’s what you should be looking for on your next bottle of olive oil:

  • Make sure the label lists a grower or an estate on it.
  • There needs to be a harvest date on it, anything older than 2 years should be avoided.
  • If you buy ‘olive oil’ or ‘pure olive oil’ you are buying a product that is usually made up of low grade product. Extra virgin oils are not processed as much which preserves the natural flavor of olive oil.
  • It is in a dark glass bottle or tin. If the container is clear glass the light will spoil the oil.

This isn’t life or death or anything, but the next bottle you buy could kill the mood at your next party. Especially if you fall for the following:

  • ‘Product of’ doesn’t matter because as we discussed previously the olive oil can be made elsewhere and shipped from the ‘Product of’ country without having been made there.
  • Oil color doesn’t matter as there are so many different kinds of olives that will produce different shades of color. Color does not affect taste.

Just know that the olive oil we harvest, make, and sell carries the seal of the California Olive Oil Council. Grab a bottle today!

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Olive Oil by cast iron skillet

How do I use olive oil?

Olive oil is extremely useful, but it can confuse some.

Eating olive oil is magical, as it can instantly change the flavor and experience that you have with a particular food. It has permeated into the mainstream after years of being a strictly ethnic food product due to its health benefits. The only problem with olive oil is that it is oftentimes misused, with people wanting the health benefits of it but lacking the knowledge necessary in order to properly utilize it.

If you get four tablespoons a day of olive oil you will get the most out of it nutritionally, and here’s how you utilize those tablespoons.

Dipping Sauce

Pouring a small amount of olive oil onto a small plate with vinegar or on top of hummus makes for a fantastic appetizer. Using either a French baguette or pita bread, you can simply dip and enjoy.

Salad Dressing

Using the allotted 4 tablespoons, pour the olive oil into a bottle and add your choice of vinegar along with any spices you would enjoy. Shake well and serve with your salad. Dressings can also be used for meat marinades, but keep the amount of olive oil to a minimum because it can cause the dish to smoke and will lose some of its potency.

Cooking

Olive oil can be added to almost any meat or vegetable dish you are cooking. As a great substitute for butter, it can help in tenderizing the meat while adding a subtle flavor to it. It is important to remember to never burn the oil as it will change the flavor of your food and lose the important health benefits it usually imparts.

If you want high quality olive oil, head on over to our store and grab a bottle!

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Why extra virgin olive oil may not be so pure

Consumers get the squeeze as they buy extra virgin olive oil that may not be as advertised.

When it comes to flavor and health benefits, olive oil has been written about extensively. A simple search in Google or Yahoo will pull up numerous articles about how great it is for you and where it’s made. The problem is that consumers out there may be buying a lie.

One of the main, and often overlooked, problems is where olive oil is made. Most labels for extra virgin olive oil will list a country of origin and many consumers will believe that it was made in Spain or Greece. Why wouldn’t they? Those locations have been known for producing olive oil for hundreds if not thousands of years.

And while the product sitting on the shelf came from those countries, they may not have been made there or even be extra virgin olive oil.

According to Ruth Mercurio, a member of the California Olive Oil Council, the U.S. government doesn’t regulate the labeling of extra virgin olive oil. “Many olive oils claim to be virgin, extra-virgin, or light extra-virgin, but they don’t in fact meet the standards of a true extra-virgin olive oil,” she says. “Packaged in [name of a country]” (such as Spain or Greece), it’s more than likely that the oil wasn’t grown in that country, just bottled there to give it more cachet. And if there’s no harvest date on the label, you run the risk of purchasing an old, possibly rancid oil. True EVOO has a shelf life of only 18-24 months.”

If you want a reliable and great tasting extra virgin olive oil, then head to our shop! The olive oil made by San Paulo Olive Farm is certified by the California Olive Oil Council as being extra virgin. We extract the olive oil through a process known as cold pressing, which is the right way to get extra virgin olive oil.

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