Is there good olive oil in Russia?

World / 12 September 2019
Tempo di lettura 5 minuti

“I know your magic, Oliva, you are the blood from the earth extract for the world”, the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca wrote so.

The olive tree is centenarian of our planet. According to archaeological data, it was first grown in Crete in the third Millennium BC. The average life expectancy of a tree is five hundred years and the age of some even exceeds fifteen hundred years. For example some plants are two millennia on the mount of olives in Jerusalem. In addition Oliva has a divine history. It is found in various mythologies and the Bible. The fruits of the plant were used to illuminate temples and mosques as well as in Christian and Jewish rites.

So, this amazing tree is appreciated to this day. The Mediterranean region contains 98% of the land where olives are grown. There are about 500 million trees in Europe! Just think about these numbers.

So why is olive demand? The main product that is produced from it is olive oil as you guessed. It is saturated with oleic acid which lowers cholesterol. Phytosterols and polyphenols reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that slows down the aging process of cells and thus prolongs the youth of the body.

Olive oil is divided into two types: refined and unrefined. Which is better?

The refined oil contains less a tocopherol (the same vitamin E), sterols (something like steroids but these sterols found only in plants), carotenoids (the isomers is that the liver turns into vitamin a) and phenols (antioxidants). This oil has a paler color and a fairly neutral taste.
Unrefined oil is an untreated product that retains its original properties. Therefore it is better to buy unrefined oil.

Almost 3 million tons of olive oil are produced annually in the world. The main suppliers of this product are Spain, Italy and Greece.

The process of making olive oil is not as simple as it seems at first glance. If everything is done by technology that the harvest takes place in November. The berries are washed and crushed in special machines. A centrifuge is separated it from the oil. After that it should settle for several weeks in stainless steel tanks at a temperature of 16 degrees. When the product is ready, it is poured into glass bottles. Please note that the real oil “extra virgin” is obtained only from the first processing of olive paste.There are unscrupulous suppliers who supply counterfeit because such production technology and its growing volumes annually.

According to the U.S. Department of agriculture (USDA) and the international olive Council (IOC) is 60% of the oil is fake. American journalist Larry Olmsted said that this product is in the top 10 which is forged most often. How to distinguish a fake?

Adulterated products can only be distinguished by chemical analysis. So do not believe the information on the Internet that for example if you put a bottle of real olive oil in the refrigerator, it will thicken. That’s not so. The only thing that should be formed after such a freeze is a precipitate. It is an indicator that before you good unrefined olive oil. In addition the color of real olive oil should be green, green-yellow, yellow or pale yellow.

Often unscrupulous producers or suppliers breed olive oil “extra virgin” other less expensive oils.

For example are soy, corn, sunflower, palm or sesame oils. These added oils are not listed on the label. Most people fail to realize that olive oil is not 100 percent pure. Mikhail Maltsev, Executive Director of the fat and oil Union of Russia said: “the Problem with expensive products is that when a product is more expensive, the greater the temptation to forge it. Olive oil is no exception in Russia. And the share of such falsification in the market reaches from 40 to 60 percent.» It turns out that in Russia almost every second bottle is a fake. Then how to distinguish at least the primary characteristics of an good olive oil from less quality?

Four signs that are worth paying attention to:

1. The smell. If the oil smells like plasticine and tastes like rancid nuts and it has a greasy consistency, then it should not be used in any case.
2. 2. The musty taste. When olives lie too long, it leads to fermentation in the absence of oxygen. Musty taste is incredibly common thats why many just think it’s OK. However, olive oil should not have the smell of fermentation.
3. The wine or vinegar flavor. if olive oil tastes like wine and vinegar, it is likely that the olives were fermented with oxygen which led to an undesirable flavor.

How to choose a quality product in Russia?

– Pay attention to the date of harvest. Buy olive oil only harvest this year. Look for” early harvest “or”autumn harvest.”
– The storage is another important point. The oil must be in clean and temperature-controlled stainless steel containers that are filled from above with an inert gas such as nitrogen to stop exposure to oxygen.
– The color of quality oil, according to the manufacturer GI Company has an almost fluorescent green color. But nevertheless good oils come in all shades from fluorescent green to golden and light straw. so this should not be the deciding factor.
– The smell of a quality product has a fresh and fruity smell. The taste is sometimes saturated with the taste of apples, green banana, grass and bitter or spicy (spice is an indicator of healthy antioxidants).
– When you buying olive oil in a bottle choose those that protect from light; darkened glass, stainless steel or even clear glass in a cardboard box. Ideally buy only what you can use for up to six weeks.
– A quality stamp is not always a guarantee but still the PDO (protected designation of origin) and PGI (protected geographical indication) statuses should inspire some confidence.
– Store olive oil in a cool and dark place. Close the cap or stopper immediately after each use.

(a poor-quality oil in the photo)

So you can find real olive oil in Russia but it is quite difficult. A good product costs from a thousand rubles and above (near 17 $). And no one guarantees you that it is quality. Those who have tried real olive oil in Italy or Greece know how different it is from what is on the shelves of our super-markets.

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