I Took the Flavor Your Life Challenge And Here’s What I Learned
I’m not the best cook in the world, but I love trying new dishes when I cook meals for my family. My main goal when creating a meal is making sure it’s filled with lots of flavors. When Moms Meet contacted me about taking the Flavor Your Life Challenge I jumped at the opportunity.
“I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.”
I will admit that I don’t use olive oil as much as I would love because of the price. This year I took a vow to choose healthy over price and I’ve been cutting out a lot of affordable but not that great for you food choices from my family’s diet. When Moms Meet sent me the Flavor Your Life kit, it arrived at the perfect time. I’ve been looking for ways to incorporate more olive oil into our meals. It’s such a better cooking option especially when you’re using it for grilling and searing meats or cooking at higher temperatures.
Did you know that Olive oil has a high smoke point (400° F), so it can handle anything from a light sauté to a deep (and deeply flavorful) fry. You can bake with olive oil, as well. For the best possible flavor, it’s best to store your oil in a cool dark place, never near the stove or in the refrigerator, or on the countertop. It’s best to use a bottle within six months of opening and within eighteen months of purchasing.
No one likes to have any rancid tasting food because of improper storage or letting it sit for too long.
How They Rate Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive oil comes from the fruit (known as a drupe) of the plant Olea europaea, or European olive. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is made by pressing without heat or chemicals. It represents the freshest and purest olive oil available. I’ve heard the term EVOO so many times watching cooking shows on television but I was excited to learn more about the process and how the oils are rated.
Olive oils are also tested for peroxide values. Lower values indicate fresher oil and more rapid processing and are required for Extra Virgin designation. Each oil is judged by expert tasters, who must agree that it meets the high flavor standards of an Extra Virgin rating. These experts also test for taste defects and the presence of positive attributes of fruitiness, bitterness and spiciness. If the oil doesn’t have the signature fruity taste and harmonious balance it won’t receive an Extra Virgin rating
Everything You Need to Know About European Extra Virgin Olive Oil
I never once thought about making selections on my olive oil based on the location it was made. I tend to choose the big box brands that I’m familiar with. Moms Meet sent me a bottle from Italian producer Zucchi. It was unlike any other brand I’d tried in the past, especially the ones I buy from the popular brands. You can find Zucchi at Big Y, HEB, King Kullen and Shaw’s if you’re looking for a brand of European EVOO. If you’re in the market and looking to learn more about European brands here are a few things to consider:
- The olive tree has been revered in Europe since Antiquity. Over thousands of years, farmers have evolved hundreds of varieties of olive trees (cultivars) and optimized them for different environmental conditions and terrains to produce the most delicious yields.
- The result of this centuries-old bond between the people and the land is the finest extra virgin olive in the world.
- The greatest impact on taste is the type of olive tree (cultivar), region (which affects climate and soil) and time of harvest. Europe offers a vast array of flavor profiles, so keep a variety of oils in your pantry for different occasions.
- Olives harvested early in the season, late August (varies by region), are under-ripe and produce oils that are greener, more bitter and pungent.
- Olives harvested at the end of the season, late November into December, are over-ripe and tend to taste mild and buttery.
- Spanish oil is typically golden yellow with a fruity, nutty flavor.
- Italian olive oil is often dark green and has an herbal aroma and a grassy flavor.
- Greek olive oil packs a strong flavor and aroma and tends to be green.
- French oil is typically pale in color and has a mild flavor.
About the Flavor Your Life Campaign
The Flavor Your Life campaign aims to educate North American consumers about authentic extra virgin olive oil from Europe. With funding from the European Union, the Italian government, and a consortium of European Extra Virgin Olive Oil producers Flavor Your Life is debunking misconceptions while empowering consumers. Are you up for the challenge to flavor your life? Visit flavor-your-life.com to learn more.