Olives 101

As children, olive oil was perhaps something we associated primarily with the cartoon character Popeye. But today, olive oil has become a staple ingredient in most of our kitchens. Much more healthful than most other oils, olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, which has led to its increasing popularity in American diets. 

But as a consumer, you may be overwhelmed when faced with the growing spectrum of types, brands, grades, and prices. Is there really much difference? Are the highest priced oils always the best? How do you choose the “right” kind?

Though all olive oil comes from the pressing and crushing of olives, the processes used determine the type of olive oil extracted.

All About Olives

A Short History of Olives in California

Over 150 years ago, as the Franciscans marched north establishing missions in California, they also planted olive groves. Many of these older groves still exist. Most are in Northern California. Southern Californian population and housing pressures have put the farmers out of business. There are many isolated trees or fragments of old groves but the land is too expensive for large scale olive growing.

Margarine/butter vs Olive Oil

1 teaspoon = ¾ teaspoon
1 tablespoon = ¾ teaspoon
2 tablespoons = 1 ½ tablespoons
1/4 cup = 3 tablespoons
1/3 cup = 3 tablespoons
1/2 cup = ¼ cup + 2tablespoons
2/3 cup = ½ cup
3/4 cup = ½ cup + 1 tablespoon
1 cup = ¾ cup     

Extra-virgin olive oil descriptive words for sidebar if necessary Official words used to describe extra-virgin olive oil:
Almond, apple, bitter, metallic, muddy, sediment, musty-humid, old, pressing mat, pungent, rancid, rough, soapy, sweet, vegetable water, winey-vinegary