There is an abundance of advice on the Internet about storing olive oil – keep it cool or use it quickly. No secret there, but what about the gap between the farmer and you?
This is particularly critical with high phenolic olive oil.
At Aristoleo North America, we take phenolic compounds seriously. We pay for premium storage at Fine Wine Reserve but never pass that cost on to you.
This is not a complaint and it’s not a sacrifice. It’s our responsibility because we care about high phenolic olive oil. We know a whole lot about it and more than that, we know that most people who are searching for high phenolic olive oil are following the growing body of research into the health benefits of phenolic compounds and buy it for health reasons, some pretty serious.
So, what am I talking about?
Chilled storage is to assure you that you are getting what you pay for, expect and what you are counting on for your health objective – or that of a loved ones.
The one most important fact about olive oil is this. Olive oil is not an oil. (Photo: Wild Athos Bio Organic Golden Tree). It’s the juice from the fresh pressed olive fruit. As such, its care in harvesting, pressing, storing, bottling, transportation, distribution, and once at home, is paramount to the preservation of the health benefits derived from the phenolic compounds.
Many Greeks, today, will remember their grandparents making olive oil from an early harvest olives agoureleo (agour – unripened, eleo – oil), which were picked green and pressed quickly and stored in the cold cellar for just the family’s use. This is the early harvest olive oil that Hippocrates and Disocorides referred to as “medicinal” in the ancient materia medica.
The mills opened briefly and closed again until later in the season when the “sweet” oil from mature olives was pressed for its greater yield and more general use – cooking and soap.
EU Health Claim
That all changed when the EU introduced its Health Labeling Claim 432–2012, the same year that Drs. Magiatis and Melliou at the University of Athens discovered a way to measure the individual phenolic compounds in olive oil using the NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance). Since then a whole new category of high phenolic olive oil has grown and become recognized for the health protective benefits of the polyphenols.
Here at Aristoleo North America, we store our high phenolic extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) at the Fine Wine Reserve in Toronto where it shares space with some of Canada’s best wine collections. Why? Because it is kept at 12.8° Celsius (55° F), preserving the phenolic compound levels through to the oil’s expiry.
This ensures that every bottle you buy from us is as close in phenolic measure as the day it was bottled.
Some drop in phenolic content is inevitable and keeping the olive oil stored in a chilled environment ensures that loss is minimized to an acceptable 10% over a year. Olive oils stored for online Eshop or retail distribution in warehouses, garages or basements often experience fluctuations in temperatures and, even if in an air conditioned space, are often above 24° Celsius (75° Fahrenheit).
Temperature increases during transportation, in storage, or on the retail shelf under lights can cause the deterioration of the phenolic compounds by as much as 40% sometime during its “best before” period, meaning you may not be getting what you essentially paid a premium for.
A study some years ago by UC Davis indicated that 69% of imported extra virgin olive oils failed to meet international standards as “extra vrigin”. While some brands may be intentionally mislabeled as extra virgin, more likely the olive oils were fine when shipped but deteriorated due to transportation, warehousing and length of time on a retail shelf.
ARISTOIL Interreg MED Programme
As a key partner in the 3-year, 5-country EU funded ARISTOIL Interreg MED program for the study of high phenolic olive oil, Athan Gadanidis, Director of Aristoleo Ltd. is recognized as a foremost expert on high phenolic olive oil. Not only that, he is known by some as “the moral authority” on high phenolic EVOO.
Aristoleo Ltd. has been assigned as the marketing portal for the high phenolic producer members of the ARISTOIL program. Athan is in the process of developing the new marketing and promotion rules for high phenolic EVOO as set out by the program.
Producers who follow the directives of the ARISTOIL (Photo: Partners 2018) program are temperature conscious throughout the entire process and keep their olive oil in temperature controlled tanks, with nitrogen gas taking up the empty space so that no oxygen touches the oil, which would immediately begin the oxidation of the oil eventually leading to unacceptable loss of the health protective phenolic compounds and rancidity.
The study is openly available for producer and buyer alike on Aristoleo.com Part of the mandate of the program is education.
The second part of the study mandate is to create certification for the various processes from harvesting through malaxation, bottling, storage and transportation with recommendations to distributors and retailers.
Aristoleo is introducing AristoApp™ blockchain platform this season for members of the ARISTOIL program to assure buyers that the olive oil they are buying is the best it can be from grove to the end user.
High phenolic olive oil is expensive because it is precious. The olives are picked early for the highest concentration of polyphenols – resulting in a lower yield. It is often harvested by hand or gentle mechanized shaking methods so as not to bruise the fruit.
The olives are gathered in open crates to prevent bruising and oxidation rather than stacked in traditional hemp sacks (Photo: EFKRATO Organic Olive Oil). They are rushed to the mill within hours of picking and are processed at very specific temperatures for a specific duration. Every step of the way is monitored to protect the phenolic compounds.
As mentioned above, the oil is then stored in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks (Photo: Philippos Hellenic Goods) where it is kept until bottling. The IOC (International Olive Council) says that olive oil can be stored for one year before bottling and then has an expiry date of 18 months after bottling.
We recommend that high phenolic olive oil be consumed within 18 months of the harvest – if properly sealed and stored. And once the bottle is opened at home, high phenolic olive oil should be consumed within six weeks to benefit from the greatest potency of the polyphenols.
And remember, in considering storage for any olive oil and more so high polyphenol EVOO – heat, light and air are the enemy.
Put the lid back on quickly after use, and keep the bottle away from the stove. If consuming the olive oil within six weeks, keep in a dark cupboard away from heat, otherwise store in the vegetable drawer or lower shelf of the fridge which is usually in the range of 14-15° C or 54-56 F. If the oil thickens, not to worry, it is just the monounsaturated fats and it will quickly return to liquid in minutes, once at room temperature.
Some say that the flavour of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) may be changed by getting too cold. The idea then is to consume it quickly before it becomes degraded to a bottle of rancid free radicals. In other words, don’t save your expensive olive oil in the cupboard for special occasions!
The Governor at Fine Wine Reserve
We pay more for temperature-controlled storage. That is our call. We would rather make less and know you are getting the best high phenolic olive oil for the most beneficial effect.
It’s not about the bottom line for us (sorry to our accountants). It’s about your health and that of your family. It’s about our commitment to the producers, to you and to the community we build around the integrity of this very special high phenolic olive oil for health and well-being.
We feature The Governor Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil – the first olive oil to follow the strict measures to produce over 1000mg/kg of phenolic content. The Governor is the most used oleocanthal-rich olive oil in clinical trials today and has been referred to as a “medical food”.
Sad for our clients, EFKRATO an amazing organic extra virgin olive oil, high in polyphenols and rich in flavour sold out early. That is the thing with this precious olive oil – nature dictates the bounty of the harvest. It is up to us to preserve its integrity – right through to its expiry date.
New Harvest – New Brands – 2021
The new harvest has begun and we look to the New Year to introduce you to more excellent brands that – if taken as a daily “shot” – have the phenolic oomph to boost your immune system and contribute to your overall well-being. (
Photo: Carson Daly on the Today Show
Here’s your discount!
In the meantime, please enjoy a further 10% discount until October 15, 2020 – or while supplies last – on the sale price of The Governor. Use the coupon Chilled10 (at check out) and know that you are getting the freshest product available outside of the mill in Corfu.
To health and happiness,