Find answers to common questions about EVOO and its health
benefits to educate healthcare professionals.

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What is extra virgin olive oil?

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is simply the fresh juice of olives. It is a natural and unrefined cooking oil, made by mechanically pressing olives without the use of chemicals or high heat. Extra virgin olive oil is the highest grade and quality in the olive oil category, and because it is unrefined it retains the natural antioxidants and polyphenols found in the olive fruit.

How is extra virgin olive oil made?

Extra virgin olive oil is made by mechanically pressing olives, without heat, chemicals, or solvents. At Cobram Estate, the olives are picked using a harvest machine, so that the olives never hit the ground. These olives are pressed to make oil within 4-6 hours of being picked, ensuring the freshest oil possible. The olives are crushed to form a paste, which is then stirred before being spun in a centrifuge to extract the water, oil, and the pomace. The oil is then stored in large tanks under optimum temperature and with no oxygen – again to maintain freshness. You can learn more about how Cobram Estate EVOO is produced on our consumer website here.

Can I cook with extra virgin olive?

Yes, you can and should cook with extra virgin olive oil. This is one of the biggest myths about EVOO, however it is false. In fact, extra virgin olive oil is one of the most stable and safe oils to cook with1,2. Many people believe that the smoke point of an oil determines its suitability for cooking, however research has proved this to be incorrect3. Instead, the fat profile (polyunsaturated fats are less stable) and the oxidative stability (level of antioxidants) are more important factors in predicting stability3,4.

What is the difference between extra virgin olive oil and olive oil?

Many people use the terms olive oil (OO) and extra virgin olive (EVOO) interchangeably; however, they are not the same product. Both oils fall under the ‘olive oil’ category, but they differ in the quality and their health benefits. EVOO is the highest quality and highest grade of olive oil. It is unrefined and processed mechanically without heat or chemicals, meaning it retains the health promoting bioactive compounds. Olive oil (including ‘pure olive oil’) is lower quality and has been refined. During the refining processes the majority of the bioactive compounds are destroyed, which means many of the health benefits are lost.

What is the shelf life of extra virgin olive oil?

Unlike wine, extra virgin olive oil does not get better with age. All cooking oils will go rancid after a period of time, and EVOO is no different. An unopened bottle of good quality EVOO can have a shelf life of around 12-24 months from harvest, when stored correctly. Once opened, we recommend using the oil within 4-6 weeks. The oil will not necessarily be ‘off’ after this time, but the flavour profile may start to change, and the antioxidants can start to degrade.

How do I store extra virgin olive oil?

Store your extra virgin olive oil in a cool, dark place in a tightly sealed bottle or tin. Light, oxygen, and heat can degrade the antioxidants and affect the flavour profile and quality of the oil. People often store their EVOO on the bench next to the stove top, however this is not an ideal spot at the heat from the stove can damage the oil.

What are the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil?

Extra virgin olive oil has many health benefits, due to its healthy fat profile and significant quantities of bioactive compounds including antioxidants and polyphenols. There is a strong body of evidence linking extra virgin olive oil with heart health benefits – particularly improvements in cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels5. There is also evidence that extra virgin olive oil has benefits for other chronic conditions including Type 2 Diabetes, stroke, mental health, cancer, and bone health6.

How much extra virgin olive oil should I have each day?

In order to get the maximum health benefits, research recommends consuming around 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil each day7.

Does heating extra virgin olive oil destroy all the antioxidants?

No, heating extra virgin olive oil does not ruin all the antioxidants or the health benefits. Antioxidants are sensitive to high heat, so heating any oil will reduce its antioxidant content – however it’s important to keep in mind that EVOO has more antioxidants than most other cooking oils to begin with8,9. This means that even if the antioxidant content reduces slightly when heated, it is still likely to be much higher than most other cooking oils.

Does extra virgin olive oil ruin nonstick pans?

There is no technical evidence to support this. In fact, a study from 2019 concluded that there was no significant difference between cooking oils in terms of the amount of metals released from pans10. This indicates there is no impact or damage to nonstick pans when cooking with EVOO. The research suggested that the quality of the pan had more of an impact on the amount of metals released than the type of oil used for cooking10.

Does heating extra virgin olive oil create trans fats?

No, heating extra virgin olive oil does not create trans fats. In general, the main way trans fats are created is through an industrial process called partial hydrogenation. This process does not happen in domestic or commercial kitchens, so trans fats are not produced when heating EVOO during cooking at home

Is ‘light’ extra virgin olive oil lower in calories/kilojoules?

No, ‘light’ extra virgin olive oil refers to the flavour profile, not the calorie/kilojoule content. All oils have the same number of kilojoules/calories, which is about 517kJ (124 calories) per 15mL tablespoon11. A ‘light’ EVOO will be milder or more delicate in flavour and works well in dishes where you don’t want the flavour of the oil to be as strong.

What makes Cobram Estate extra virgin olive oil special?

Cobram Estate is the most awarded extra virgin olive oil in Australia and is an extremely high quality and healthy oil. Our oil is made exclusively from premium quality olives grown on our own Australian groves, picked at optimum ripeness and cold pressed within 4-6 hours of harvest. At Cobram Estate, our passion for quality inspires everything we do, and we take a tree-to-table approach. We look after every stage of the process of making our oil – and this ensures that every bottle or tin of our EVOO meets our high standards.

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