Olive Oil Commercial Grades

This why you need to pay attention to the label when buying olive oils:
All production begins by transforming the olive fruit into olive paste by crushing or pressing. This paste is then malaxed (slowly churned or mixed) to allow the microscopic oil droplets to agglomerate. The oil is then separated from the watery matter and fruit pulp with the use of a press (traditional method) or centrifugation (modern method). After extraction the remnant solid substance, called pomace, still contains a small quantity of oil.

The grades of oil extracted from the olive fruit can be classified as:

Virgin means the oil was produced by the use of mechanical means only, with no chemical treatment. The term virgin oil with reference to production method includes both Virgin and Extra-Virgin olive oil products, depending on quality.
Lampante oil is olive oil extracted by virgin (mechanical) methods but not suitable as food; lampante is Italian for “lamp”, referring to the use of such oil for burning in lamps. Lampante oil can be used for industrial purposes, or refined (see below) to make it edible.
Refined means that the oil has been chemically treated to neutralize strong tastes (characterized as defects) and neutralize the acid content (free fatty acids).

Virgin olive oil (including the grades extra-virgin olive oil and virgin olive oil) therefore cannot contain any refined oil.
Olive pomace oil means oil extracted from the pomace using solvents, mostly hexane, and by heat.

Extra-virgin olive oil Comes from virgin oil production only, and is of higher quality: among other things, it contains no more than 0.8% free acidity (see below), and is judged to have a superior taste, having some fruitiness and no defined sensory defects.
Virgin olive oil Comes from virgin oil production only, but is of slightly lower quality, with free acidity of up to 1.5%, and is judged to have a good taste.
Refined olive oil is the olive oil obtained from virgin olive oils by refining methods that do not lead to alterations in the initial glyceridic structure. It has a free acidity, expressed as oleic acid, of not more than 0.3 grams per 100 grams (0.3%) and its other characteristics correspond to those fixed for this category in this standard. This is obtained by refining virgin olive oils with a high acidity level and/or organoleptic defects that are eliminated after refining.

Oils labeled as Pure olive oil or Olive oil are primarily refined olive oil, with a small addition of virgin-production to give taste.

Please note that all of Zetouna® olive oils are Hand harvested, Cold Pressed and 100% Extra virgin olive oil.

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How to Taste Olive Oil

When tasting olive oil, much of the oil’s characteristics are perceived through the sense of smell:

1. Pour a small amount of oil into a small glass preferably colored so you don’t judge the oil by its color (color is NOT an indicator of either the oil’s flavor or quality).

2. Hold the glass in one hand and use your other hand to cover the glass while swirling the oil to release its aroma.

3. Uncover the glass and inhale deeply from the top of the glass. At this point you should be able to evaluate whether the aroma is mild or strong.

4. Slurp the oil by sipping a small amount of oil into your mouth while “sipping” some air as well. (When done correctly, you will make noise). Slurping combines the oil with air that helps to spread it throughout your mouth – giving you the chance to savor every nuance of flavor with just a small sip of oil.

5. Finish by swallowing the oil and noticing if it leaves a stinging sensation in your throat.

Each of the above actions focuses on a specific positive attribute in the oil. First evaluate the olive fruit aroma (fruitiness) by inhaling from the glass. Second when the oil is in your mouths you further evaluate the aroma retro-nasally as well as determine the amount of bitterness on your tongue. Finally you determine the intensity of the oil’s pungency in your throat as you swallow it.

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Lentil Soup

Ingredients:Lentils Soup

Red Lentils.

Zetouna EVOO

Garlic, Red Pepper, Black Pepper, Coriander, Salt, and Tomato Paste.

1/2 cup water 1/4 cup olive oil 3-4 cloves of garlic 1/4 teaspoon red pepper (you can put less if you don’t like spicy food) 1/4 teaspoon Black pepper 1/2 teaspoon salt. 2 teaspoons tomato paste. 8 oz red lentils. 1/2 teaspoon coriander. Start with the water, olive oil, garlic, salt, coriander, red and black pepper saute for 5-10 min then add lentils and the tomato paste, stir everything together, then add about 40 oz water cover it and let it boil for over an hour ( on medium heat) or until it’s thick.


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Harissa (hot chili paste)

• 3 ounces mild and hot dried chiles, such as anchos,
New Mexican and guajillos
• 1 red bell pepper, roasted
• 1 clove garlic
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon coriander, ground
• 1 teaspoon caraway seed, ground
• 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
• Olive oil

Stem seed and break up chilies. Place in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover and let stand 30 minutes. Drain; wrap in cheesecloth and press out excess moisture. Repeat process with the red bell pepper. In a bowl, crush garlic clove with 1/4 teaspoon salt.

In a food processor or blender grind chilies with red bell pepper, garlic/salt mixture, coriander, caraway and salt. Drizzle in enough oil to make a thick paste. Pack the mixture in a small dry jar. Cover harissa with a thin layer of oil. Cover and refrigerate. Harissa will keep 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator with a thin layer of oil.

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Chicken with Lemon and Olives

• 2 chickens weighing : 500-600g each, clean and Jointed
• 200 ml olive oil
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 1 garlic cloves, chopped
• 1 tsp ground ginger
• ½ tsp cumin
• 2 pinches of saffron
• 1 liter of water
• 500 g green olives, stoned
• 3 onions, cut in thin slices
• 1 tbsp sweet paprika
• 100 ml lemon juice

In a large pan place the chickens with the olive oil, onion, garlic, ginger, cumin and saffron. Cover with the water and season with a little salt. Cover and cook for 30 minutes over a medium heat. Add the olives, onions and sweet paprika. Cook for further 30 minutes then add the lemon juice. Serve with the sauce.

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Please do not mistake the tapenade for olive puree which is too often sold under the name of tapenade. The tapenade includes capers which have given their name to this preparation. As always, when it comes to traditional recipes, the same basic ingredients are used, but there are 1,001 ways to prepare them. Sample our recipe and adapt the quantity of each ingredient to your own taste.

• 250 grams of black olive
• 15 centiliters of olive oil
• 60 grams of capers
• 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
• 50 grams of filets of anchovies
• ground pepper
• 1 clove of garlic

Pit the olives.
Pound them in a mortar with the capers, the filets of anchovies and the garlic.
Reduce the mixture to a puree in a mixer.
Whip up this mixture like a mayonnaise by adding the olive oil very slowly in order to obtain a smooth and thick paste.
Add the lemon juice and the pepper.

Enjoy on toast or garlic bread with a mixed salad or fish. You can also stuff hard boiled eggs with tapenade.

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Aïoli (Garlic mayonnaise)

• 25 centiliters of olive oil
• 5 cloves of garlic
• 2 egg yolks
• Salt and pepper






Peel and remove the germ from the cloves of garlic.
Crush them in a mortar.
Add the two egg yolks to this paste.
Pour the olive oil little by little while mixing the ingredients.
Add salt and pepper and a squirt of lemon juice.

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A good dressing must not mask the flavor of the food with which it is served but must, but must add to it.

With Anchovies:
• 5 tablespoons of olive oil
• 2 eggs
• Filets of anchovies
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 1 tablespoon of vinegar

Hard-boil the eggs for ten minutes in boiling water.
Peel them.
Peel the cloves of garlic.
Crush the garlic, the hard-boiled eggs and the anchovies.
When the mixture has an even consistency, add the oil slowly while mixing.
At the last minute, add your tablespoon of vinegar.

With Balsamic
• 4 tablespoons of olive oil
• 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
• Salt
• Ground Pepper

Pour the balsamic vinegar on the salad, add the salt and pepper.
Let it settle a few minutes, then drizzle with olive oil.

The Tunisian Way
• 4 tablespoons of olive oil
• Juice of one lemon
• Salt
• Ground Pepper
Mix all the ingredients.

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Tunisian Salad

Tunisian salad

• 4 small tomatoes, chopped
• 2 small green pepper, Chopped
• 2 small cucumbers, chopped
• 1 small onion, cut in thin Slices
• 5.5 oz black olives
• 2 hard-boiled eggs
• 1 tsp fresh mint, finely Chopped
• 3.5 oz extra virgin olive oil
• Salt and black pepper

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