Cooking with Olive Oil

Cooking with olive oil is like cooking with wine. Never use a wine or olive oil that does not taste good to you. An inferior one will leave an aftertaste.

Butter to Olive Oil conversion

Use the chart below to convert the quantity of butter called for in a recipe to the required quantity of olive oil.

ButterOlive Oil
1 teaspoon¾ teaspoon
2 teaspoons1 ½ teaspoons
1 tablespoon2 ¼ teaspoons
2 tablespoons1 ½ tablespoons
¼ cup3 tablespoons
⅓ cup¼ cup
½ cup¼ cup + 2 tablespoons
⅔ cup½ cup
¾ cup½ cup + 1 tablespoon
1 cup¾ cup

See our favourite Morella Grove recipes

Storing Olive Oil

The greatest exponent of monounsaturated fat is olive oil, and it is a prime component of the Mediterranean Diet. Olive oil is a natural juice which preserves the taste, aroma, vitamins and properties of the olive fruit. Olive oil is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed as it is - freshly pressed from the fruit.

The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and its high content of ant oxidative substances. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the "good" cholesterol) levels. No other naturally produced oil has as large an amount of monounsaturated as olive oil -mainly oleic acid.

Olive oil is very well tolerated by the stomach. In fact, olive oil's protective function has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis. Olive oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones much more naturally than prescribed drugs. Consequently, it lowers the incidence of gallstone formation.

Storing Olive Oil

Because of olive oil's high monounsaturated fat content, it can be stored longer than most other oils as long as it's stored properly. Oils are fragile and need to be treated gently to preserve their healthful properties and to keep them from becoming a health hazard full of free radicals. When choosing your storage location, remember that heat, air, and light are the enemies of oil. These elements help create free radicals, which eventually lead to excessive oxidation and rancidity in the oil that will leave a bad taste in your mouth. Even worse, oxidation and free radicals contribute to heart disease and cancer.

Keep it cool

We recommend storing your olive oil at around 14ºC

Freeze your oil

Olive oil freezes well, retaining its health properties and flavour.

Keep it dark

Keep your olive oil in a dark cupboard.

Use tinted glass containers

Olive oil can absorb noxious substances out of plastic and can have chemical reactions with metals such as copper and iron.

Use opened oil within a year

Olive oil will keep well if stored in a sealed container in a cool, dark cupboard for about one year. If unopened, the oil may keep for as long as two years.

Storing Olive Oil

Homer called it "liquid gold." In ancient Greece, athletes ritually rubbed it all over their body. Its mystical glow illuminated history. Drops of it seeped into the bones of dead saints and martyrs through holes in their tombs. Olive oil has been more than mere food to the peoples of the Mediterranean: it has been medicinal, magical, an endless source of fascination and wonder and the fountain of great wealth and power. The olive tree, symbol of abundance, glory and peace, gave its leafy branches to crown the victorious in friendly games and bloody war, and the oil of its fruit has anointed the noblest of heads throughout history. Olive crowns and olive branches, emblems of benediction and purification, were ritually offered to deities and powerful figures: some were even found in Tutankhamen's tomb.

Olive culture has ancient roots. Fossilised remains of the olive tree's ancestor were found near Livorno, in Italy, dating from twenty million years ago, although actual cultivation probably did not occur in that area until the fifth century B.C. Olives were first cultivated in the Eastern part of the Mediterranean, in the region known as the "fertile crescent," and moved westwards over the millennia.

Olive trees have an almost titanic resistance, a vital force which renders them nearly immortal. Despite harsh winters and burning summers, despite truncations, they continue to grow, proud and strong reaching towards the sky, bearing fruit that nourishes and heals inspires and amazes. Temperate climactic conditions, characterised by warm dry summers and rainy winters, favour plentiful harvests; stone, drought, silence, and solitude are the ideal habitat for the majestic olive tree. Italy and Spain are now the most prolific producers of olive oil, although Greece is still very active. There are about thirty varieties of olives growing in Italy today, and each yields particular oil with its own unique characteristics.

Storing Olive Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is the first press from olives and the highest grade olive oil. It has zero defects and an extremely low acidity of no more than 0.8%. It has a superior taste and a rich, fruity flavour.

Virgin Olive Oil

Virgin olive oil must have a good taste. It is slightly lower in quality than extra virgin olive oil; it has defects from 0 to 2.5 and has acidity of less than 2%.

Olive Oil

This is a blend of pure olive oils to add flavour and refined olive oils. No more than 1% acidity.

How to make Olive Oil

  • Set up an orchard, grow olives and pick them.
  • Get the olives to the mill within a day or so to keep down oxidation and acidity.
  • The Cleaner separates dirt and leaves from the olives
  • The Mill grinds or hammers the olives and pits into paste which is extruded onto the plates which go onto the press. Don't let heat build up during the milling or pressing or the flavour will be affected.
  • Malaxation is a slow mixing of the paste which allows the oil - water emulsion to coalesce. Small microscopic oil droplets join together into large drops which will come out during centrifugation or separation.
  • The Press is usually centrifugal in larger machines. The press separates out the olive juice and oil and leaves behind a fibrous "pomace". Toss the pomace or sell it to someone who wants to chemically remove more of the oil for industrial uses such as soap making. From each ton of fruit anywhere from 12 to 50 gallons of oil can be produced.
  • Separate the oil from the water using a decanter or centrifugal separator.
  • Bottle the oil, keeping it away from heat and light.