Olive oil is an essential ingredient for cooks, but flavored olive oils are a newer option that can add a whole other dimension of depth and flavor to food. There are three ways to make flavored olive oil: co-milled, infused, or via oil-to-oil blending. At Pasolivo, we use nothing but the freshest, natural ingredients to create our award-winning oils. A number of our flavors are made by co-milling – meaning the olives and the herbs (like our Basil) go through the olive press together. For other flavors, we opt for naturally extracted oils (such as oil from the zest Meyer lemons and Persian limes) and combine that with our extra virgin olive oil olive to create their unique flavors. In this week’s blog, we’ll explain the three ways flavored olive oils are made and how to cook with them.
Co-Milled Olive Oil
First-of-all, there are several factors that influence the quality of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) including when the olives are harvested, how they’re picked and how fast the olives get to the mill. At Pasolivo, we hand-pick our olives to prevent imperfections or damage from machinery. We also have a mill on-site, which means everything gets processed within hours of picking to ensure the highest quality.
When it comes to flavored oils, each blend starts with our freshly picked olives. From there, we combine in natural ingredients – with no artificial flavorings or preservations. During last year’s harvest, we added 1,200 pounds of fresh red jalapeños into the mill along with the olives to give this oil its fiery kick. Once the oil separates from the paste, all those flavors commingle into one delicious, flavored olive oil. We use the same process for our garlic and basil olive oils.
Infused Olive Oil
Infused olive oil is made by adding herbs or fruit to an already processed olive oil. While the bottles often look decorative, the flavor is weaker than with co-milling or oil-to-oil blending. Infusion is often used for small home batches, but rarely in bulk. The ingredients decompose at a different rate than the oil and can cause botulism to occur, a rare but serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks the body’s nerves. At Pasolivo, we never infuse.
For the flavors we don’t co-mill, such as our citrus olive oils, we blend naturally extracted oil from the fruit or herb with our Pasolivo Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Unlike some other producers, we never use artificial flavoring or colors. While doing oil-to-oil blending is more time consuming, it produces a superior flavored oil with a fresher taste. Because we produce our flavored oils in small batches, we are also able to routinely test and adjust each batch before bottling. Managing flavors throughout the year helps ensure the highest quality and best tasting oils.
How do I use flavored olive oil?
Flavored olive oil can be used the same way as any extra virgin olive oil. Sauté, bake or drizzle it over your favorite foods. Here are some simple recommendations for using flavored olive oil:
Garlic Olive Oil: A garlic lover’s dream. It’s wonderful over pizza, pasta, seafood or just for dipping.
Red Jalapeño Olive Oil: Fresh jalapeños add wonderful flavor and a touch of heat. Try pairing with seafood, tacos, or eggs for a little more spice.
Lemon Olive Oil: Versatile and brightly flavored with fresh lemon zest. Enjoy over roasted vegetables, salad, or even vanilla ice cream with a bit of sea salt.
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