My, how quickly a year goes by. We have so much to celebrate, and we want to celebrate with you! We’re about to give away a bunch of olive oil, including a year’s supply of Spartan Oil, but first, let’s review a few highlights of our first year. So much has happened:
There's so much more, including: A cute video of a 3 year-old explaining olive oil production, many recipes (including our now-famous Spartan Fried Eggs, and many health-related articles. And the maps!
To celebrate this milestone, we're gonna make the second year of Spartan Oil very memorable for one lucky winner. There are also daily winners during the week, too!
We're also offering a special 15% discount code during this time period, too. Use ONEYEAR15 during checkout.
If you are like 75% of Americans, you have some level of confusion about olive oil. Based on many conversations, one of the most confusing things about olive oil is the naming--olive oil, virgin olive oil, pure olive oil, lite olive oil, first cold pressed olive oil, and extra virgin olive oil.
Thankfully, we've got just the thing to de-mystify the names.
First and foremost, what exactly does it mean when olive oil is labeled "Extra Virgin"? Olive oil that is labeled "Extra Virgin" must meet certain standards. The standards are becoming more and more complex, which will help eliminate lower grade oils from being labeled "Extra Virgin", but will create additional confusion for consumers. The basic standards, however, have been in place for some time and are a good way for most consumers to understand extra virgin olive oil. To be called, "Extra Virgin", olive oil must meet the following basic criteria:
Many times, you'll see the term "first, cold-pressed" on a label. This is somewhat redundant since, technically, all extra virgin olive oils are the result of the first cold pressing.
All other varieties of olive oil, including "lite", "light", "pure", "virgin", and "refined" are lower-grade highly-refined oils that have had the health-conveying nutrients processed out. While there is some research indicating that a refined olive oil is slightly better than other refined vegetable oils, it should not be confused with an extra virgin olive oil, which has a myriad of health benefits.
Our recommendation is simple--stick to extra virgin olive oil for all of your food. Check out our previous blog post on cooking with olive oil from more ideas and tips.
If you found this post helpful, please consider sharing with your friends. We appreciate it! Also, we'd love your feedback in the comments below!
Spartan Oil compares very favorably to the most stringent olive oil standards currently being proposed and adopted throughout the world.
If you do a quick comparison of the UP standards to the 2015 Spartan Oil Chemical Analysis, you'll notice that Spartan Oil blows away all of the standards except for one--free fatty acid, which is commonly referred to as "acidity" in the olive oil world. There are multiple factors that play into acidity measurements, including olive variety and harvest time. Spartan Oil includes several olive varieties, including some which have a naturally higher acidity, especially as the harvest season reaches the latter stages. This is not an indicator of a lower quality oil. As a matter of fact, the peroxide and UV absorbance measurements, which are indicators of rancidity, show that Spartan Oil is an exceptionally fresh and high-quality oil.
Here's a quick comparison chart:
|Standard||IOC Limit||UP Limit||Spartan Oil|
|Free Fatty Acid (% oleic acid)||< 0.8||< 0.3||0.37|
|Peroxides||< 20||< 9||4.22|
|UV Absorbance (K232)||< 2.5||< 2.0||1.697|
|UV Absorbance (K270)||< 0.22||< 0.20||0.132|
Watermelon is the new mango. This summer, we've seen tons of recipes for watermelon in just about everything. At the Fancy Food Show, watermelon-based gazpachos (we were right next to them!) were selected as among the top 5 food trends for this year.
Well, we've got something to add to your next grilled meal--watermelon tzatziki. The sweetness of the melon really pairs nicely with the tangy greek yogurt. Such a refreshing and satisfying way to enhance a meal. Speaking from experience, it works really well with grilled lamb chops or grilled chicken kabobs.
Preparation: Cut up several pieces of watermelon, leaving the rind on. The rind will give you something to hold on to as you shred the melon into small pieces. After you've shredded approximately 1 cup of watermelon, place it into a strainer and allow it to sit for at least 20 minutes to allow the water to drain out. After most of the water has drained out, it should yield approximately 2/3 cup of watermelon.
Combine all ingredients into a large bowl, except for the salt and Spartan Oil. Mix gently to blend. Add in the salt and Spartan Oil until you're happy with the taste.
Pro tip: Preparing the tzatziki the night before will allow the ingredients, particularly the garlic to intensify in flavor.
One of the most common questions we receive during tastings and conversations with folks about olive oil is, "Can you use extra virgin olive oil for cooking?"
The answer is a resounding yes.
However, there seems be quite a bit of confusion and misinformation regarding this fact and it boils down to two points:
First, let's differentiate between extra virgin olive oil and all other olive oils. Extra virgin is the result of the first pressing of olives and contains the healthy polyphenols. Other grades of olive oil are refined and lose much of their nutritional benefits.
Extra virgin olive oil has a naturally lower smoke point than a refined vegetable oil (regular olive oil, canola, corn, soybean, peanut). However, this doesn't indicate that extra virgin olive oil shouldn't be used for cooking. As long as the temperature doesn't exceed approximately 325 degrees, it's perfectly suitable for cooking. In indirect heating applications, even higher temperatures are fine. Medium temperature sautéing is perfectly fine.
As the amount of cooking shows, channels, websites, blogs, and celebrity chefs have proliferated over the past 15 years, so has the amount of information and misinformation regarding cooking techniques and ingredients. A common refrain from many "experts" is to choose two different olive oils for your kitchen--one for cooking and one for finishing. This advice is primarily based on the notion that authentic high-quality extra virgin olive oils tend to be a bit pricier than non-extra virgin oils. However, using a lower-grade olive oil is essentially the same as using a vegetable oil--it doesn't possess the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil.
1) Use a high-quality extra virgin olive oil (like Spartan Oil) for all of your cooking, even if it involves heating.
2) If you need an oil for a high-temperature application like stir-frying or deep-frying, look into a higher quality refined oil with a higher smoke point. Peanut oil is a common one, but look into coconut and avocado oils.
Here are a couple additional articles for reference:
Dark chocolate olive oil ganache truffle. Need we say more. (Very heart-healthy, by the way!)
This amazing collaboration between Spartan Oil and Xocolata, a local artisanal chocolate and pastry maker, is available in limited-edition batches. Saturday, August 8 at the Vienna Farmers Market marks the first time it will be available to the public. It will also be available in limited quantities at the Great Falls Community Farmers Market on Saturday, August 15, where you can also meet the folks from Xocolata!