Ingredient Spotlight: Extra Virgin Olive Oil

You are likely familiar with the benefits of olive oil in the kitchen.  Healthier fats and rich flavor make it a preferred ingredient for making dressings or dips, sauteing vegetables or marinading proteins.  However, olive oil is also a popular ingredient in many bath & body products.

Olive oil is made up primarily of oleic acid which is a monounsaturated fat.  Oleic acid is resistant to high heat so its moisturizing benefits carry through the soap making process.  Olive oil also contains Omega-9 and Omega-6 acids along with small amounts of Vitamins E & K all of which have anti-inflammatory properties. This is why olive oil is a primary ingredient in Whispering Willow's bar soap, hand soap, and body wash.

It is important to remember that all olive oils are not the same.  We only use Certified Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil in our products. Virgin and Extra Virgin olive oil are both "cold pressed" meaning the oil is extracted from the fruit by simply pressing or squeezing the fruit. Of the two Extra Virgin comes from higher quality olives with more robust flavor acid and flavor profiles.

Other olive oils are extracted using heat or chemicals.  This is done because they are generally of a lower quality and would have an unpalatable flavor if not refined in some way.

Interestingly, olive oils can come in a variety of colors that fall along a spectrum from yellow to green.  If you have ever noticed slight color variations between batches of our hand soap, this is one of the reasons.  The exact color of olive oil is determined by a number of factors.

  • The Grade of the Olive Oil - Some of the lower grade olive oils we mentioned earlier are extracted using heat which can impact the color of the oil.
  • The Variety of Olives - Olives come in a variety of colors from dark blue and purple to bright green and earthy yellows.  Each varietal provides oil that has a slightly different hue.
  • When the Olives Were Picked - Some olives start green but then turn to a dark purple or just a darker green.  Depending on when in the ripening process the olive is picked can have an impact on the color of the oil produced
  • Age of the Oil & Storing Conditions - As olive oil ages, its color fades.  This process can be exacerbated by poor storage conditions that expose the oil to air, light, and heat.  We keep all of our oils stored in sealed containers at room temperature and rarely keep them longer than 4 to 6 weeks before using them to handcraft our products for you.

Whether you are using olive oil in the kitchen or treating your skin to some olive oil based goodies, we encourage you to be mindful of the type of olive oil you are enjoying.  Finally, don't be shy about insisting on the very highest quality oil, you deserve it!

Be Well,

W

 

 

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