Mar 29, 2014 by

When you buy olive oil you expect it to be well, olive. Not necessarily so.

I was talking to someone recently about “healthy” fats and cholesterol and the dreaded butter. They told me they had replaced the “dreadfully unhealthy butter” (full of natural fat) in their bakery with olive oil. This got me thinking. I’m pretty sure that the olive oil they replaced the butter with is pomace.

Pomace is what is left after the oil is extracted from olives. The sludge that remains after the olives are cold pressed is then treated with a solvent. This low grade extract is pomace oil or “olive oil”. It would be considerably cheaper than both butter and EVOO (extra virgin olive oil).

I don’t need to stress that pomace is low grade oil. In fact a lot of what’s extracted is not suitable for human consumption unless it’s blended with virgin olive oil. If it is solely pomace, it is only suitable for cleaning products.

The best quality olive oil “first cold pressed” and “extra virgin” has a strong flavour and is a greenish colour. It is also very viscous and goes cloudy at cold temperatures. It is a waste to cook with it as it denatures (burns) at high temperatures. It has a strong fruity flavour. It is not great in baking or in mayonnaise (in my opinion) due to it’s very strong flavour.

When I managed a bakery we used EVOO. Our supplier approached me and told me he could get me a far cheaper “olive” oil that wasn’t extra virgin. I did a bit of research and discovered that this far cheaper olive oil was in fact pomace. When I read up on it, I decided that I would rather switch oil than use it. We used a lot of EVOO on our focaccia at the time. We didn’t change.

When you buy olive oil in the supermarket unless it says “extra-virgin” and “first cold pressed” the chances are it’s pomace.

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