4 Reasons Early Harvest Olive Oil Is Best For Health & Cooking
Have you ever tried an authentic, high-quality extra-virgin olive oil? You'll know if you have—the experience is unforgettable. A premium extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) smells just like frolicking through a seaside grove—or, more technically, like grass, fruits, vegetables, and/or flowers. If you taste it by itself, a true EVOO provides a burns-so-good sensation at the back of your throat. It's an experience so rich and stimulating for the senses that most of us never look back.
The importance of "early harvest" EVOO.
From greasing the frying pan to whisking up a citrusy salad dressing—oils are central to our diet. And while nothing is quite as versatile and popular as olive oil, it exists on a very broad spectrum of quality. We rarely take a stance this strong, but high-quality olive oil is simply better in taste, in health benefits, and for cooking.
Luckily, many of us already prefer "extra-virgin" olive oil, even if we don't know what it means (we get it; we've been there). What we don't realize is that "early harvest" EVOO, like Kosterina olive oil, is even better. It's superior in both taste and health benefits. From pan to plate, an early harvest extra-virgin olive oil is the only one we want in our kitchen, and after you read these four reasons, you'll see why:
1. Early harvest extra-virgin olive oils are the best quality out there.
You've caught the drift that EVOOs are the best—but now you'll know why. All olive oils are made by applying pressure to olives in order to separate the liquid oil from the solid matter. "Extra-virgin" olive oil comes from the first press of the olives, whereas virgin oils come from the second press, and "pure" or plain "olive oil" comes from the third press. The very best EVOOs, however, are "early harvest," meaning they are made from the first press of olives that are still unripe and green. Kosterina is an early harvest EVOO made from unripe 100% Koroneiki olives from the Peloponnese region of Greece... It actually takes 12 pounds of these green olives to make just one bottle!
2. Early harvest EVOOs have greater health benefits.
Pressing unripe olives yields less juice but also conserves the natural polyphenols found in olive oil—i.e., health benefits galore. Polyphenols are antioxidants that occur naturally in olive oil. Studies1 have shown that polyphenols have anti-inflammatory qualities that may have preventive and therapeutic effects for cardiovascular disease and cancer while also playing a key role in regulating metabolism and chronic disease. More specifically, consuming high-polyphenol extra-virgin olive oil can even help reduce blood pressure. With a deep appreciation for the health benefits of 100% olive oil, Kosterina presses their olives early in the harvest season to ensure high levels of polyphenols are preserved.
3. "Extra-virgin" olive oil has a high bar to pass.
Our own palate can pick up on the superiority of extra-virgin olive oils (dare you to try). But to be "extra virgin," an olive oil also must pass two hurdles: organoleptic testing for the natural tastes and aromas of an EVOO, and chemical analysis, for elements like acidity and polyphenol content. Here's why this matters: Through testing, Kosterina extra-virgin olive oil was found to have a polyphenol content of 470 milligrams per kilogram as measured at the time of harvest... The standard for extra-virgin olive oils is 55 mg/kg. This means we know the quality of Kosterina early harvest olive oil is nine times higher than the norm—as always, only the best for you!
4. Early harvest extra-virgin olive oil is the best for cooking.
The best meals start with a swirl of EVOO in a pan, but only if it's premium quality. And the reason why matters: When oils are heated for cooking, potentially harmful chemical (and sometimes physical) changes can occur. According to the Olive Wellness Institute, EVOO produces the lowest level of harmful compounds under heat. EVOO does a great job of retaining its structure and high level of antioxidants, but again, only if it's high-quality. EVOOs with lower polyphenol content won't stand up to heat like the high polyphenol levels of Kosterina. P.S.: The rumors aren't true: High-quality EVOO actually has a very high smoke point and way more health benefits than vegetable oils.
Cooking with Kosterina comes with health benefits and taste. The rich, fruity, and grassy notes of Kosterina olive oil elevate any flavor profile—whether it's a classic Mediterranean dip like Tzatziki or Lime-Garlic Chicken Kebabs. Using real olive oil is a simple way to please the palate and increase the nutrition of any healthy meal. There's no reason we shouldn't be using it for everything: from frying eggs to grilling some fresh veggies to whipping up a luxurious dessert like Olive Oil Brownies.
Bottom line: Look for early harvest.
When you taste an early harvest extra-virgin olive oil like Kosterina, the luxurious taste and silky feel leave a mark on your memory. Quality food has the power to do that. Sometimes we think that something so exceptional must be saved for "special occasions." But let's think about that... Doesn't our health deserve the best at all times? Isn't it the little things that provide the most meaning? From cooking to pure enjoyment, it's impossible for us to imagine a kitchen without Kosterina. It's the high-quality ingredients that make high-quality moments. Ready for even better news? MBG readers can take 20% off their Kosterina order with code MBG.
Devon Barrow is a Branded Content Editor at mindbodygreen. She received her degree from the University of Colorado. When she's away from her desk, Devon is teaching yoga, writing poetry, meditating, and traveling the world. She's based in Boulder, Colorado.
Devon's first book, Earth Women, is coming soon. To learn more, join the mailing list, and receive updates, head to www.devonbarrowwriting.com.