If you are buying a bottle of extra virgin olive oil, it will serve you well to look out for the commitment to compliance (CTC) seal. This cautionary message comes from SA Olive, the organisation for olive growers, olive oil and table olive producers, tree nurseries and olive importers.
It describes the CTC seal on a bottle of extra virgin olive oil as “a seal of confidence”. It assures consumers that the producer is committed to compliance in quality olive oil production. Also, it is your way of knowing that the product is truly proudly South African and authentic oil.
This means the consumer may experience all the enjoyment and benefits of a fresh juice extracted from newly harvested olives, says SA Olive.
However, it adds that the CTC seal is not a certification scheme. Instead, it is a voluntary integrity-based scheme managed by SA Olive.
The CTC seal guarantees that the labelling of the product is correct and transparent. The year of harvest and best-before date are clearly displayed on the product to assure consumers of the freshness of the oil.
Extra virgin olive oil is a natural, unrefined olive oil with low acidity, no defects and a fresh, vibrant taste. If properly extracted and carefully stored, it has a multitude of health benefits and a full spectrum of flavour nuances, including: bitter, fruity, pungent, green, ripe, crisp, and, above all fresh.
How to correctly store extra virgin olive oil
Storing your extra virgin olive oil correctly can prolong its shelf-life. The olive harvest takes place between March and July in the Southern Hemisphere. Newly pressed and bottled oils are then available from June to July in the same year.
Experts note that extra virgin olive oil does not mature with age, but will usually stay fresh in a sealed bottle for 18 to 24 months. So, ideally, it should be consumed as fresh as possible to derive the most culinary and health benefits. Also, always look for the harvest year on SA Olive’s CTC seal.
Follow these top 5 tips for the best results
- Keep your olive oil as air-tight as possible.
- It is best stored in a sealed, dark container (glass or other material) and kept out of direct sunlight
- If buying large quantities, decant the oil into smaller containers to protect it from the air until being used.
- Once a container has been opened, it should preferably be used within 2 months.
- Do not store extra virgin olive oil in the fridge as it will solidify and condensation will promote oxidation.