“It’s bitter and it pinches! I don’t like it.“. How many times have we heard it?
Several studies and taste tests have shown that the majority of consumers do not appreciate bitter and spicy oil, preferring the sweeter and more fruity ones. It is not the discovery of hot water but we are close to it.
All of us, or at least the majority, instinctively prefer sweeter foods since childhood and we carry this attitude into adulthood by sweetening tea, coffee and eating cakes and ice cream. Nothing wrong with that, that’s how we are.
As happens in other cases, however, it cannot be just taste that guides our choices. And this is the case of EVO oil.
Let’s start by explaining why some EVOs are bitter and spicy.
In the leaves and fruits of the olive tree there are large quantities of antioxidants (polyphenols) that the plant uses to defend itself from pathogens. Depending on the time of harvest and the cultivar, the percentage of polyphenols can vary significantly.
It is the presence of these antioxidants that gives the oil its bitter and spicy taste but not only this. These substances are also responsible for other very important characteristics: they make the product stable over time where the first taste will be the same as the last (respecting however the conservation rules. Read more.) And makes EVO oil a nourishing and curative product .
They are not new but it is always useful to remember the main benefits: the monounsaturated fats present in the EVO oil protect the cardiovascular system, the polyphenols defend against many types of tumors, the presence of vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant, which protects the cells from ‘aging.
As we said, the time of collection affects the presence of all these substances. The earlier the harvest (before the fruits are completely ripe), the higher the percentage.
From here we can say that if an EVO oil “we like it more” because it does not pinch and has a more rounded and fruity taste, it also means that all those characteristics we have talked about will be present in less quantity. We will therefore be faced with a lower quality product that maybe we will like more for the few seconds that will pass through our mouth but which will not provide us with all the benefits mentioned.
I believe that in these few lines there are enough reasons to give bitter and spicy EVO oil a chance.
The choice is up to us.