Organic Olive Management
Regans Ridge is certified "Australian Certified Organic" through the BFA (Biological Farmers of Australia)Prior to planting our first olive trees in 1999, Regans Ridge made the decision not to use chemicals in any of our management and processing practises.
Composted organic and animal manures are used and incorporated into the soil before planting and ongoing through the irrigation system and broad acre spreading. Annual leaf, soil and water analyses reports to us any elements that we need to amend so as to maintain optimal growing conditions.
By not using chemical pesticides and fertilisers: the natural flora, fauna and microbes in the soil are not destroyed; natural useful predators, bees, bird life and other animals are not harmed; our final products are totally 100% natural, fresh and contain optimal benefits for your health. (antioxidants and polyphenols)
The olives are harvested between March and June, when the oil in the olives is at its best quality and quantity.
The table olives are hand picked. Olives for oil are harvested by a shaker. The trees are shaken for 30 - 60 seconds, and the olives fall into a catching umbrella and into a crate. The oil, which is a 100% natural fruit juice is extracted without chemicals or solvents.
The fruit does not touch the ground and is in optimal condition when it enters the press. After laboratory testing, the oil is packaged in a dark bottle to minimise the damaging affects of light. It should be kept in a dark, cool place to retain its flavoursome qualities and health benefits.Our table olives are hand-picked and processed by Regans Ridge using a natural brine curing method, which has been used by four generations in the family. No artificial preservatives or colours are used. You will find our olives are crisp and firm, free-stone, full of flavour and have a high flesh-to-pit ratio. Simply Irresistible!!
We do this using organic methods so that: you can enjoy 100% natural, fresh, West Australian Regans Ridge grown olive oil and table olives; organically grown products retain 100% of their unique olive flavours, aromas, antioxidants and polyphenols for optimal health. Our natural resources of water, air and soil and the natural birds and animals in the environment are preserved for future generations to enjoy. Because of our range of oils and table olives, there is great culinary scope when using Regans Ridge’s products.
The milder oils are ideal for dressing seafood, chicken, over pasta, vegetables and salads or used in your favourite muffins and cakes.Stronger oils that have a hint of spicy pepper are excellent to use when marinating meat, in casseroles and soups, over pasta or with crusty bread.
Regans Ridge Table Olives can be eaten: on their own, marinated in your favourite herbs over night before eating, sliced and included in salads, rice dishes, and on your pizza. They can also be used in cooking for delicious savoury muffins and breads.
Types of Olive Oil
How do you know which olive oil to buy when shopping in the supermarket or gourmet shop?? Are you paying for the quality and freshness of the olive oil, or the brand name, expensive labelling and packaging?? All olive oils are not equal. To gain the greatest health benefits from olive oil always choose the best quality fresh extra virgin olive oil.
There are 4 categories of olive oil:
Extra virgin olive oil (E.V.O.O.) is the highest quality and must have a free fatty acid (F.F.A.) level of less than 1%. It must also pass tests from a tasting panel and be free of any harvesting, processing or storage faults, which are detected in the taste of the oil. It must have a balance of positive attributes of fruitiness, freshness and a pleasant pepper and bitter aftertaste.
Virgin olive oil has a FFA level of between 1-3% and must pass the same taste tests as above.
“Pure” olive oil is a blend of refined or “lampante” oil (refined with chemical solvents) and virgin olive oil. It is without much colour, aroma or taste. “Light” or “Extra Light” does not indicate a lower fat content, but rather it is light in colour and flavour. It is a marketing name for a blend of refined oil and some virgin oil.
Pomace oil has been extracted from the residue paste (the paste has about 4-10% oil in it) using chemical solvents. It is then blended with some virgin oil to give it some flavour.
When choosing an olive oil from the shelf in the shop, always check its “best before date” and when it was harvested. Olive oil is best consumed within the first 18 months after harvesting. A good EVOO will smell fresh (sometimes like freshly cut grass) and taste fresh and fruity with a balance of bitterness and a pleasant peppery aftertaste. The bitterness is the phenolic component of the oil which is rich in antioxidants.Choose 2 or 3 different styles – delicate, medium and robust used for different culinary purposes in your kitchen.
Delicate oils are wonderful to complement seafood, cakes, desserts, muffins, pastries, and mayonnaise and sauces.
Medium strength oils are very versatile to use in soups, casseroles, roasting, stir-frying, marinades or for frying. Olive oil can be used for frying and heated to a higher temperature (410’F or 250’C) than other vegetable oils without affecting its health benefits. It can be reused for cooking up to 10 times. This is because it is high in monounsaturated fats and low in saturated fats compared to other vegetable oils. Saturated fatty acids are more easily broken down by heat and light. Olive oil when heated also expands, so you use less.
Robust oils are used when you want to enhance dishes and also taste the flavour of the oil, as in – pasta, salads, dipping with bread, pizza chicken and meat.
Once you have experienced the fresh aroma and taste of excellent quality extra virgin olive oils, you will not want to use anything else!!
Olives Australia publication 2003.
Australian Olive Association
“Olive Oil Assessment, 2002”.
“The Secret of Good Health – Olive Oil Advice on its correct use”.
Nikos & Maria Psilakis, Greece.
“Handbook of Olive Oil – Analysis & Properties”.
John Harwood & Ramon Aparicio, 2000 USA.
Health Benefits of Olives and Olive Oil
It is a common desire that most of us are searching for ways to improve our health and the quality of our lives. As there are an ever-increasing number of resistant strains of bacteria and viruses, people are looking for natural ways to improve their immunity and general health.
The first olive trees were grown in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Fossilized olive leaves aged 50-60,000 years old were found on the Aegean Islands, Greece. 8,000 years ago, the early Egyptians discovered how versatile and valuable the olive tree was. As well as being used for light and warmth, the medicinal purposes of olive oil included treatment of wounds, infections, fever and pain. All parts of the olive tree were used – olives, oil, the leaves and the wood. During the 17th century in Greece, olive oil continued to be thought of as “a great gift that cured everything in life” (“olio d’oliva cura tutti i mali”).
In the Christian religion, olive oil had great importance in that it is one of the three blessed products. In 335 A.D. Eusevius wrote:
“To mankind who is civilized and honoured by the great god, excellent food, bread, wine and olive oil, was given. The bread supports and strengthens the heart, the wine lightens the spirit and the oil relaxes the body in that it cures and alleviates demanding hardships.”
Today, scientists have researched and proven the health benefits of the olive, its oil and the leaves. Some of the major health benefits include:
Reduces high blood pressure by relaxing the arterial walls.
Reduces cholesterol by reducing bad low density Lipo proteins (LDL’s) and increasing the good high density Lipo proteins (HDL’s)Reduces the incidence of heart disease. (the island of Crete has the lowest rate of coronary heart disease in the world)
Increased immune function and the ability to fight viruses, bacteria and parasitic agents.
Increases the body’s ability to fight the common cold, sore throats, coughs, sinus infections and many types of influenza.
Stabilizes blood sugar levels by stimulating production of insulin to assist in managing diabetes.
Effectively treats numerous skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and dry skin.
Effectively treats fungal and yeast infections.
Balances gastric acid secretions and contributes to digestion.
The phenolic compounds in olive oil act as potent scavengers in the body for toxins and free radicals which have been linked to cancer. This explains the lower incidence of Coronary Heart Disease and cancer associated with the Mediterranean diet.
Dramatic increase in energy levels and a greater sense of well-being. Used to treat fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome and lupus.
Antioxidants, phenols and vitamin E and K help delay the aging process.
The use of olive oil is a main part of the Mediterranean Diet which includes eating large quantities of cereals, legumes, vegetables and fruit, a moderate consumption of milk and dairy products, fish and poultry and a small amount of red meat. The health benefits of using olive oil within the Mediterranean diet can be maximized along with exercise and low to moderate stress levels.
Why is Olive Oil Healthier than other oils?
Edible oils are mainly vegetable oils or animal foodstuffs. They contain substances known as triglycerides, which contain varying percentages of “fats” : monounsaturated, saturated and polyunsaturated.
* Saturated fats are found in meat, milk, butter and dairy products.
* Unsaturated fats are found in plants and fish and are divided into two –
Polyunsaturated fatty acids are found in various seed oils such as sunflower oil, soya bean oil, canola oil (rape seed oil), cottonseed oil, and maize oil.
Monounsaturated fats are one of the “good guys” when it comes to healthy eating. Olive oil contains 95-98% monounsaturated fatty acids, the main one being oleic acid, which decreases cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.
Following is a table with the most commonly used cooking fats. Olive oil has the highest content of “good” fats.
Comparison of Dietary Facts
Margarine contains chemically converted oils known as trans-fatty acids. These are said to raise the “bad” cholesterol that is transported by the HDL’s in our bodies. Trans-fatty acids behave more like saturated animal fats than unsaturated oils of vegetable origin.
All edible vegetable oils have undergone several chemical processes to remove undesirable components to make them suitable for consumption.
Olive oil, which is a natural fruit juice, is the only oil that can be consumed without any refining process. The fruit is harvested from the tree and pressed immediately ready for use.
As well as being high in monounsaturated fatty acids and cholesterol free, the other components that improve health are – polyphenols, Oleuropein, calcium elenate and elenolic acid (the active ingredients of oleuropein), iron, vitamins A, C, E and K, omega-3 essential fatty acids and natural anti-oxidants.
High quality extra virgin olive oils also have more flavour and aroma than vegetable oils. Olive oil contains volatile organic compounds called aldehydes and esters. These impart great flavours and aromas that can be described as fruity, floral, grassy, citrus, spicy, green apple, tropical and so on... These flavours are not created by “processing” – they are inherent in the fruit as a result of specific growing conditions, freshness and prompt pressing.