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Frequently Asked Questions



What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
                The "extra" in the Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) relates to the first cold pressing of the ripe green olives. EVOO is the highest premium grade for olive oil.


What does first pressing and cold pressing mean?
                These terms are interchangeable. They are terms used in the past when initial pressure was applied by hard presses producing only a small amount of olive oil from the olive paste.

To extract even more oil, hot water was applied to the olive paste to improve the flow of the oil. Producers today use these terms to affirm that EVOO is an unrefined, natural product that has undergone very little processing, making it a top of the line oil.


How Should I store my Olive Oil?
                Olive oil should be stored in a cool (70-75) dark place. Light and heat are 2 primary enemies of Olive Oil. Bottled in dark containers is also important to shield Olive Oil from harmful UV Rays and light. It should not be stored in the refrigeratior. 


How long will my olive oil stay fresh?

                Freshness is the key to taste in Olive Oil and after 1 year you will begin to lose that fresh taste. The shelf life of Olive Oil decreases after a year, as all consumable products do. However, how your olive oil is stored can have a great impact on the shelf life of your olive oil.


Can I replace "Butter" or "Margarine" with olive oil?
                Yes! Next time a recipe calls for butter, replace it with olive oil. Replacing butter with high quality olive oil will not only taste better but it's a healthier way to eat.


Use this simple chart to convert the quantity of butter called for in a recipe to the required quantity of olive oil.

Butter                   EVOO
1 TSP                     ¾ TSP
2 TSP                     1 ½ TSP
1 TBSP                   2 1/4 TSP 
2 TBSP                   1 1/2 TBSP 
1/4 CUP                3 TBSP
1/2 CUP                1/4 Cup + 2 TBSP
1 CUP                    3/4


What are the nutritional facts for Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
                1-Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil contains 120 calories, 14 grams of fat, no cholesterol, and no sodium.
77% of the fat in extra virgin olive oil is monounsaturated(more depending on the variatal of the olive), and 9% is polyunsaturated fat. 14% is vegetable derived saturated fat.
Extra Virgin olive oil also contains the antioxidants beta-carotene and vitamin E, as well as phenolic compounds tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol. extra virgin olive oils contains no salt and is naturally cholesterol free.
Studies show that when substituted for saturated fats, monounsaturated fats lower blood cholesterol, especially the "harmful" low density lipoproteins (LDL) while protecting the "good" high density lipoproteins (HDL).


How should I cook with Olive Oil?
                EVOO can be used up to 400* degrees which is the smoking point. Some variatals are even higher. EVOO is also excellent for sauteing (300* degrees), or for sauces and frying(340* degrees).
EVOO is excellent for marinades, vinaigrettes and of course a always a great finishing oil to drizzle over your dish.
Cooking with a healthy olive oil that taste good to you, will make your dish more nutritious than cooking with butter.


 What are the health benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
                To summarize, what makes extra virgin olive oil so healthy is the high percentage of oleic acid, monounsaturated fat that helps prevent heart attacks and lower blood pressure. Studies also show that EVOO also seems to lower cancer risks.

It is recommended to take at least a Tablespoon of olive oil a day for health benefits.

EVOO studies also show that the polyphenols in olive oil have the highest activity to help prevent skin cancer, as well as excellent anti-aging properties for slowing the process of skin wrinkling.

Interesting Fact: How many olives does it take for 1 Quart of Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Ten pounds of olives. Can you believe that?


Balsamic Vinegar 


What is Balsamic Vinegar? 
                True aged balsamic vinegar, called Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, comes from Modena, Italy. Made from Trebbiano grapes, the grapes ripen on the vine for as long as possible to develop sugar. The juice, or “must,” is pressed out of the grapes and boiled down. 
Then the vinegar production and aging process begins, initially in oak kegs. Over the years, it graduates to smaller and smaller kegs, made of chestnut, cherry wood, ash, mulberry, and juniper that change the taste and character of the vinegar, until it is of desired age. The end result is a sweet and thick vinegar!


 Are all balsamic vinegars the same?
                There are three types of balsamic vinegars:
1. Commercial Balsamic, most commonly bought at stores and served at restaurants. Contains apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegars sweetened with sugar and colored with carmel coloring.
2. Balsamic of Modena, made from grapes then age for at least 6 years in steel containers.
3. Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, Italy. Most desired among the three, with the strictest regulations.

The base of true balsamic vinegars can only be produced from the white, sugary Trebbiano grapes. The grapes must be grown in the northern region of Modena, Italy. The grapes ripen on the vine for as long as possible to develop their sugar. The juice or "must" is pressed out of the grapes and boiled down. Then the vinegar production and aging process begins first, in oak kegs.
Over the years it graduates to smaller and smaller kegs made of chestnut, cherry wood, ash, mulberry and juniper. These woods add character and flavor to the vinegars.
The Vinegar must be aged for at least 12 years in order to be called a Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.
Every year the moisture is removed from the vinegar, thus the older vinegars are thicker, richer and often syrupy


How should I store my Balsamic Vinegar?
                Keeping it in a cupboard and away from any heat will ensure freshness, but it has an unlimited shelf life. Because of its acidity, vinegar is self preserving and doesn't require refrigeration.



What are the health benefits for Balsamic Vinegar?
                Balsamic vinegars have an anti-bacterial and anti-viral property which makes it effective for treating infection. Folk healers used balsamic to cure body pain and as an energizer.
Balsamic vinegar also contains power antioxidant called polyphenols which fight cell damage, and boost energy. Balsamic vinegars aids in digestion and sugar balance for the body.
It has also used to help control heart burn, acid reflux and diabetes. Balsamic vinegar can reduce cholesterol, reduces the frequency of headaches, and can help suppress appetite which can aid in controlling weight.



What is Tea

                Tea is the second-most consumed drink in the world, surpassed only by water. All Black, Green, Oolong, White and Pu-Erh teas originate from the same species of plant, the Camelia Sinensis. Camellia sinensis is a sub-tropical evergreen plant native to Asia but now grown around the world. The tea plant grows best in loose, deep soil, at high altitudes, and in sub-tropical climates. So, in short, "tea" is anything derived from the Camellia sinensis plant. Anything else, while sometimes called "tea", is more accurately referred to as an herbal tea or tisane. Tisanes include chamomile, Rooibos and fruit teas.


 What Is The Best Way To Store Loose Leaf Teas?
                It is fresh air, oxygen to be specific, that robs the flavor from loose leaf teas. Store the teas in an air tight container away from moisture and direct sunlight. Don't store teas in the refrigerator or freezer. The cooler temperatures are not helpful: there is moisture, and the delicate leaves will pick up strong odors.


Does Your Tea Have An Expiration Date?
                 No, our tea does not have an expiration date. We do put lot numbers on our tea, which lets us know when it was produced. We recommend that the product be consumed within two years of that date, simply to ensure the best flavor. Of course, we guarantee all of our products, and if you are unhappy with a Harney & Sons product, please let us know.


Should Tea Be Kept In The Freezer?
                No, tea should not be kept in the freezer. There are strong aromas and moisture in your freezer. Tea should be stored in a closed container, out of the light. Remember that tea is a blotter and will absorb strong smells!


What Is The Difference Between Herbal Tea And Decaffeinated Tea?
                Decaffeinated tea is tea from which the caffeine has been removed. Herbal tea, on the other hand, is not really tea at all, but is herbs brewed in the same way that tea is brewed. Herbals are sometimes referred to as tisanes and never had any caffeine to begin with.


What Is An Oolong?
                Oolong tea is sometimes referred to as Brown tea, because it is considered by some to be halfway between a black tea and a green tea. In many respects it is the most complicated tea to make, because the tea is only partially oxidized. That is like keeping a banana perfectly ripe (nature keeps it moving towards being overripe.) However the reward for all that hard work is tea with great body, and the most intense and varied aroma and flavors.


What is Rooibos?

                Rooibos from South Africa is a flavorful, caffeine-free alternative to tea for those seeking to eliminate caffeine intake. Also known as Red Tea, Rooibos gained popularity during WWII when tea supplies from Asia were cut off forcing drinkers to find an alternative. With the many amazing health benefits surfacing and many flavors available, Rooibos has far surpassed its role as an alternative beverage.