Lemon-infused olive oil: Kick off the new year with new flavors

Lemon-infused olive oil: Kick off the new year with new flavors

Organic Meyer Lemon Olive Oil

Chef Mario describes lemon-infused olive oil as a “happy accident.”

When he was learning to cook in Italy, he visited olive mills that avoided harsh chemicals to clean their equipment. Instead, they used lemons and other citrus fruits, and the result was a versatile, lightly flavored olive oil. 

Chef Mario has been wanting to try this with our olives and fruit for a while. Finally, this winter we were ready! Normally, we harvest all of our olives at the same time, but last year we left one variety of olives on the tree and waited for the Meyer lemon harvest that happens in December. A few weeks ago, we took three tons of our Cortina olives and 90 pounds of our just-harvested Meyer lemons to McEvoy Ranch for a very special press. And now, our first-ever, lemon-infused olive oil is ready for your 2024 culinary adventures.

The history behind the process

Infusing olive oil with citrus is known as the “agrumato method.” Agrume means “citrus” in Italian. This infusion process originated in the Abruzzo region of Southern Italy where olive millers used lemon to clean their equipment after a press. In the 1980s, the Ricci family of Lanciano trademarked Agrumato, and through their products have popularized citrus-infused olive oil. 

At McEvoy Ranch, millers will use every part of the lemon – the skin, pith, and flesh – and press it all with the olives. The filtering process will remove bits of fruit, but the lemons’ essential oils will seamlessly merge with the olive oil.  

“Fat is a great translator of flavor,” Chef Mario says.

Oil that is unique to our farm

For Chef Mario, our infused olive oil is unique to California and Frog Hollow Farm. We’re using our own organic Meyer lemons, which flourish in our Mediterranean climate and our own organic olives. 

“In Italy, they use what is available to create their oils – they don’t ship different products in from other places,” he says. “That’s what I’m looking for, too. Our olives and lemons grow together, and that’s what we’re using.”

Tasty ideas

Today, lemon-infused olive oil is a cooking staple around the world. Chef Mario suggests using it in dishes where you’re looking for a little bit of acidity. Drizzle it on carrots, potatoes, radishes, and salads, or on seafood, beef or chicken. But don’t limit it to savory dishes, he says. This oil compliments sweets, too! Try it in your favorite olive oil cake recipe, or add a drizzle to a bowl of top-quality vanilla ice cream. A pinch of Maldon or kosher salt and you’ve created a dessert masterpiece. Cheers to a new year and new recipes!

Get our Organic Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Here.

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