Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do you pronounce Sciabica?
A: Sciabica is an Italian last name in which the “sci” makes the “sh” sound. In Italy, it would be pronounced with the accent on the first syllable: Shà-bee-ka However, here in the US it is pronounced with an accent on the second syllable: Sha-bèe-ka
Q: Why can’t you offer free shipping?
A: The truth is, there is no “free” shipping. The cost of shipping needs to be accounted for somewhere. It’s rolled into the sale price of products that ship “free” online (such as Amazon). It’s easy for items that are light and not easily broken like a DVD or book. It’s also easy on items that cost hundreds of dollars.

Unfortunately, olive oil is heavy, fragile and relatively inexpensive. One $16 bottle of olive oil costs the Sciabica Family over $6 to ship! Fortunately, it costs the exact same to ship up to 2 bottles – so we only charge $5 for 1 or 2 bottles. Once you get to three bottles, our cost doubles to over $12, but we still only charge $10. We’ve done the absolute best we can offering our FastMax shipping which never goes over $10!

Q: Are your olive oils organic?
A: This is a touchy subject for some. Here’s our theory: The word organic should mean “trust”. When you buy something at the grocery store, you want to trust in the product you’re buying. Without knowing the company (or family) that produces a product, many rely on the word “organic” to gain trust. In reality, we believe it is much more important to know where your food comes from and who produces it.

We are a 100% certified organic grower and producer. Furthermore, we process all of our olive oil the same (organically) and ALL of our olive oils offer the same health benefit and full flavor (an organic olive oil will not taste better). Yet, most of our olives are not “certified” organic. Keep in mind, olives have very few natural pests, namely the “olive fly” which is controlled ONLY with an organic bait. The most likely non-organic practice is the use of an herbicide to control weeds.

The truth is, we do not find that organically certified olive oil offers a benefit for our family or customers, but it does offer considerable extra cost. Rest assured, we are meticulous regarding the quality of our olives and sustainability of the land. If you still would like to see the certified seal on your olive oil, we offer our Sadeg Organic line (designed for stores that only carry organic products; please give us a call to order)

Q: I love your product; It beats the Italian brands hands down. My question is about the health benefits of olive oil. Which of your oils have a better health benefit or are they all the same? – submitted by: Phil Chevela

A: Olive oil should be used every day because it reduces harmful LDL cholesterol while maintaining beneficial HDL. LDL cholesterol sticks in our arteries and causes blockages. Conversely, Jonathan Sciabica calls HDL cholesterol the “Roto-Rooter” for our system. HDL’s job is to flow through and remove the bad LDL, leading to lower risk of heart attack and heart disease. Extra Virgin olive oil retains all of the natural health benefits of the oil. Refined olive oils, such as “100% pure” may not have the effect on your health that EVOO offers. Since all of our oils are extra virgin, you can’t go wrong, though there is some evidence that shows stronger (fall harvest) olive oils have better antioxidant properties which have been correlated with reduced rates of cancer.

Q: Olive oil has a lot of calories; should I be concerned?

A: In a word, no. There are three terms that often have negative connotations that are not necessarily negative: Calories, Fat and Cholesterol. There are good sides to each of them.

Calories: Calories are essential because they give us energy; however, not all calories are created equal. 100 calories from fruit will burn off extremely fast, but 100 calories from saturated fat will take much more work. Olives are a fruit, and the oil from the olive is not nearly as “fattening” as the saturated and trans fats in fast food! The type of calorie is more important than the quantity. For instance, you can remove 500 calories of saturated fat and add 750 calories of fruits and vegetables and still lose weight! We believe that it is not possible to use too much olive oil 🙂

Fat and Cholesterol: There are two types of Cholesterol, LDL and HDL. LDL is considered “bad” cholesterol and HDL is “good”. Having high cholesterol is not necessarily bad if it is high in “good” HDL. Saturated and Trans Fats have the “double whammy” effect of lowering good cholesterol and raising bad cholesterol. This is obviously bad, and should be avoided. Unsaturated fats do not have the negative effect of raising bad cholesterol, but not all are able to maintain good cholesterol. The Monounsaturated fats in olive oil have the opposite effect of Saturated and Trans Fats; they lower bad cholesterol and maintain good cholesterol. This significantly lowers the risk of blockage and heart disease.

There is also evidence to support the fact that Trans fats may raise the risk of Cancer, Diabetes, Obesity, Liver Dysfunction and Infertility.

Q: When I order my EVOO in the winter months it comes frozen in the bottle. Per instructions from the main man at Sciabica’s I let the bottle set at room temperature and all seems to return to normal. I don’t notice any flavor issues and the hazy oil clears. Just was wondering if anyone else had similar experiences and did the frozen oil present any particular issues? – submitted by: zuppa

A: You’re right, the freezing process does NOT harm the olive oil. Yet, depending on how cold it gets, it may take up to a week to thaw!

Q: Do I need to refrigerate my olive oil?
A: No, olive oil keeps just fine in your cupboard at room temperature.
Q: What is the shelf life of your olive oil?
A: The three main concerns regarding olive oil are UV light, heat and oxygen. If you do not open your bottle and keep it out of the light in your cupboard, the olive oil will be fine a year from now. After you open a bottle of Sciabica’s olive oil, we like to see you use it within three months.
Q: You say that UV light is bad; why aren’t Sciabica’s olive oils in dark glass?
A: Unfortunately, “dark glass” is likely the biggest olive oil myth around. UV light is harmful to olive oil, not the visible spectrum. The windshield of your car is a testament to the fact that “dark color” is not related to UV; it’s perfectly clear yet blocks 98 to 100% of UV light! In many cases the coloring agent added to “dark glass” actually REDUCES the UV blocking. In fact, our tests show that the clearer the glass the better.

My grandfather always said “dark glass is a good way to hide bad oil”. It’s true, I can often tell by looking at an olive oil if the color is off. In a dark bottle it’s not possible.

We’ve found the label is a great UV blocker and have designed a label that takes up the majority of the bottle for this reason. Still, any glass container is not ideal and should be kept in the dark as much as possible.

Q: Will you tell me about using flavored oils? – submitted by: petenme

A: We call our flavored olive oils “Fresh Flavored”. That’s because we do not infuse the flavor through heat like most olive oils. Instead we send fresh fruits or herbs with the olives through the presses. For example, fresh, whole lemons will get crushed with the olives in the mill to produce Lemon Olive Oil, and big, beautiful jalapeños will go through the same process for our Jalapeño Olive Oil. The process is cold, all natural and amazingly fresh tasting. In fact, if you find a flavored olive oil that you think matches one of ours, we’ll give you your money back!

There are many uses for the flavored olive oils. I’ll name our favorites:

Lemon: Chicken, Fish, Sautee Asparagus

Orange: Orange Brownies, Orange Balsamic salad dressing

Jalapeño: Sautée asparagus, Popcorn!

Basil: Instant Pasta Pesto

Garlic: Instant Garlic Bread, Sandwich Spread

Rosemary: Fish, Chicken

Q: There are different olive oils that are named besides Sciabica’s, like Marsala and Sadeg. Does Sciabica make these and use a different name, or are these made from another company and sold by Sciabica? -submitted by: Guy

A: The Sciabica Family produces the olive oil for all of those labels. Marsala is the original label used by the Sciabica Family going all the way back to 1936.  In fact, up until the late 80’s, it was the only way that you could get Sciabica’s olive oil.  It was essentially a blend of all the olives we crushed during that year.  At some point we decided that we could offer much more to our customers if we kept all varieties separate when we pressed them, also by season of year.  This is why we developed the Sciabica’s label.  Today the Marsala is a blend of Sciabica’s Mission and Manzanillo, and is a good all-purpose olive oil.

Sadeg is a different story.  It was an organic olive oil label that we purchased from our friend Adam Sadeg. At the time, we had a small market for organic olive oil and needed a brand with “market awareness”.  Now we sell all of our organic olive oil that we produce under the Sadeg Organic label.

Q: When using olive oil, how would I know if I chose the right varietal for a particular cooking method? (baking vs. frying, etc.) – submitted by: thansen17
A: Generally lighter olive oils are used for cooking and baking, and stronger more robust olive oils for salads and bread dipping. There are 3 times that olives can be picked and pressed, beginning in September and going through April, divided into Fall, Winter and Spring Pressings. Fall pressing are much stronger in flavor than Winter pressings, while Spring are the lightest and sweetest which makes the Spring Pressings perfect for baking and the fall for salads, bread dipping and marinades. Yet, in the end, personal preference will determine which is right for you.