Another week, another unforeseen and unique offering from Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s Olive Oil and Lemon Juice is not only a unusual sounding mixture, but it’s basically unprecedented anywhere, as far as I can tell. So unusual, in fact, that I’m still not certain that I haven’t just dreamed it.
|What it is:||Olive oil mixed with lemon juice.|
|Worth it:||It’s not bad, just really pointless.|
Drawn in by the unique name, I found that this was a classic case “what you see is what you get”. Trader Joe’s Olive Oil and Lemon Juice is exactly that – a mixture of their somewhat acclaimed 100% Greek olive oil with a dash of lemon juice mixed in.
Why you would want to do such a thing is the puzzle. Trader Joe’s has quite a wide selection of extra virgin olive oils, and generally place quite highly in the metric of quality vs. price. However, as Trader Joe’s themselves point out, extra virgin olive oils are supposed to have less than 0.8% acidity. It would seem to me that adding a bunch of lemon juice would sort of wreck your pretensions to high quality EVOO.
Of course, people do have a long tradition of adding another common acid to olive oil – balsamic vinegar. Of course, this is usually done at the table – no one, to my my knowledge, is currently offering a blend of extra virgin olive oil and vinegar in the same bottle (although TJ’s has probably thought about it).
As far as I can tell, this bottle of lemon juice and olive oil seems to be intended to fill the same roll as the more common balsamic vinegar and olive oil mixture. The bottle itself even mentions using it as “a salad dressing or sauce sauce for seafood, fish and vegetables. If so, it’s a pretty poor substitute. Lemon juice lacks the body and complexity of a really good (or even a really average) balsamic vinegar. There is a little bit of a zesty zing to this olive oil, but it’s very subdued and one note – nothing like the satisfying blast of flavor you get with a good, viscous vinegar.
Confusing matters more, there isn’t very much lemon juice in this olive oil and lemon juice mixture. Poor out a good drizzle of olive oil on your salad or veggies and what you’ll taste is: olive oil, olive oil, olive oil, a tiny hint of lemon, and olive oil. Even if I was into the idea of replacing balsamic vinegar with lemon juice, this doesn’t seem like the way to do it. I’ve got a little squeeze bottle of lemon juice in my fridge right now – why wouldn’t I just zazz up my regular, all purpose olive oil with a couple squirts of that?
Despite the very lovely bottle, Trader Joe’s Olive Oila nd Lemon Juice left me deeply confused. Who is this for? Why would I want to buy a perfectly good Greek olive oil that’s been pre-mixed with just enough lemon juice to ruin its extra virgin nature, but not enough lemon juice to actually taste like anything? Is it just a convuluted plan by TJ’s to sell off impure extra virgin olive oil by masking it with lemon juice? Surely it’s not meant to be a pre-mixed detox solution for people going on olive oil and lemon juice colon cleanses, right?
In any case, I can’t think of anything this can do that you can’t already do better with the regular olive oil and lemon juice you already have.
Would I Recommend It: Nope – you don’t need this.
Would I Buy It Again: Nope, I don’t need it either.
Final Synopsis: Perfectly good olive oil, but with a tiny little dash of lemon juice mixed it.