Is Every Variety of Olive Oil You See on Supermarket Shelves Created Equal?
The number one thing you must appreciate is that there are different kinds of olive oil out there and they are differentiated by the different method of processing that they each have to go through.
The first and most common type of olive oil you’ll find on supermarket shelves is one called virgin olive oil. Its name comes about because of the physical methods that are used to produce it. No form of chemical treatment is allowed to be used.
The best virgin olive oil is produced from olives that are ripe and ready. These same olives are then smashed into a paste using tools such as a millstone or steel drum. Any oil that’s made from overripe olives or olives that are green will result in an oil that tastes bitter and extremely unpleasant.
The only processes that are allowed to be used on an oil that’s classed as being virgin are those of washing, decanting, centrifuging and finally filtering. While none of these processes are necessary to produce the final oil… they are the only ones that are actually allowed.
2. Refined Olive Oil
The next variety of oil is known as refined olive oil. It isn’t great quality and best avoided if possible. It’s made using virgin olive oil that has defects in it and to make it edible, it’s put through the process of refining.
Refining an oil actually involves using things like charcoal filters or other similar methods. The benefit of refining an oil is that it will result in an oil that’s a whole lot more stable and therefore it will come with a longer shelf life but the negatives are that it’ll also be flavorless.
3. Olive Pomace Oil
The next type of oil is something that is known as olive pomace oil. This is actually extracted from the leftover olives that were pressed to get the virgin olive oil. To get the remaining oil out, chemicals are used.
To be honest though, this isn’t really olive oil and isn’t actually meant for consumption. Rather it’s used as a base ingredient in a lot of the soaps that you see out there.
4. Blended Olive Oil
The absolute worst kind of olive oil out there is known as blended olive oil and trust me, you’re going to want to totally avoid it from now on. This is basically an oil that is a mixture of olive oil along with some other kind of vegetable oil, most commonly canola.
You do get an increased shelf life but the disadvantage is that there will also be a lot more polyunsaturated fats in it and a whole lot less monounsaturated fats…. so why on earth would anyone want to consume it?
5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The one oil that you should definitely get your hands on is extra virgin oil because it’s simply the best of the best.
Any oil that claims to be extra virgin must meet strict regulations as stated by the International Olive Oil Council. These regulations include the fact that the oil must have a superior taste and have at the very most 0.8% acidity.
The above are the minimum standards that must be met, but you’ll also find that there are many extra virgin oils out there that are unfiltered and been put through the process of being cold pressed. This results in a final product which gives you an oil that tastes far deeper and richer than anything else on the market.
The other great thing about extra virgin olive oil is that is contains a good amount of polyphenols in them which are some of the best antioxidants that you can put in your body!
Things To Keep in Mind When You’re Out There Searching For a New Olive Oil
You need to appreciate that just because you come across an oil that has the label ‘Extra Virgin’ doesn’t actually mean that it’s the best quality oil out there.
In fact if you have to choose between getting an olive oil that was made in Italy or Greece or getting one that was produced locally… your money should be spent on the latter.
Extra virgin olive oils are very fragile by nature and when they have to be shipped across the ocean to get to you, it will more than likely result in a bottle that is very bland and flavorless.
However these days you shouldn’t have any trouble finding at least one bottle of locally produced extra virgin olive oil in your local supermarket. While you may end up paying a little more for it, the reality is that it’ll be more than worth it once you get a little taste!
When you’re in the process of choosing a new olive oil to buy, you should treat it like you would when getting a new fine wine, and try your best to really engage all of your senses.
The first step is to smell the oil and if you’ve got a good quality one, you should get a good clean smell of olives, grass and apples.
I wouldn’t rely too much on sight because the color of an oil can very easily be manipulated these days. Rather I’d focus the vast majority of my time on the one sense that really matters and that’s taste.
You should just take half a teaspoon of olive oil into your mouth and swish it about in your mouth, just like you would a great quality wine.
If you’ve got yourself a really high quality olive oil then you should get a good taste of fresh olives, grass, fennel and even apples. But if you’re getting a little metallic taste then you can be sure that the oil you just tasted is rancid.
The only way you’re going to be able to find a really high quality olive oil that you’re going to want to use every single day is by experimenting again and again until you find something that you love. While the journey may be a long and tedious one, it will be more than worth it once you find something great.
You also need to appreciate that once you find a quality olive oil, that you’re going to have to work to use it in the right manner.
It doesn’t matter how good your olive oil is in terms of quality… you should never, ever use it to sauté something because it will totally ruin the delicate flavor of the oil.
Rather you should always use the oil as a good quality finisher to the meals that you eat. Cook your meals with some butter and then finish up with some of the best extra virgin oil that you have.
This way you’re going to not only benefit from the nutritional benefits, but you’ll get to enjoy all the great taste without wasting a single drop.
So there you have it, all the most important information you need to know with regards to getting the best quality olive oil you can find. Believe me, while the journey may be a little long, it’ll be more than worth it once you find that one oil that you’ll want to use every single day of your life.
About the Author
The above guest article was written by Brooke of www.lemonadediethq.com. She has a serious passion for helping people all over the world overcome their health problems and move on towards getting into the best health of their lives!