What are the differences between Olive Oil varieties?
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Also known as EVOO, Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the cream of the olive crop. It is extracted from the olives with the 1st cold pressing of the olives with no chemical additives to help with the process. It has low acid levels and a fruity taste. Oil produced in California is certified by the California Olive Oil Council (COOC) Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a shelf life of at least 2 years if stored properly.
- Virgin Olive Oil – This oil comes from the 2nd cold pressing of the olive but it has a stronger flavor and is more acidic. It is less expensive and is available in several grades from fine to semi-fine.
- Refined Oils - Refined oils are derived from the olives using chemical practices. This removes much of the flavor and color from the oil. Refined oils are suitable only for cooking because of the lack of flavor. Refined oils generally have a stable shelf life.
- Pure Olive Oil - This is a refined oil that is combined with virgin oil to give it an olive flavor. It has a little longer shelf life but does not have the flavor or nutritional benefits of true extra virgin oils.
- Pomace Oil - Pomace oils do not have the nutritional benefits of other oils because of the solvents used to extract the oil. Pomace is the part of the oil that remains after the extraction of the higher quality oils. It has no flavor, odor, or color. Pomace oil is the lowest quality olive oil and is the least expensive.
- Light or Mild Oils - Light or mild oils, similar to pure, combine virgin oil with a lesser quality oil. They have no flavor. They are suitable only in cooked dishes. They are used only when the flavor of the true olive isn’t desired. Remember they may have other oils in them, such as canola, sunflower, safflower.
What are the benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
- Olive oil is a monounsaturated fatty acid, it aides in reducing the amount of bile used in the digestive tract so it aids in reducing the development of certain types of cancer including colon cancer.
- It is an antioxidant, which helps in the fight against heart and cardiovascular disease. It also helps in lowering of bad cholesterol levels.
- Olives contain vitamin E and vitamin K. They are the second best source to choose from outside of green leafy vegetables.
- Olive oil is unlikely to cause allergic reactions when consumed.
- Olive oil is used in cosmetics, soaps, and beauty products.
- Olive oil is used for ear pain and because of its anti-bacterial properties it is used for skin ailments.
How should I store my Olive Oil?
Light and heat are enemies of olive oil. Store olive oil in a dark bottle in a cupboard away from the stove or cook top range. The best way is to store olive oil in a stainless steel fusti away from heat or in dark bottles. If the oil is put in the refrigerator, olive oil will harden when the temperature is around 37-39 degrees. One way you can check to see if you have extra virgin olive oil is to put it in the refrigerator. If it hardens you have EVOO. If it stays fluid you have oil that is adulterated or chemically altered in some way. However, oil should not be stored in the refrigerator.