Extra virgin olive oil is the highest grade of olive oil.
Olive oils are classified into the following categories: extra virgin olive oil, pure olive oil, olive oil, refined olive oil, pomace olive oil, and lampante oil, all in significant descending order of quality, with the last category being not fit for human consumption.
EVOO is essentially fresh olive juice, extracted from any of the hundreds of varies that were picked at the growers desired level of ripeness and harvested, milled and stored in a highly quality controlled manner.
Virgin olive oil: acidity< 3% and acceptable taste.
In order to obtain a luxury extra virgin olive oil many factors must be met and all of which are important.
The transport of the olive from the field to the olive oil mill is undertaken in less than four hours the olive is ground so as to obtain the oil by mechanical means in a 100% natural manner
it is obtained solely and exclusively by mechanical means and cold press.
Proper storage conditions (minimum exposure to light, heat, atmospheric air and smells) allow extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) to retain its organoleptics almost intact for as long as 2 years.
Acidity of an olive oil is an important (yet not the only one) indicator of its quality. The lower the acidity of the olive oil, the lower its content in acids, thus the healthier the olives used to produce the olive oil! For extra virgin olive oils, the finest quality category of olive oil, acidity cannot exceed the limit of 0,8% (0,8gr per 100gr of oil).
Products marketed under the indication ‘Olive oil’ are blends of refined and virgin olive oils.
Olive oil can endure high temperatures up to 210°C without suffering any form of dissolution. On the contrary, substitute vegetable oils such as soya oil or sunflower oil begin to dissolve after being heated to 170°C, releasing potentially carcinogenic substances. Taking into account that frying temperatures are about 180°C, one comes to the conclusion that olive oil is the safest and healthiest oil for cooking and frying. (check http://www.oliveoiltimes.com/olive-oil-business/europe/olive-oil-healthier-and-tastier-for-frying/32328 )
Do not buy olive oil in bulk! Always choose standardized products in bottles or cans up to 5lt, paying great attention to the product details and primarily to the adequacy of the information regarding the origin and traceability of the product! Remember that a fine, pure extra virgin olive oil has nothing to hide
Prefer extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) which is the pure, natural juice of the olives!
Make sure that the cap of the container is tightly shut and that there is nothing indicating it has been tampered with!
When purchasing olive oil keep in mind that olive oil acidity also impacts its taste. For example, an extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) with acidity below 0.4% should be expected to have a keenly bitter taste due to higher concentrations of the polyphenol Oleuropein. Thus, buying the lowest acidity olive oil might not be the right choice for your palate!
Don’t judge an olive oil by its color!
Atmospheric air, light and heat are indeed extra virgin olive oil’s worst enemies. So, make sure to always keep your olive oil in a cool, dark place!
When buying olive oil keep in mind that products bottled in transparent containers are poorly protected from light (even on the shelf of some supermarket corridor) and thus vulnerable to a quicker deterioration of the product’s original organoleptics.
So, prefer dark-colored glass packaging for your olive oil!
Long-term contact with plastic distorts olive oil’s original organoleptics. Thus, avoid buying olive oil in plastic bottles. It might be good for your pocket but it is certainly not good for your health!
Always check the label for the presence of refined olive oil in the product you purchase. Refined olive oil is tasteless, oderless and colorless due to the refinement procedure which often involves an extended processing with chemicals!
If you seriously feel you want to put olive oil in your diet, spend some time familiarizing with the quality categories of olive oil.
That knowledge will help your way towards conscious olive oil purchases and will protect you from the choice overload when standing in front of a supermarket’s shelf!
Olive oil tastes best when it is fresh. So, do not hoard olive oil. Simply use it and, above all, ENJOY it!!