“Like a virgin” ~ sorry, just isn’t good enough
Not in respect to olive oil anyway…
Olive Oil 101
There are 3 basic categories of olive oils & one cream of the crop type.
- extra virgin
- refined olive oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil:
Extra virgin olive oil comes from the first pressing of the olives. No heat or chemicals are used and no additional processing or refining after the pressing. The acidity is low. Color is pale yellow to bright green with a slightly fruity flavor. Best used uncooked as a condiment, dip for bread or drizzled over anything.
Virgin Olive Oil:
Virgin olive oil is made the same way as extra virgin. The difference lies in the level of acidity. It can even be a slight difference, but can make a great difference in taste. As the price is usually close, go “extra”. Especially if using the oil uncooked. Both extra & virgin can be used for cooking as they stands up to heat.
Refined Olive Oil:
The bottle will simply read olive oil. This means the oil is further refined after the pressing process. Heat, chemicals & other oils may be used. This oil is fine for cooking at high heat or frying. Don’t use this type drizzled on your salad.
The cream of the crop is estate olive oils. These oils are pressed from one type of olive from a single farm, handpicked & bottled right on premises. These bottles can be costly, but worth the splurge or a wonderful gift. (slip a bottle in one of these for a hostess gift)
The categories of olive oil are standardized. I’m not making all this up after all!
There is even a UN Charter on the criteria for purity. Who knew, the UN rings in on EVO!
The US abides by our own Standards for grades of olive oil. California has its own stronger labeling requirements.
Storage of Olive Oil:
As olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats, it can stored for a long time. Up to a year opened.
Store in a dark, cool cupboard. If your kitchen is hotter then 70 degrees you can store in the fridge. Return to room temp before using.
Olive oil comes from many places. Spain, Italy & Greece are large producers.
The US also produces olive oil, particularly California. As I like to buy as local as possible, as much as possible, I always make a point of choosing a California extra virgin.
My favorite is Olivista’s Extra Virgin first cold pressed Arbequina. ($13.99)
This is a single varietal oil, 100% California grown Arbequina olives.
The oil is pressed within hours of harvesting. The flavor is grass, fresh artichoke with a velvety texture, a hint of smokiness and a smooth finish. Sounds like a wine!
Olive oil is actually like wine, in that it’s quality & flavor is effected by the fruit, location, weather, ripeness, harvesting methods, processing technique, packaging & storage.
Hope this information helps when you are faced with an aisle full of bottles of olive oil!
** Kelly **