How to Choose the Right Olive Oil? We figure out which one is for a salad, and which one is for a frying pan. Decided to buy olive oil, but when you came to the store, you were confused? Many of us do not understand how to choose the best when there are so many species. It is also quite possible to grab a fake or a package of oil that was poorly stored ─ these copies will taste bitter and give off a wine flavor.
Types of Olive Oil Brands to Trust
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Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The oil is of the highest quality, with a bright rich taste and golden-green color. For pressing, only undamaged ripe olives, harvested by hand, are taken. Oil is produced by cold pressing, which means that all valuable acids remain unchanged. Extra Virgin acidity does not exceed 0.8%. Check source
Virgin Olive Oil
Cold-pressed oil from middle-class fruits. The taste and aroma are no longer as bright as in the previous species, but nevertheless, the oil is tasty and healthy. The product is obtained by mechanical pressing methods and purified without the addition of chemical reagents. The acidity of Virgin Olive Oil should not exceed 2%.
Olive Oil Refined OliveOil
Oil of the first extraction, which, after pressing, undergoes a refining (purification) process. It is then blended with Extra Virgin olive oil. The manufacturer chooses the proportions himself, based on the characteristics and characteristics of one or another oil. In terms of its taste, Refined Olive Oil is slightly inferior to Extra Virgin oil, but still contains a sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals. In Europe, this type is one of the most popular. This is due to the fact that the price of oil is more affordable than Extra Virgin, and is versatile in use. The acidity level does not exceed 1.5%.
Olive Pomace Oil
Olive seed meal oil. It is obtained as a result of chemical treatment. It is odorless and tasteless and has no nutritional value. Only 10–20% Extra Virgin Olive Oil is added to the final product to stabilize the taste and reduce the acidity of the product. The acidity level does not exceed 1%.
Extra Virgin Oil for Salad
For salads, marinades, and cold snacks, choose unrefined Extra Virgin oil to enrich the flavor of your meals. You can also use this oil with natural additives such as pepper, garlic, basil, or lemon – it’s delicious! With Extra Virgin flavored butter, even trivial bread can be made Mediterranean bruschetta. For frying and cooking hot dishes, refined oil of the second extraction is suitable. It is labeled as Pomace OliveOil or Orujo. The indisputable advantage of Pomace oil is its low price, as well as neutral taste and long shelf life.
What to Look for On Olive Oil Labels
The younger it is, the more useful it is. Therefore, when buying, first of all, look at the production date and expiration date. The shelf life of the oil should not exceed 18 months! The color of the olive oil will also help you choose the right one. It depends on the ripening process of the olives: the darker the oil, the more mature the olives are. The greenish color indicates cold-pressed.
The packaging of such oil should be glass and slightly darkened ─ olive oil is afraid of the sun’s rays. Whenever possible, choose olive oil with the fullest indication of the composition. It should not contain the words “mix” or “mixed” ─ such oil refers to mixed products.
Extra Virgin oil packaging contains the abbreviations DOP, IGP and BIO. Let us explain what this means.
DOP (Denomimazione di Oridine Protetta) means that the oil has a “protected region of origin”. In simple terms, the olives for this olive oil were grown and harvested in a specific region. In the same region, the oil was squeezed out.
IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta) says that the production process took place under strict control. At the same time, part of the process was implemented outside the designated region.
BIO guarantees the buyer 100% naturalness. This means that no synthetic fertilizers, growth hormones, or pesticides were used in the production of the oil. This certificate also guarantees that the oil is free of dyes, flavor enhancers, food additives, and genetically modified products.
Understanding Olive Oil
One of the quality indicators of olive oil is its acidity. The acidity level of olive oil means the oleic acid content in 100 g of the product. The lower the natural acidity of the olive oil, the higher the quality. Extra Virgin oil should have an acidity level of no more than 0.8%. Virgin oil must not exceed 2% acidity, and refined olive oil must not exceed 1.5% acidity.
One more point. You bought olive oil and it tastes slightly bitter? Do not worry. As strange as it sounds, olive oil really tastes bitter, and that’s okay. Moreover, if the product has a slight bitterness, you should rejoice – you have real cold-pressed olive oil in your hands.
How to Store Olive Oil
It is a perishable product. After opening, it should be stored for no more than a month, and preferably three weeks. The ideal place for this is a kitchen cabinet with opaque doors. When storing olive oil, be sure to observe the following conditions. If the bottle in which you store the oil is made of light glass, pour the oil into a darkened container or wrap the bottle in foil. If you bought oil in a can, it is also best to pour it into a dark glass dish. Store the oil at a temperature not exceeding +25 degrees.
A Bit of Geography
Still not sure about the choice? Trust geography. For example, Tuscan oil has a greenish color and a slightly fruity smell. Used for dressing pasta and rice cooked without tomato sauce. Oil from the Umbria region has a more delicate flavor. Used for making sauces and meat dishes. The oil native to Apulia, Calabria and the island of Sicily is green or golden yellow.
It is very thick, like butter sauce. It is used for vegetable dishes as well as meat cooked on a spit. Ligurian oil is the most delicate. Has a yellow or light green color. It is used for making pesto sauce, as well as for dressing vegetable salads and preparing meat products from poultry. Gardesano District can pride itself on oil with a slightly fruity and stronger flavor than Ligurian. Produced near Lake Garda and used for fish dishes.
Tradition is what makes quality oil great. The best option is to buy oil in Italy, from local farmers. There you can taste several varieties and choose not only healthy but also really tasty olive oil. If this is not possible, give preference to oils from reputable companies that you can trust.