It’s dinnertime and you decide to try out a new recipe. As you read through the list of ingredients, making sure you have everything you’ll need, you come across the direction line where you need to sauté your pan of vegetables in oil.
Oil. That’s all the recipe says. If you’ve ever taken a trip down the grocery store aisle where they stock oils, you know there’s almost too many options. But amidst the canola oil, vegetable oil, peanut oil, coconut oil and many more, there’s one type of oil that stands out above the rest and that can be used for everything from cooking to baking to moisturizing.
Let’s talk about extra virgin olive oil.
You’ve probably heard of the phrase “extra virgin olive oil” or “EVOO”. You may have seen it in stores or heard it from watching celebrity chef Rachael Ray.
Yet despite its popularity, EVOO has had its share of misconceptions as to what actually is described as “extra virgin olive oil.”
At Fustini’s Oils and Vinegars, we’re passionate about making sure you are well informed about the importance of quality when it comes to enjoying extra virgin olive oil.
Here, we share what makes extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin as well as the value of selecting an oil that is of the utmost quality.
When it comes to describing the difference in extra virgin olive oil, it’s all about high quality. Olive oil comes from, that’s right - you guessed it, olives. But the “extra virgin” description comes from the quality of the olives and the process in which it was produced.
Oil is classified as “extra virgin” when the oil is extracted during the first pressing of olives. Regular olive oil is made from a blend of processed oils. That means that one of the key distinctions between EVOO and regular olive oil is the absence of processed chemicals. In grading olive oils, EVOO represents the absolute highest grade of olive oil. EVOO truly is top notch.
So how is an olive oil classified as extra virgin or not? The classification stems from how the oil was processed.
Extra virgin olive oil must be free from any alterations in color, taste, nutrients or vitamins. EVOO is made when olives are crushed into a pulp using only force, rather than heat or chemicals as in the production of other olive oils. Once the pulp creates a paste, it is kneaded to release the liquid from the pulp, made up of oil, water and olive residue.
That liquid is then put in a centrifuge which separates the oil from the rest of the olive material. The pure, flavorful oil is then filtered and bottled as extra virgin olive oil. This oil must also not exceed 0.8% of oleic acid content in order to be considered EVOO.
But when that leftover olive paste from the process is heated and kneaded with additional chemicals to release more oil, what results is simply olive oil. This oil, with the addition of expeller chemicals, is not as pure or of as high of quality as extra virgin olive oil.
To get the best flavor and nutritional quality, the oil must be the first, cold extraction of the olives.
As you observe the shelves of the grocery store, you may notice there are probably several brands claiming the olive oil as “extra virgin.”
Don’t be fooled so easily.
Many brands have discovered methods to generate greater profits by skimping on quality standards for EVOO. Chances are, that grocery store brand greatly lacks the quality, nutritional benefits, flavor and other requirements to be considered “extra virgin.”
According to olive oil expert Paul Vossen, much of the “extra virgin olive oil” sold in stores is defective, fermented and rancid. In fact, in a quality study from UC Davis, researchers found that 69% of imported oils that were labeled as extra virgin did not meet the International Olive Council quality standards for actual classification of “extra virgin.”
You wouldn’t want to settle for an oil that’s spiked with chemicals and impurities. EVOO allows you to maintain the health benefits and purity of product that olive oil is intended to have.
So what are some of these benefits? EVOO has remarkably better taste than store bought vegetable oils or other olive oils. As you cook, dip bread in it or toss it on a salad, the unparalleled taste of EVOO will transform your boring dishes into a flavorful adventure.
In addition to taste, EVOO also beats out other oils in vitamins and nutrients it holds. Other oils like vegetable oils are extracted using petroleum-based chemical solvents and are highly refined. In this mechanical process, much of the taste, color and nutrients are dramatically removed from the oil. Since EVOO is not processed or refined, all the color, taste, vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants remain.
With the dramatic benefits in flavor, taste and nutritional quality, EVOO is your best way to go when cooking, baking or using in countless other ways.
Check out our other pages and blog articles on the value of using EVOO.
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