Extra Virgin Olive Oil 101- Things you should know when buying EVOO
Many will agree that there is good olive oil and bad olive oil, so how can you tell the difference and make a good choice when you go to buy it?
The olive oil you consume should be Extra Virgin Olive Oil which is the only oil that contains polyphenols which are antioxidants found exclusively in EVOO.
4 things to look for when buying extra virgin olive oil:
1 Buy locally produced EVOO
Wherever you live in the world, buying a locally produced extra virgin olive oil is a great place to start.
The further the oil has to travel and the more it has to be handled, the likelier it will be that the quality and freshness will be affected
2 Look at the Harvest and use by dates
Extra virgin olive oil is actually a natural fruit juice and should be marked with a use by date.
It should also be labeled with a harvest date so you know if it is fresh.
Any EVOO worth buying will have a harvest date and country of origin right on the label.
3 Only buy EVOO bottled in dark colored glass
Be aware of shelf placement in the store.
If the store places the EVOO front and center on the shelf right in front of their picture window or under strong fluorescent lights, that oil has gone bad already.
Clear glass can only protect the oil for a day or two in those conditions, unless there are preservatives added, so check the label.
Dark glass can only protect the EVOO for a week or two in those conditions. So look for a grocer who puts their EVOO in a dark corner, away from light and heat.
4 Buy Brands you know or try sampling
Unless you have a favorite, the best way is to sample small quantities of a few different brands and find one you really like.
The number one thing to look for in an olive oil is taste. You can find all different flavors from mild to quite bitter.
It is this bitter flavor that is a characteristic of freshly pressed olive oil.
The bitterness is from the olives which are a bitter fruit.
The best way to choose an olive oil is to taste it.
Some taste characteristics of Olive Oil to look for:
Good characteristics are
• Fruity taste – since olives are fruits, it should taste fruity and fresh
• Bitter taste – fresh olives taste bitter, but they vary, so pick an oil that has a balance of fruity and bitter that agrees with you
• Look for a pungent (or peppery) feeling at the back of your throat. It is the sign that the antioxidants are present in the olives.
Bad characteristics are
• Musty taste – when the olives got mildewed before pressing
• Fusty and winey-vinegar like tastes - which are all signs of the olive fruit fermenting before being pressed.
More bad characteristics are
• Metallic taste - which means the olives came in contact with metal while waiting to be pressed
• Rancid - which means the oil is past it’s time and has gone bad.
EVOO is the best oil for cooking
All good olive oil has a taste and that is why you choose it, the other reason you choose it is for its health benefits.
EVOO is great for using fresh over salads, grilled vegetables and fish.
But it is also ok to cook with it, contrary to some myths about it.
So unless you plan to deep-fry a lot, choose which brand you like or use a variety.
Either way, EVOO is the best oil to use.
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