Olive oil is one of the healthiest oils to use in cooking. There are different types of olive oil, choosing the correct one according to the use that you will give it is very important. As it is also important to choose a quality product.
There are three main grades of olive oil: refined, virgin and extra virgin.
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) It is considered the highest quality olive oil, it is rich in phenolic antioxidants. It has an excellent intense flavor and an intense and fruity smell. It is ideal to be used cold, such as in salads, toasts or to add to already cooked food.
The North American Olive Oil Association points out that “extra virgin olive oil, being completely unrefined, will generally have more polyphenols and therefore more flavor.”
Virgin olive oil (AOV) it has an intense aroma and flavor, although a little less than EVOO. It is recommended for stews, sautéing, roasting and also for salads.
The olive oil also known as “refined oil” is a mixture of refined oil and virgin olive. It can be used for stewing, baking and also for frying as it has a higher smoke point than EVOO.
There is also another type of olive oil called olive pomace oil. It is a type of oil that mixes refined olive pomace oil and virgin olive oils. Pomace oil is extracted from the bones and skins of olives, has a high thermal stability and is ideal for frying.
Tips for buying quality olive oil
1. Buy the size of bottle that you will finish in a short time
Avoid buying large jugs of olive oil if you won’t be consuming the product for a couple of months after opening. Even when the shelf life is far off, olive oil degrades when exposed to heat, oxygen, and light. Before and after opening, it must be stored correctly so that it retains its qualities.
2. Look for the harvest / packaging / expiration date
The Spanish Olive Oil Interprofessional points out that olive oil does not improve over time and that it is convenient to consume it approximately 18 months from the date of packaging.
3. Find a small dark or opaque bottle
Although a dark glass bottle or can is not a guarantee of quality. These containers help prevent light from degrading the quality of the olive oil, help to slow down the oxidation process and thus the oil is preserved for longer.
4. Observe that it does not have sediment
If there is sediment in the EVOO bottle, it means that the oil has not been filtered. Olive oil producer Armando Manni tells Mind Body Green that “if the oil is not filtered (or is not properly filtered), it will accelerate the natural oxidation of the extra virgin olive oil.”
5. Look for a quality guarantee seal
The bottles can have an appellation of origin stamp, a certification stamp or a quality stamp.
The NAOOA quality seal means they are certified by the North American Olive Oil Association. It indicates that the brand has agreed to join a program that involves random testing to verify compliance with international standards for purity and quality.
The Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) as well as the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) indicate that the food product originates from a specific place and meets certain requirements. Manni notes that “both designations provide quality assurance and indicate where the oil comes from.”