Prized for its taste, the liquid gold extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) comes with amazing flavor and healthy perks.
As you go through the supermarket aisle full of choices, picking the perfect EVOO bottle can be a pretty tough decision. It’s not just about the flavor but also about choosing something healthy and safe.
To get a high-quality EVOO, you must understand what can make it great. Our team has gathered a detailed overview of what you should know about organic extra virgin olive oil.
We’ll start with the types, why it is the way to go, reading labels, and storing your olive oil properly. Now, it’s time to choose an excellent organic extra virgin oil that elevates your cooking and supports you to the fullest.
Olive Oil Categories
When shopping for a high-quality organic EVOO, you’ve got to start by learning the different olive oil types available in your area.
Each of these types comes with its quality and how it’s made. Read on below.
1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
The highest quality and purest form of olive oil, EVOO is produced through mechanical processes, such as:
- Cold pressing
These two processes do not use chemicals or too much heat.
Also, EVOO has a very low acidity level among all the categories listed below. It means this type of olive oil is fresh and is definitely high-quality.
If you are seeking full health benefits and a rich, fruity, green color, this olive oil is for you.
2. Virgin Olive Oil
Also made through a mechanical process, this olive oil has quite a higher acidity level of 2%.
Yes, it still does offer good quality, but how it tastes and smells is lesser than that of EVOO. However, virgin olive oil is still suitable for cooking and salad dressings.
3. Pure Olive Oil
A blend of refined and virgin or extra virgin olive oil, this type has a milder flavor than the earlier olive oils.
Pure olive oil goes through a chemical process to remove defects and impurities. If you want to fry and cook, this one’s your go-to.
4. Olive Oil Blends
Of all the olive oil categories, the market also combines extra virgin, virgin, or pure olive oils.
Olive oil blends’ quality is based on the proportions of all the different oils used. You need to check the label based on your personal preferences.
Why Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)?
Now, let’s discuss why extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) stands out among all others. It’s based on two factors: its health benefits and flavor profile.
- It reduces the risk of heart disease. It is rich in monounsaturated fats such as oleic acid. Regularly having this ingredient helps have healthier cholesterol levels and heart.
- It contains vitamin E and polyphenols. These are antioxidants that help you handle your stress.
- If you have inflammatory conditions, the EVOO has natural compounds like oleocanthal that help you with this.
- EVOO also reduces types of cancer, such as breast and colon cancer, because of the phytochemicals that come with it.
- If you think oil leads to fats that cause weight gain, EVOO reduces the calories you consume.
Aside from its health benefits, let’s not forget the exceptional flavor profile that can elevate every dish you create.
- It has a fruity taste. You might get a taste of green apples, ripe bananas, or freshly cut grass. This depends on where the EVOO comes from.
- A well-processed EVOO is also quite peppery or spicy. It has a finish that shows freshness and antioxidants.
- Aside from the fruity and spicy taste comes the bitterness. These three flavors are perfect for any dish you’d like to create.
Reading the EVOO Label
One of the crucial steps to finding a high-quality product is to check the product label carefully. You can get a lot of insights about the oil’s quality, authenticity, and how it’s made. Below’s what you should be paying attention to:
1. Is it “organic”?
Having a product that says “organic” is a certification that your oil has been produced using organic farming practices.
The olives are grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Getting the right organic olive oil is healthier and more environmentally friendly.
2. How fresh is it?
Freshness is another factor that determines your EVOO quality. If you think oil improves with age, it’s not. It’s best consumed when it’s as fresh as possible.
Pay attention to the freshness date or “harvest date” on the label. A high-quality product clearly displays this product when it was harvested and produced.
3. Where’s it from?
There’s always a difference between how a country makes an EVOO. Where it comes from greatly affects its flavor and also the quality.
There are some places known for creating high-quality olive oil. For example:
- Tuscany in Italy
- Andalusia in Spain
- Peloponnese in Greece
4. What’s the level of acidity?
Another way to identify if your EVOO is of good quality is if its acidity level is below 0.8%. This percentage makes olive oil qualified as “extra virgin”.
Be sure to check the label for this information based on it’s freshness and processing methods.
Storing Your High-Quality Oil
After carefully selecting your extra virgin olive oil, preserving the freshness and flavor is essential. There are some things you need to consider, like:
1. The bottle’s color
Did you know that the packaging of your oil can affect its shelf life and quality? If you’ve noticed, many oil brands use darker glass bottles for a reason, such as:
- Protection from light – Since oil is sensitive to ultraviolet (UV) light, darker bottles can protect by blocking the harmful light.
- Extended shelf life – Dark bottles also maintain the oil’s freshness. It prevents the development of unlikely flavors.
- Contributes to the health benefits and flavor
2. The place where it’s stored
Aside from the bottle, the way you store your organic EVOO is also essential. Here are some tips to maintain freshness:
Tip # 1: Store your olive oil in a cool, dark place. Somewhere that’s away from direct sunlight. Maybe your pantry or cupboard.
Tip # 2: Tightly seal the bottle. Having air go in it might spoil the oil.
Tip # 3: Use an easy-to-pour dispenser if you’re considering to use it each time you cook.
Tip # 4: Store the bottle at a steady temperature. It prevents the oil from leaking or exposure to air.
What Makes a High-Quality EVOO?
A high-quality organic extra virgin oil (EVOO), your taste and smell also matter. If you’re new to this, the authenticity and quality of the oil can also show a true olive oil.
To see if your EVOO stands out among other olive oil categories, here’s how you can determine it:
- Does it have a fresh, fruity aroma and flavor?
Just a tip: The smell might differ from bottle to bottle, depending on the olives used.
- How bitter is it?
Tasting it would give a mild to moderate bitterness. This means healthy olives are used in the production.
- Is there a spicy sensation?
If there’s a peppery sensation once tasted, especially when swallowing, it’s a fresh, high-quality EVOO.
A simple taste and smell test can happen as you pour about a teaspoon of oil into a glass. To release aroma, hold the cup with your hands to warm it up a bit.
To get the best out of the oil, swirl the glass, then take a deep sniff and take note of three questions just before this section.
If possible, compare the oil with others to compare the differences in flavor and quality.
Now, how to determine if the EVOO is a lower-quality product?
- The oil smells like cardboard or has an odor close to wine.
- When olives are stored too long before pressing, they taste muddy
- If the oil smells or tastes moldy, the olives might not have been stored properly.
- A sharp, vinegary taste also suggests fermentation due to poor processing.
- Contamination or poor storage of olives also produces a metallic or greasy taste.
Enhancing your taste and smell allows you to recognize a high-quality EVOO for your culinary and health needs.
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Price or Quality?
In getting your olive oil, we know how important it is to consider its price and quality. Here are factors that can help you find the right balance between the two:
Extra virgin olive oils can vary because of a few factors:
- Extra virgin olive oil is generally more expensive than lower-quality olive oils because of the harvesting and processing methods.
- Olive oil packaged in dark glass bottles is quite high to protect the oil from exposure.
- Olive oils are usually from Italy or Greece, so they command a higher price because of their reputation for making it.
- If EVOOs have a more recent harvest date can be quite expensive because they offer freshness.
- Organic certification can also add to the cost aside from the standards.
Knowing this, we know it might be tempting to buy the most expensive bottle of extra virgin olive oil, but what if we say you can still save money without sacrificing the quality?
You can still set your budget for an organic EVOO to avoid overspending. We suggest you reserve your finest EVOO for drizzling over salads or dripping bread. An affordable option can be for your everyday cooking.
If you really want to spend less money, you can also buy in large amounts to save you costs. It would be even better if you keep an eye out for promotions, discounts, or sales.
While price is a consideration, quality should be your primary focus in selecting an organic extra virgin olive oil. Investing in one can elevate all your recipes.
On The Whole…
The choice of high-quality organic extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is a decision that should not be taken lightly. It impacts your health and how you want to enjoy your meals.
We support your journey to find the finest organic extra virgin olive oil at Fresh Farms. Our aisles are dedicated to including organic products in taste, smell, and health.
Take your cooking to new heights by selecting the best organic EVOO in Fresh Farms!