A high percentage of the modifiers that go before Olive Oil, like “virgin” or “extra virgin,” are typically referring to the process that created the actual oil.
Vegetable oils are pretty fragile as far as food goes, which is why your foodie friend will always have a handful of oils to prepare food with. Generally, they’ll select what to use depending on what they’re cooking and at what temperatures.
For example, some oils will go rancid when stored at the wrong temperatures or for too long, and others will become unstable when cooked at higher temperatures, as a result, losing nutrients and flavor.
In addition, when oils are processed, they’re cleaned with chemicals and then heated. These things make the shelf life longer, which is perfect for the food industry, but not so incredible for your body.
Good, fresh, unprocessed extra virgin olive oil will:
- be a little fruity (olives are fruits, after all)
- be a little bitter (like biting into an olive)
- have a pungent pepperiness
If it’s metallic, flavorless, or musty, it’s gone bad or was overprocessed.
Should You Purchase Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
When figuring out which of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil options to go with, look for the words “cold pressed” and “unfiltered.”
The main two things to search for are:
- you don’t want heat added to the process, as it is with regular olive oil
- you don’t want it filtered (which normally introduces chemicals)
How To Store Olive Oil Properly
Our Olive Oil experts suggest that you store your Olive Oil somewhere cool, dry, and dark. When you’re complete, put it somewhere it won’t get radiant heat, either from appliances or the sun. It’ll stay flavorful and healthful longer.
Olive Oil In Cooking and Smoke Point
If you’re using oil for cooking, our Olive Oil experts suggest that your keep your heat level in mind. If you plan on searing something at high temperatures, choose another fat to help grease the cooking surface. Oil smoke point is the temperature at which the oil starts to break down, become carcinogenic, and release smoke into the air.
The smoke point for olive oil varies, so do your research. For higher heat cooking, think about looking into other healthy oil options, such as avocado.
What To Do Next?
If your two choices are olive oil or extra virgin olive oil, go with high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It has fewer chemicals and free radicals. In addition, it’s also higher in antioxidants and still has vitamins K and E, which are stripped away during the processing of regular olive oil.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil also still has a high percentage of omega fats (polyunsaturated fats that are good for your heart) along with its monounsaturated goodness.
Our Olive Oil experts recommend that you avoid processed oils and remember to use Extra Virgin Olive Oil in moderation. Yes, the types of fats in Extra Virgin Olive Oil are good for you. They can lower your risk of heart disease and help control your blood sugar levels.
But even the highest quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil is still high in calories and low in nutrients when compared to actual vegetables. Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil instead of overly processed oils and butter, not with them.
Your average Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains about 120 calories per tablespoon. While it’s the healthier choice when faced with regular olive oil and other processed vegetables oils, don’t start drinking it and dousing food with it because it’s healthy. Think of it as a healthier fat/oil alternative, not a health elixir.