Things to consider when choosing good quality olive oil
Understanding what things to consider when choosing good quality olive oil takes the guess work out of the shopping. After all, we all know that extra-virgin olive oil is good for us but how many of us know why?
Olive Oil is packed with healthy fats that help reduce our risk of chronic diseases. It is a staple part of the Mediterranean diet and is increasingly becoming more and more important in Uk and USA as a must have essential in any recipe.
But, how do you pick the right bottle? After all, choosing a good olive oil is like choosing a good wine.
What does ‘Extra Virgin’ really mean
Most people know to look for “extra virgin” on the label even if they don’t know what it means. Extra-virgin olive oil is an unrefined oil and the highest-quality olive oil you can buy. “Extra virgin” refers to the way the oil was extracted.
There are very specific standards oil has to meet to receive the label “extra-virgin.” Because of the way extra-virgin olive oil is made, it retains more true olive taste, and has a lower level of oleic acid than other olive oil varieties. It also contains more of the natural vitamins and minerals found in olives.
Extra-virgin olive oil is considered an unrefined oil since it’s not treated with chemicals or altered by temperature. What sets it apart is the low level of oleic acid and the absence of sensory flaws. It contains no more than 1% oleic acid and typically has a golden-green color, with a distinct flavor and a light peppery finish.
While you can cook with extra-virgin olive oil, it does have a lower smoke point than many other oils, which means it burns at a lower temperature.
Tip: Save the pricey good quality stuff for dipping bread, dressing, dips, cold dishes, and use the less expensive stuff for cooking and baking.
Check the Best Before Date
Like anything edible, olive oil comes with an expiration date, so always check for the freshest Extra-virgin olive oil possible. Avoid buying Extra-virgin olive oil that’s more than a year old and shop in places where the stock keeps moving – high turnover is a good thing.
Tip: Don’t be fooled by labels with phrases like “cold pressed,” “pure,” and “light,” . Although they sound impressive they are simply marketing catchphrases.
Look at the Container
Avoid buying olive oil in a bottle made out of plastic. Instead, the bottle should be dark-colored glass which will keep the BPAs out of your oil.
Buy From Trustworthy Sources
Aim to look for olive oils with the Non-GMO Project and/or Certified Organic label, to increase the chances that the raw materials will be of a higher quality from the source. Another option is to buy from local, small batch, and artisanal olive oil makers to minimise the downsides of large-scale producers.
Buy in Small Quantities
This prevents against rancidity. It is better to buy smaller quantities more often than to buy big and risk the oil going bad in the cupboard.
Looking after your Olive Oil
Store olive oil in dark glass bottles to keep taste and nutrient-damaging light at a minimum
Always keep the cap tightly closed between uses
Keep the olive oil far away from the heat of your stove
Use your olive oil frequently so it doesn’t get rancid
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