Traditionally a Mediterranean salad dressing, olive oil has now reached every corner of the world as the greener, healthier and safer alternative for cooking or frying oil. Here are 15 secrets you should know about the olive oil you are buying.
1. There are more than only two types of olive oils
Other than the two commonly sold, refined and extra virgin olive oil, there are virgin, Pomace, organic, light and pure olive oils too and each one of them have their own characteristics.
2. Extra virgin olive oil is the best for consumption
Your olive oil brand should be advertising, that with as little as 0.8% acidity, no chemical mixing and application of industrial refinement, EVOO is the top-grade olive oil that you can buy to use in your Sunday brunches.
3. But it is not the only one
Other than EVOO, pure and Pomace olive oils are also among the top choices of chefs around the world for cooking.
4. Olive oil is not always better than other types
Although we know them to be healthy, it is not always the case that they are way better than sunflower or soybean oil. Other than EVOO, most other types are expeller-pressed and refined under heat.
5. Traditional method is the best method
If you have doubts about your olive oil brand, make sure they are using the traditional method, which is cold pressing and crushing the olives and extracting the oil naturally, instead of the common industrial process of 2 or 3 phase decanter. However, the latter has its own benefits, like durability.
6. The name is not always right
If you are a veteran olive oil user, you already know this. But if you are an amateur, know that many labels that claim to EVOO will not be so, especially lesser known localized brands.
7. You can taste and know
If the oil tastes like real olives, you can go ahead and buy it. If you get the slightest hint of vinegar, rotten fruits, or a rancid or metallic smell, move right on.
8. The bitterness in taste is good
If you taste a slightly pungent, bitter, peppery tone in the oil, it is not a bad thing. It means the oil is rich in phenols.
9. The best-before date is actually important
What’s the point of buying an item of consumption if you don’t get enough time to enjoy it? Always take a look at the label before buying and make sure that your brand mentions the date in big, bold letters.
10. The labels should say more than best-before
Not just the expiry date, but also pay attention to other information that can be useful in understanding how the oil would be, like date of harvest and production, geographical location of cultivation, types of olives used and so on.
11. The seal is crucial
Air is a poison for olive oils as it gets oxidized and spoiled by it real quick. So unless your bottle is corked and screwed tight and sealed, skip the product.
12. Packaging is crucial too
Light is as bad for olive oils as air for the same reason. Moreover, sunlight can cause the chlorophyll present in the olive oil to break down. Dark glass bottles are any day your best option for olive oils over transparent glass bottles or pet packages.
13. The fresher the better
Unlike its heavenly companion, wine, olive oils are best consumed when they are fresh. You store it for too long, some exposure to light or air would happen and it would go rancid and useless soon.
14. Color does not indicate standard
If your olive oil is greener, it does not mean the oil is of better quality. It is only an indicator of the variety and ripeness of the olives when crushed.
15. Light olive oil is not low in calories
Many companies sell this lie, or rather misguide the customers. But truth is, it is called ‘light’ because of the lesser color and flavor and not calories.
Almost every olive oil user has been fooled by the common myths and misconceptions that are believed. Don’t let them blind you when you choose your brand of olive oil or pick a bottle off a shelf. Keep these secrets in mind that no one tells you usually and be wise the next time you refill your stock of olive oil.