17 Nov The Ins and Outs of Olive Oil
Ah Olive Oil, it’s also known as “liquid gold” and like real gold, beware the “fool’s gold”. Believe it or not, fraud is a huge problem in the olive oil industry. Some extra virgin olive oils out there aren’t even 100% olive oil. Even if the label says “bottled in Italy,” the oil itself may have come from somewhere else. Since no one wants to pay top dollar to get scammed, let’s learn some olive oil terminology and how to avoid fraud.
What’s so great about virgins?
In the olive oil world, “extra virgin” or “extra virgin olive oil” (EVOO) is synonymous with “best quality.”
That’s because making extra virgin is a meticulous process. To start, the olives need to be at their peak ripeness. Then the juice is extracted using a gentle malaxing process at a controlled temperature (no higher than 81.9 °F). Oil that is extracted from the first pressing juice is the good stuff – extra virgin!
Oil that is extracted from later pressings, or not so precise conditions, is just “virgin.”
Oil extracted from adding heat or chemicals, can never be extra virgin and most likely would be graded less than virgin, sometimes lampante (not fit for human consumption).
And then there’s “refined”
Besides extra virgin and virgin, there are also other grades such as “pure” and “light.” These types of oils fall under the family of “refined oils.” This means that they’ve been extracted by nontraditional methods such as altering heat and using chemicals.
The method in which olive oil is extracted has distinguishing effects. Refined oils tend to have a more faint flavor and lack the bitterness associated with olives. They also lack antioxidants and anti-inflammatories found in extra-virgin olive oil.
Grading the quality of olive oil is like grading the quality of fruit juice. Which is better: fresh squeezed or treated with chemicals?
Getting the real stuff
Just from taste and looks alone, it’s difficult to distinguish real extra virgin olive oil from counterfeits. As a shopper, the only way to guarantee that your dollar is well spent is to buy from reliable vendors. (hint hint)
Luckily, the Kalamazoo Olive Company is your haven to find extra virgin olive oil that’s made with integrity. Our extra virgin olive oils come from all around the world and they’re lab-tested to ensure quality. We also offer a bunch of varieties (basil, chipotle, mushroom and sage) that you can try in our tasting room. You can bring them home or shop online.
Stop by our store today to check out our wide variety of authentic extra virgin olive oil.
It’s worth it