What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

It is important to know, what is extra virgin olive oil. This is not only important for people who are concerned about their health but also for those who want their food to taste extra delicious. How come EVOO is a popular ingredient for a myriad of dishes today? What are the advantages of this over traditional cooking oil?

It is true that extra virgin olive oil is one of the more expensive, if not the most pricey, type of oil for food preparation these days. This is primarily because it is made to be more refined by using only fresh olives. Because of the purity of this oil, it is recognized as a more healthy option.

Deriving Oil from Olives

Simply put, EVOO is like a fruit juice. It is derived from olives and it uses only the extracts of this fruit. The fact that it is extracted from olives is also one reason why it tends to be costly. Just imagine how much juice or oil can be derived from every single olive.

Since extra virgin olive oil is similar to a fruit juice, there is also a tendency for it to become rancid. This happens when the oil is exposed to air which naturally has oxygen. When this happens, the oil would oxidize and lose its natural flavor. If the oil seems to taste a bit buttery, then it is already rancid.

What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil

photo credit: flickr.com/Smabs Sputzer

That is why, if you buy olive oil in bigger bottles, it is recommended to transfer a small amount in little bottles. Then, store the rest of it in tightly sealed container and keep it in a cool place. That way, you can preserve the impressive flavor that it has.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Uses

EVOO can be used just like how you use ordinary types of cooking oil. However, since it does not cost cheap, you might want to be a little wiser with its use.

For most people, they reserve their EVOO solely for drizzles on salads, creating dressing and vinaigrettes. Preparing food without subjecting the oil to heat is the best time to use extra virgin olive oil. It is also perfect for sandwiches and breads because it adds an interesting taste and improves the texture.

If you need to use it for frying, you can combine it with virgin olive oil, refined olive oil or plain olive oil. These are healthier options too but are less expensive than EVOO because the quality is a bit of a step down.

Determining Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Not all types of olive oil can be considered as extra virgin olive oil. Since this is the premium class, it has to be certified before even labeling it as EVOO. The oil needs to undergo a laboratory test which determines the composition and taste. There should not be any additives and other artificial ingredients. The International Olive Council is a panel which helps in identifying real EVOO. Hence, when buying an expensive bottle of extra virgin olive oil, it is important to double check the label and read all the details.

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