You Don’t Have To BE CONSIDERED A Chef To Read An Olive Oil Label

Olive oil has been with us for almost provided that the olive, which is at the very least 6,000 years. It is mentioned numerous times in the Christian Bible, singled out as holy by Mohammed the Prophet of Islam, and celebrated by the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Considered the best of all oils, it’s the traditional oil for anointing kings, bishops, and temples in western culture.

Olive oil is simple to digest and helps our anatomies assimilate minerals and vitamins. It aids the digestive system by stimulating the gall bladder. Essential olive oil is cholesterol free and is made up of 70% monounsaturated essential fatty acids, which reduce bad cholesterol (LDL). It contains chlorophyll which aids the metabolism, stimulating cellular growth and speeding the healing up process. And it contains no trans fats.

The olive tree flourishes in Mediterranean-type climates with hot, dry summers and cool winters. Spain, with over 300 million olive trees, is the number one producer of essential olive oil with 44% of the planet market. Much of Spanish olive oil production is shipped to Italy, both for consumption and to be repackaged for sale abroad as Italian olive oil. The region of Andaluc�a makes up about 75% of Spanish essential olive oil production.

Selecting the right olive oil can be a daunting task – the terminology applied to labels is sometimes confusing and frequently misleading, and the differences between oils are often not made clear. Here’s everything you need to know to choose the right olive oil for your table or kitchen:

Grades – Olive oils that come from countries which are members of the International Olive Oil Council (which Spain is, needless to say, one) adhere to strict regulations regarding labeling and packaging. The grades defined by the IOOC are the following:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil comes from the initial pressing of the olives, comes with an acidity of no more than 0.8%, and contains been judged to possess superior taste. Extra virgin essential olive oil can contain no refined oil.
Virgin Olive Oil comes with an acidity of significantly less than 2% and has been judged to have good taste. Virgin essential olive oil can contain no refined oil.
Pure Olive Oil is really a blend of virgin olive oil and refined olive oil, and has an acidity of only 1%.
Ordinary Olive Oil can be a mixture of virgin and refined olive oils, and has an acidity of only 3.3%.
Olive-Pomace Oil is very rarely found in markets, but is sometimes found in restaurant cooking. Created from the residue of the production of higher grade olive oils, olive-pomace oil is fit for consumption however, not very tasty.
It is important to remember that these grade definitions apply only to olive oils manufactured in countries that are members of the IOOC, which means that American olive oils may or may not meet these criteria. The USDA doesn’t recognize any of the above terms, instead using terms like “fancy” and “choice” because they have been since 1948, so you might put what extra virgin olive oil on a tub of strawberry pudding and still be legal in america given that the ingredients list is correct.

Notice that taste is only considered for classifying extra virgin and virgin essential olive oil. These are the only real two grades you would want to use once the flavor of the oil is essential to the outcome of the dish.

Other things you might see on an essential olive oil label

100% Pure ESSENTIAL OLIVE OIL – It is a bit misleading if you don’t know what it means. Pure olive oil is really the lowest grade obtainable in retail stores, though the word pure might lead some to trust it’s the highest. No question, pure essential olive oil is an excellent choice for a few uses, which we will reach shortly.
Created from refined oils – The term refined is often connected with increased purity, however in the case of essential olive oil this means that the taste and acidity were altered by artificial means. Refined oils invariably focus on lower quality olives, and suffer from a lack of the real taste of the olive. They undergo thermal and chemical treatments to reduce acidity, subjected to an exceptionally fine filtration process to remove any residual chemicals, and then fortified with handful of virgin or extra virgin oil to provide them some flavor and color. The agricultural exact carbon copy of creating a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
Lite ESSENTIAL OLIVE OIL – or Light Olive Oil. All olive oils have 120 calories per tablespoon, lite olive oils included. Lite olive oils are refined olive oils which have not been fortified with virgin or extra virgin oil, and therefore lack any semblance of taste or color. This sort of oil may be used for baking or other styles of cooking where you don’t want the oil to flavor the meals at all. Just don’t expect it to assist you lose weight.
From hand-picked olives – There is absolutely no evidence that manually picking olives produces better oil compared to the traditional tree-shaking method. The implication is that we now have no olives picked off the bottom (“windfall olives”) used in the making of the oil, that is a very good thing since windfall olives increase the acidity of the oil and require more washing of the olives before pressing, and that the olives are hand selected after being inspected by the picker – also a good thing.
First cold press – You will see this on many bottles of extra virgin olive oil, because EVOO comes from the initial cold press by definition. If you don’t see it, don’t worry about it so long as you trust the brand and believe them when they say the oil is extra virgin. First press means that this oil came from the first press of the olives – some companies work with a second press for lower grade oils. Cold means no additional heat is applied during pressing.
publish articles Estate Grown – All the olives in the oil result from exactly the same grove. This typically means less time to transport the olives to the mill, this means less time from picking to pressing, which results in superior oil.
Unfiltered – Most olive oils are filtered to remove sediments that occur naturally during pressing. Some, however, wthhold the sediment in the ultimate product. That is thought by many to strengthen and enhance the flavor of the oil, and some connoisseurs seek out oils with sediment in the bottle. If nothing else, unfiltered oils undergo one less part of processing and are therefore one step closer to being an unadulterated product. The sediments can go rancid over time, so use unfiltered oils within 3 – six months of purchasing them and store them in a cool, dark place.
Blended Oil – The olives in a specific grove can transform in flavor from year to year. To experience a frequent flavor, manufacturers will blend oils from various kinds of olives. Sometimes olive oil will undoubtedly be blended with canola or vegetable oil to boost the flavor or for marketing purposes. These oils should be clearly labeled.
Flor de Aceite – Flower of the Oil in English. This is usually a process where in fact the olives are crushed but not pressed, and the oil is decanted through gravity alone. It takes doubly many olives per liter to produce oil in this way, which is one reason this method is rarely used.
There is also the problem of the bottle itself. Some olive oils come in clear bottles, others in green bottles as well as cans. How come this? One reason a manufacturer may choose never to use clear glass is that there surely is some evidence that this may enhance shelf life – same reason some beers can be found in dark bottles. Unfortunately, this prevents you from seeing the oil before you buy it. Using green glass also provides appearance of deep green colored oil, which many see as a sign of higher quality.

Which brings us to color. Green oils are from olives picked early in the harvest and have a peppery, fruity, ripe flavor as well as higher degrees of antioxidants and polyphenols. Gold oils are from later in the harvest and are generally smooth and mellow. Green oils have a shorter shelf life than gold oils – figure around 8 to 9 months rather than 12. Color isn’t an indicator of the grade of the oil, though it does have a value all its own.

So, which olive oil should you choose? Depends on what you will use it for.