Extra Virgin Olive Oil
What is the difference between Extra Virgin, Virgin, and Pure olive oil? This is a question we are frequently asked. All three are “pure” olive oil. The difference is quality and antioxidant levels.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is top quality. It is from the first cold press. It is olive oil that has been qualified and meets preferably California Olive Oil Council, or European standards. Extra Virgin olive oil has very high antioxidant levels sought by those looking for the healthiest qualities. It is usually greenish in color, depending on the variety.
Virgin olive oil is usually from the second or a heated process pressing. It is poorer quality, but still good for culinary uses, usually for cooking. The antioxidant levels are reduced.
Pure olive oil is the poorest quality from additional presses. We would recommend this only for frying or uses in the kitchen that do not require any flavor enhancement. There are essentially no antioxidant qualities. This is also sometimes referred to as “light” olive oil.
First Cold Press
There are many ways of extracting the oil out of olives, from ancient to modern methods. The most easily recognizable method indicating a high quality extraction is the cold press method. The olives are not heated, which would produce more oil but at a much poorer quality, they are pressed fresh within preferably 24 to 36 hours of picking.
When choosing good quality olive oil always look for the “first cold pressed” method.
Red Mountain Olive Ranch oil is cold pressed locally to produce the best quality oil. It is then bottled in a dark green bottle to help keep it fresh longer. Olive oil will degrade over time. Store your olive oil in a cool dark cabinet. It is best eaten within a year of production.
The California Olive Oil Council has specific chemical requirements for “extra virgin olive oil”. The chemical analysis must meet certain strict standards.
It has been determined that approximately 70% or more of all imported olive oil sold in markets in the United States do not meet either the Olive Oil Council of California or the European standards. Italian, Greek, Ethiopian and Spanish oils are frequently blended together after pressing and sold in bulk. For example, if bottled in Italy the label will say produced in Italy. For more information go to the California Olive Oil Council website. Be careful you know what you are buying.
How to taste olive oil?
Olive tasting rooms are popping up all over as olive oil becomes more popular as the healthy cooking and seasoning choice in many homes.
So just how does one taste and discern quality olive oil? Here are a couple of suggestions.
Pour a generous amount into a small glass. Cup the glass with your hands to warm the oil. Cover the mouth of the glass with your hand as you bring the glass up to your nose. Inhale the full aroma of the oil. Different varieties of olives have very different aromas, and flavors. The oil may smell of green grass, fresh vegetables, apples, fruit, artichoke, almonds or even perfume.
Then take a sip and whirl it around in your mouth with your tongue. Suck a little air into your mouth at the corners to send the flavor and aroma to your throat. Hmmm.
Freshness is always the most important quality of any good olive oil. You are now on an adventure to truly great taste treats! Enjoy!