Like many things in life, everything is not always as it seems. This is particularly true of food products and the vast array of choice that consumers have. Cooking Oil and in particular Olive Oil is no different. In this post I will outline some of the key differences in the different grades of Olive Oil. Authentic and quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or EVOO, is the only one you should consider for the real Olive Oil health benefits. Just Do EVOO!
As a truly natural product, Extra Virgin Olive Oil is essentially Olive juice. To be called Extra Virgin, there are some strict criteria to be met. These are set and monitored by numerous Organisations around the World, that determine the various grades of Olive oil. There are many variables, including the method of production and the quality control of the process. All can impact on the key attributes of the Olive oil.
Key Criteria for Authentic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- The oil must be extracted from the fruit solely by mechanical or other physical means that do not alter the oil. There cannot be any treatment other than washing, crushing, malaxing (gentle ‘massaging’ of the pulp in steel vats), decanting, pressing, centrifugation, and filtration.
- It must pass the necessary sensory tests that ensure it is not spoiled in any way.
- EVOO must have what is called a free acidity level, expressed as free oleic acid, of no more than 0.8 grams per 100 grams. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated Omega-9 fatty acid and has been proven to have numerous positive health benefits – a whole post in its own right!
- Once the fruit is picked, it must be processed and end up in vessel such as a tank or a bottle in less than 12-24 hours.
- Olive fruit must be harvested and processed at temperatures less than 25 degrees centigrade. Harvesting of Olives occurs in the Autumn and early Winter months.
Other Grade of Olive Oil
Descriptors such as Pure Olive Oil or Extra Light Olive Oil, have all been processed and have lost many, if not all of the health-giving properties. In the Australian Standards for Olive Oil, use of these terms are prohibited as they are refined oils and no longer natural.
One of the lowest qulaity grades is Olive Pomace Oil. It is biproduct of the Olive Oil pressing and extracting process. It is industrially processed via heat and solvents to extract the last remnants out of the skin, and pits of the Olive (the Pomace) to make it edible. You will see this in food products such as pesto, where the producer is trying to keep the cost of the product down.
Price Indicates Quality
The adage of “You Get What You Pay For” is so very true when it comes to Olive Oil. You are far better to spend more on quality EVOO if you are looking for the full array of Olive Oil benefits. If not, you may as well save your money and buy Vegetable or Seed Oils, which I don’t recommend. That is another story all together! If you remember the mantra ‘Just Do EVOO’, then you can’t go wrong!
Check out our range of delicious and nutritious oils. https://thevillagepress.co.nz/shop-now/
For more on the health benefits of EVOO, check this link out. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-benefits-of-olive-oil