- Food and Cooking
Buying Olive Oil and Using it to Cook
TYPES OF OLIVE OIL
From the Manufacture to the Sale
The basic process of making olive oil is really simple. Its source is the olive tree (Olea europaea) fruits, known as the olives. To get the oil, you just press the olives. The oil will come out.
However, at the point of sale, there are numerous grades and types of olive oil. These are caused by different factors that determine the quality of the oil. These factors range from the types of olives used during harvesting to the processing and shipping handling to the type of bottle containing the oil.
Despite the vast array of choices, there are four major types of olive oil: pure, virgin, extra virgin and extra light. The extra light goes through a considerable amount of processing to only retain an extremely mild olive flavour. The pure brand just goes through some processing like filtration and refining. The virgin type is achieved from the second pressing. The extra virgin undergoes the very least of processing (hence its name). The extra virgin is considered by many to be the best type of olive oil and is obtained from the first olive pressing.
Buying Genuine Olive Oil
This having been said, when you make your purchase, you should be wary of fraud. Olive oil is loved globally, and some may take advantage of this by diluting a grade like the extra virgin with cheaper oils. As such, to be sure that your purchase is authentic, be sure to buy from trusted sources. Do not only rely on their marketing but go through their consumer reviews as well.
Taking Care of your Olive Oil
Do you have the temptation of placing that beautiful bottle of olive oil on your windowsill to see it simmer in the light? Overcome it. It will radiate beautifully, but the olive oil will be destroyed. Why? Light and heat are among the highest ranked hazards to olive oil. When you add air to these two, the quality of your oil will be damaged and its usability greatly reduced.
Like many other oils, olive oil goes rancid on exposure to sunlight, air and high temperatures. You will not derive the maximum benefits from the oil that you should. As such, after you use it, keep your olive oil tightly sealed. In addition, store it in a cool and preferably dark place. As olive oil has high monounsaturated fat content, it can be stored for longer time compared to other oils. However, you have to store it properly to preserve its health benefits.
Old is not always Gold
Olive oil is not wine-it does not improve with age. As the oil gets older, it degenerates. It gradually breaks down and forms a greater amount of free oleic acid. The acidity of the olive oil consequently rises and the flavor of the oil is reduced and weakened. As this takes place, the nutrients in the oil also degrade.
Olive oil can be stored for long. This is factual, especially for the extra-virgin grade which can go up to 2 years because it begins with a very low acidity level. However, this is no reason to keep it around for that long. The best quality and maximum benefits of the olive oil are obtained when it is used within a year of the pressing. Its peak is a period of some months after the pressing. Hence, do not stash your olive oil in the cabinet for a time period that is too long.
Olive Oil- A "Super Food"
Olive oil is a very healthy food. The array of its benefits is undeniably vast. Some go further to calling it a “super food”. However, as you purchase it, be sure get the right and authentic grades to suit your needs.