Extra Virgin Olive Oil. “Extra” is the highest grade for olive oil–the best you can buy. The virgin oil may be called “extra” if it has less than .8% free oleic acid, and if it exhibits superior taste, color and aroma. Thus, the “extra” in extra virgin olive oil means “premium,” or simply, “the best.” This unadulterated oil contains the higher levels of polyphenols, antioxidants which are often linked with better health. While we encourage using Extra Virgin Olive Oil for nearly every application in the kitchen we find that most people prefer to use evoo in cold dishes and for finishing so that they can enjoy the flavor of the oil. This includes using the oil to dip bread in, salad dressings, as a finishing oil for antipasto platters or to drizzle over finished pizza. These applications allow the oil to truly shine. If you want to see more creative uses then visit our Olive Oil & Food Books (for example, did you know you could bake a chocolate cake with Extra Virgin Olive Oil as well?)
Olive Oil or Pure Olive Oil Ordinary “olive oil” is actually a blended oil product. Olive oil producers start with low quality virgin olive oils. For these oils to be fit for consumption, they must be refined using mechanical, thermal and/or chemical processes. The resulting “refined olive oil” is largely colorless and tasteless. Before the resulting product is sold as “olive oil,” the producer blends into the refined olive oil a percentage of quality virgin olive oil to provide color and taste. While it is safe to fry with Extra Virgin Olive Oil many people prefer to use pure olive oil for their frying needs because of the mild flavor. It can also be used as a substitute for butter in baking.
“Light” or “Mild” Olive Oil. Light olive oil is a variation on ordinary olive oil. Producers of this product use a highly refined olive oil, and add less quality virgin oil than that typically used to blend olive oil. The only thing “light” about light olive oil is the taste and color; it has the same caloric and fat content as other oils. The makeup of Light Olive Oil and Pure Olive Oil is very similar, it’s the flavor that’s the biggest difference. Light Oil has less olive oil flavor and is favorable if you want to make to swap out butter in a baking recipe. The flavor is extremely mild and you won’t get any of the cholesterol that butter has.
Olive-Pomace Oil. Olive-pomace oil is the residue oil that is extracted by chemical solvents from previously pressed olive mash. This oil must be highly-refined to remove chemical impurities. Like ordinary olive oil, refined olive-pomace oil is enriched with virgin olive oil prior to sale.
Olive Oil Blends. Olive oil blends (e.g., canola oil enriched with some virgin olive oil) are sometimes used as a more economical substitute for olive oil (but not as a substitute for extra virgin olive oil). Because the production of good olive oil is labor intensive–the olives must essentially be picked by hand–the resulting product is more expensive than other vegetable oils. To offer a more economical product with some of the goodness of olive oil, some companies make olive oil blends. In an olive oil blend, the producer uses a base of a less expensive vegetable oil (e.g. canola oil) to which it adds a percentage (e.g. 25%) of virgin olive oil. These products have proven particularly attractive to restaurant and institutional purchasers where the small savings per tablespoon results in big savings due to the large volume they purchase.
Oil’s taste is a reflection of a variety factors including how the olives were harvested, where they were grown, the type of olive and the crop conditions. Additionally, what are normally negative qualities in other oils are actually desirable qualities in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and are indicative of good quality evoo. Examples include bitter, pungent, grassy and peppery. Buttery, fruity, nutty and sweet notes will also be present depending on the variety of Extra Virgin Olive Oil being sampled. These are examples of good quality oil as well.
To taste Extra Virgin Olive Oil first pour a tablespoon of the oil into a small, stemless wine glass or a short plastic tumbler. Place one hand underneath the bottom of the glass and the other over the top. Gently swirl to allow the aroma of the oil to fill the glass. Remove your hand from the top of the glass and bring the rim of the glass towards your nose. Take short, deep sniffs to inhale the aroma. Think about what you smell; is it mild or very aromatic? At this point you may begin to associate the scent of the oil with freshly cut grass, flowers, nuts or olives.
Finally, slurp the oil. Yep- slurp. While your mother my not approve it is essential to proper oil tasting. The “slurp” will allow you to pull both oil and air into your mouth and enhance your ability to detect different flavor notes.
Before you go out and purchase Olive Oil think about how you intend to use it in the kitchen. Will you be pan frying, deep frying, sautéing, roasting, making a marinade, making a dressing, drizzling over hard cheese, drizzling over soft cheese or using to dip bread in?
Then, head over to our Olive Oil and Food Pairing Chart to find out which of our Oils will best complement your meal.
Finally, always check the best by date and make sure the seal on your oil hasn’t been tampered with.
For best flavor, olive oil should be stored in a cool, dark place. Properly stored, olive oil can keep for at least two years. It is, however, at its peak within a year of production, and is its most flavorful for the first two months.
Olive Oil’s worst enemies are heat, light, and air. You’ll notice that the vast majority of Colavita Olive Oils are stored in either metal tins or dark colored glass bottles. We take these steps to protect the oil from the light in order to preserve the quality of our product. When you take it home just be sure to store it in a cool, dark place and keep the cap tightened when you are not actively using it and you’re good to go!
Olive oil should not be stored in the refrigerator. If chilled, olive oil will become cloudy and eventually solidify or crystallize. Should this happen, the oil is perfectly fine; just leave the oil at room temperature for a time to restore it to its natural state.
Consumption of Extra Virgin Olive Oil is linked with a variety of health benefits including, lowering the risk of heart disease, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and reducing cholesterol levels. Click here to find out the other ways Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil can improve the health of you and your family!
When you’re pairing Olive Oil with food it’s best to think about what you want to prepare first and then select the appropriate oil. We usually recommend picking a protein (or veggie) that you’d like to use and the cooking method involved (baking, sautéing, etc.). This will help to lead you to the right Olive Oil. Once you have those two details ironed out go over to our Olive Oil & Food Pairing Chart where we’ve taken care of the rest.
Enjoy your meal!
How to remove oil from clothing
Sometimes it takes just one stray olive oil droplet to ruin your favorite item of clothing. While it may be sad, it isn’t totally hopeless. If you act quickly then you can still save that salmon colored blouse that looks great on you.
First things first, remove the item of clothing and place a paper towel or clean rag between the layers of fabric so the oil stain doesn’t seep through the back and into the next layer. Next, take a clean, white paper towel and blot the stain. Repeat until the paper towel is no longer soaking up oil.
Afterwards take some baking powder and gently pat it into the surface of the stain. The baking powder will draw out any of the oil that the paper towel wasn’t able to soak up. Let the baking powder sit for 20 minutes then scrape it away. The baking soda will turn brownish due to the oil. Repeat until the baking soda no longer changes color.
Finally pretreat the stain before you throw it in the wash. Take a damp sponge and either dish soap or 2x concentrated detergent and work it into the stain until it lathers. Wash the item of clothing in the hottest water possible without damaging the garment. Let air dry and assess if the process needs to be repeated again.