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Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: What Is It?

extra virgin olive oil for cooking

The section of a supermarket or the local grocery store containing olive oils of different types, can make it pretty difficult for you to choose the right one.

Should you go for the plain olive oil, the virgin olive oil or the extra virgin olive oil?

This question has been putting a lot of people in dilemma for several years now. The confusion goes through the roof especially when it comes to using the right grade of olive oil for cooking.

When it comes to fats in the diet, the topic is one of the most highly controversial topics. From animal fats to seed oils and all that is in between, people argue about it all.

However, the one oil that a majority of these people agree to be healthy is the extra virgin olive oil.

This oil is a traditional fat that has been a part of the Mediterranean diet.

Some of the world’s healthiest populations have this oil as their dietary staple.

In fact, a lot of research has been carried out about this oil. The fatty acids, antioxidants rich content of it is proven to have a number of wonderful health benefits, including the reduction in the risk of a heart disease.

How is Olive Oil graded?

When it comes to Olive Oil, it is all about the process. Simply put, olive oil is the oil that is extracted from the fruit of olive trees. The different varieties of olive oil are classified on the basis of the type of process that is used to extract them, the additives and the free oleic acid level of the oil.

An extra-virgin olive oil is darker than the regular olive oil.

The different grades drastically differ in taste and quality. The color plays an important role in determining the difference between the grades too but, it is not the distinguishing factor.

The level of acidity or free oleic acid is what differentiates the grades of olive oil.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is the highest quality of olive oil that you can buy, as it is an unrefined oil. As it is unrefined, the true taste of olive is retained and the level of oleic acid is also lower than the other grades.

More natural minerals and vitamins are found in the extra virgin olive oil as well. It is referred to as an unrefined oil as there are no temperature alterations or chemical treatments done during the extraction of this grade of olive oil.

It contains as low as 1% of oleic acid and no more than that. It is typically golden green in color and has a distinct flavor with a light peppery finish. It has the highest production standards as compared to the other grades. It also has the highest intensity in flavor, which makes it stand out from the other grades.

In terms of quality and intensity of flavor, virgin olive oil comes next and after that, the regular olive oil.

Although regular olive oil is of the lowest quality when compared to extra virgin and virgin olive oil, it is considered to be an all-purpose cooking oil. Plus, it completely depends on your preference.

The best way to use the three grades is to use the extra virgin olive oil for cooking and baking sessions as it has a higher smoke point than the other grades. Then, for dressing, dipping bread or for cold dishes, use extra virgin or virgin olive oil.

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