EVOO & Other Olive Oils
There are so many options when it come to purchasing olive oil. Rows of olive oils labeled Extra Virgin, Pure and Light stare back at you from the shelves of your local grocery store and you get stumped. You find yourself asking questions like: What's the difference? Why are some more expensive than others? Does light mean it's better for me?
We're here to shed some light.
The difference is in the process. Olive oils are set apart by the type of process used to extract the oil and the level of oleic acid found in the oil. There are set standards put in place by the International Olive Council (IOC) - that determines the classification of the oil and the name you see on the label.
EVOO & Other Olive Oils
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
EVOO is the oil that is extracted from healthy, fresh olives, purely by mechanical means without the use of heat or solvents (chemicals). In order for olive oil to be considered extra virgin, it must have a free acidity of less than .8% according to the standard set in place by the IOC and meet specific chemical and sensory attributes. It is the highest in polyphenols (molecules rich in antioxidant properties) and high in monounsaturated fat - the good kind your body needs.
Want more info on extra virgin olive oil? View our Guide To Olive Oil
Olive Oil or Pure Olive OilThis oil is a blend of refined olive oil with extra virgin olive oil (for color and flavor purposes). Refined oils use heat and/or chemicals to extract the oil and undergo processing methods like bleaching, steaming, degumming to remove flaws. The standards are not as stringent when it comes to producing olive oil so chances are it's lower in quality, lighter in color, and more neutral in flavor than extra virgin. If you can't use extra virgin, using olive oil blends is a healthier alternative to using other GMO refined oils.
Light or Extra Light Olive Oil
We're sure you've seen a bottle of 'light' or 'extra light' olive oil at the grocery store. This olive oil doesn't even fall under a classification, it's purely a marketing term used to describe it's lighter flavor. Extra light olive oil is made up of 95% refined or pomace oil blended with 5% EVOO to give it a little bit of color and flavor. So be very careful when you buy that extra light olive oil. As a matter of fact, I have seen extra light olive oil selling for more than extra virgin olive oil in some stores… And that’s just not right.
So, Which one should you buy?
There's a distinct difference in quality, taste and extraction method between these olive oils. EVOO is highest in quality, health benefits and flavor but olive oil blends also have their place in the kitchen. All are a healthier, superior alternative to other GMO refined oils. Light and extra light should be avoided.
We hope you've learned a lot about the differences between olive oils.