There are so many brands of olive oil out on the market these days, it’s hard to know which one is the healthiest one to choose. Today I’m going to cover some things to keep in mind to show you how to choose the right olive oil.
Fake Olive Oil?
First let’s talk about the rumors that imported olive oil is fake. I’ve done a little digging on the inter-webs and have seen this reported a few times. Apparently an Italian mafia is exporting low quality olive oil and labeling it as extra virgin olive oil. (You can read the article here.) There are also claims that some olive oil is being replaced with other vegetable oils that are not as healthy.
This brings us to my first recommendation for buying olive oil – buy domestic. You can avoid this whole mafia drama by buying olive oil made in the US. If you are going to buy Italian, Greek or Spanish olive oil, make sure you have researched the company and know they have high quality oil.
Turns out it’s important to know how they get the olive oil out of the olives. There are multiple ways: some use heat which damages the oil; some use solvents (aka chemicals) which no one wants in their olive oil.
We want to choose first, cold pressed. This means that the temperature during extraction did not exceed 80.6º and the oil has not been damaged by heat.
Rachel Ray has made a big deal of using EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) in all of her dishes, but is this really the best kind to use? YES – we want to stick with extra virgin olive oil. EVOO is made by pressing the oil out of the olives without the use of heat or solvents so it’s a much cleaner, healthier version.
Other Things to Remember
The color of the oil can vary so don’t worry if you get different colored oil each time your buy it. There are over 1,000 types of olives so have fun experimenting.
Olive oil only has a two year shelf life so better to buy smaller bottles more often.
Olive oil has a smoke point of about 375º (the temperature at which the oil may begin to oxidize or turn bad) so please remember that when using it to cook. (I use avocado oil usually for cooking because it has a smoke point over 500º.)
Olive oil can be damaged by heat and light. Buy oils in dark bottles and keep them in a dark cabinet.
I like the brand California Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Do you have any more tips for how to choose the right olive oil?