We all know that the use of olive oil, also known as "liquid gold," is indispensable in our daily lives. Whether in the Mediterranean diet, consumed raw, in salads, preserves, and marinades, or used in cooking, stews, and frying, olive oil is the key element of our diet. As discussed in previous entries on our blog, olive oil has numerous uses in our daily lives, including in cosmetics, hair care, making soap with used oil, and even medicinal and industrial applications. Given its intrinsic nature in our habits, it's essential to have enough information to determine the quality of olive oil. Just because an olive oil bears the label "extra virgin" doesn't necessarily mean it's good or high-quality. We'll show you how Mueloliva oils ensure maximum quality and provide tips to help you differentiate between authentic, high-quality olive oil and a subpar product.
Olive Oils That Seem "Good"
It might surprise you to learn that many olive oil brands employ deceptive practices to make their products appear of higher quality than they really are.
1. Color: The belief that greener olive oil is better is a common misconception. While it's a legitimate practice to achieve a vibrant green color by using very green olives and natural pigments from olive leaves, professional tasters often use blue tasting glasses to eliminate color influence in their evaluations.
2. Packaging: The packaging of olive oil plays a crucial role in the perceived quality of the product. Some olive oils invest heavily in packaging aesthetics but lack quality inside, potentially deceiving consumers into thinking they're purchasing an attractive and high-quality product.
3. Cold Behavior: Contrary to the myth that high-quality extra virgin olive oil solidifies and forms butter-like clumps when refrigerated, this is not a valid criterion. The solidification depends on the levels of free fatty acids and triglycerides. You can experiment by refrigerating various oils, both refined and authentic extra virgin olive oils, to observe the results.
5 Tips to Determine if Extra Virgin Olive Oil is Good
Now that you know how less-than-good oils can masquerade as high quality, here are some tips to verify the quality of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO):
1. Labeling: Check that the olive oil label includes the term "extra virgin olive oil" and specifies that the first extraction was done in cold conditions. It's common to confuse extraction with cold pressing, but it's the former that we should avoid on the label.
2. Taste: When you taste a bit of olive oil with a coffee spoon, genuine EVOO should create a throaty bite and a hint of bitterness. This is caused by polyphenols, natural antioxidants derived from olives. In low-quality olive oils, this bite may be absent, indicating lower polyphenol content.
3. Production Date: The closer the production date is, the younger and higher quality the olive oil will be.
4. Packaging Quality: While packaging can be deceiving, it's true that olive oil is sensitive to light and oxidation. If the oil is packaged in darkened bottles or has protective packaging, its quality will be better preserved.
5. Aroma: The scent should resemble a mix of herbs and fruitiness. If the aroma is overly vinegary or too olive-like, it may not be of high quality.
These recommendations can help you assess the quality of olive oil. However, the only 100% reliable way to determine if EVOO is truly high quality is by tasting it. We invite you to explore the range of extra virgin olive oils offered by Mueloliva.
Economical Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Finding genuinely high-quality yet relatively economical extra virgin olive oil can be challenging. If you seek this "liquid gold" at a lower price, you may have to compromise on some quality aspects. However, be wary of excessively cheap options, as they may be blends of oils, compromising purity and quality. Quality olive oil is an investment in health, so it's a product where cutting corners is not advisable.