If you’re given the choice between regular cooking oil and extra-virgin cooking oil, you’ll probably choose the extra-virgin option.
What’s the difference?
And does it matter?
Not all oils are equal
With so many options available on the shelf, it’s no surprise that consumers feel a little bit confused about the quality and type of oil they are buying.
Be under no illusions, there is a difference between oils, especially when it comes to extra-virgin oil.
Regular olive oil is obtained solely from the fruit of the olive tree, and contains no other oils.
The extraction method of regular olive oil can be chemical or using high-heat equipment. This increases the acidity count of the oil, and also can remove natural nutrients and minerals contained in the olive. Sometimes this olive oil is called ‘Pure Olive Oil’ which means is has been refined removing all its natural nutrients.
Virgin olive oil is a level higher than regular olive oil, although chemicals might still be used in the production process. Virgin olive oil has an acidity of less than 2%, allowing the oil to retain some of its natural goodness.
For extra-virgin olive oil, the acidity must be below 0.8%. To get this level, the temperature kept low and no chemicals are used in the extraction method. Only machinery is used to remove the oil from the olive, which ensures the essential nutrients and minerals are kept during the process.
A problem for the consumer
There is an issue however, which underlies all of this.
Currently, with the exception of olive oil, there are no industry standards for other oils as to what is classified as virgin or extra-virgin.
This means that, unfortunately, while a label may say extra-virgin, it might not be necessarily so.
This is a problem for olive oils too, where companies bottle cheap, nasty oils and slap a sticker on them claiming to be extra virgin.
It is a huge problem in the industry, particularly in the USA, where it is estimated that over two-thirds of store-bought olive oil which is labelled as extra virgin isn’t up to standard.
What to look for when buying quality oils
This is a problem as we sell refined and EV oils. Cooking oil is the first weapon in a chef’s arsenal, so it’s important to get the right one for the job ahead.
Firstly, what do you want the oil for? Taste, goodness, or a quality cooking oil.
An Extra Virgin oil for taste and goodness:
If you’re serious about your oils and don’t want to buy cheap, nasty stuff by mistake, then there are a few things you can do to spot the fakes.
The first thing you’ll notice is the bottle, and this can give you your first clue that the oil inside isn’t authentic extra-virgin oil. Real extra-virgin oil will never come in clear or plastic bottles because sunlight breaks down the chemical composition of the oil, turning it rancid. Legitimate manufacturers will bottle their product in dark glass, usually green or black.
The second thing is pretty obvious; the price.
Cheap oils tend to be cheap, and high-quality oils cost more to produce which is reflected in the pricing.
High-quality oils do cost more, but they’re healthier, taste better and last longer, so they’re definitely worth the extra pennies.
And of course, genuine olive oils will be certified by the International Olive Council which sets industry standards for olive oils.
Quality cooking oils: refined oils for cooking come in the same range of qualities. From oils that say they are avocado, but which are in fact a range of any refined oil.
Refined oils offer a cheaper oil for cooking, but many are chemically extracted and chemically refined.
Quality refined oils are mechanically extracted, some are ‘cold’ pressed, and refined without chemicals. But all refined oils remove the natural nutrients. So don't get hoodwinked with a refined oil that says it is ‘first cold pressed’ or ‘mechanically extracted’ and expect to get all the goodness.
f the price is lower than an extra virgin or virgin oil and the colour of the product is clear, without no flavour or aroma, it is refined. If you thought you were buying an extra virgin oil because the label was misleading take it back to the store and ask for your money back.
Why choose extra-virgin?
If extra-virgin oil costs more but there’s not much of a difference other than the extraction process, then why bother spending the money?
Well, it turns out the small differences in the extraction process mean big differences for your health.
As our brains are mostly made up of fatty acids, there are even some clinical trials which suggest that olive oil may help fight against the causes of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
And not only is extra-virgin oil good for your brain, it’s also good for your heart.
Olive oil is thought by many to be the reason people in the Mediterranean have astonishing low rates of heart disease, and a higher average life expectancy than the rest of Europe.
With us, you know it’s high-quality
The name Olivado is synonymous with quality.
Extra-virgin avocado oil is only created through the cold extraction process.
We invented it.
This method of creating high-quality avocado oil which keep the fruit’s original nutrients is now standard across the industry.
Our extra-virgin olive oil meets every standard set out by the International Olive Council, and all of our oils are produced to the same exacting standards.
When you see the Olivado label, there’s no need to worry about what’s in the bottle.
If you have any questions about us, our products, or about our pioneering cold-extraction process, then please feel free to contact us.