Not All Olive Oils are Created Equal

A Quick Guide to Olive Oils

If a recipe calls for olive oil you grab whatever’s on the shelf, right? But what kind of olive oil do you have in your cupboard? If you think all olive oil is created equal, you’ve got another thing coming. Olive oils differ and what works for one recipe might not work for another. Here’s what you need to know about the different kinds of olive oils available.

Extra Virgin

Extra virgin olive oil is the least processed of all olive oils. This oil is removed from the olives without chemicals. Instead of chemicals, a centrifugal machine is used. Because this olive oil is the least processed, it has the highest amount of anti-oxidants. If you’re adding olive oil to your diet for health reasons, this is the oil to use.

Pure Olive Oil

Pure olive oil is a heavily processed olive oil and chemicals are often used. While this type of olive oil is fine for sauteeing or frying, it isn’t as healthy as extra virgin olive oil and doesn’t have as many anti-oxidants.

Light Olive Oil

Light olive oil is best to use if you are cooking with a high heat point because this oil has a filtration process that gives it a higher smoke point. Many people mistakenly believe that light olive oil is lighter in calories. This isn’t true. The word “light” refers to the lighter color, not the caloric or fat content.

Storing Your Olive Oil

No matter which type of olive oil you buy, storing it properly is key. If stored properly, olive oil can be kept for up to two years. Because light can have a negative effect on the oil, make sure you buy the kind that comes in dark glass bottles or in cans. Store it in a dry environment at room temperature and it should keep well.

And remember, while a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, olive oil by a different name isn’t quite the same thing. The next time you go shopping for olive oils, keep that in mind.