Olive Oil Times Special: Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is made simply by crushing olives and extracting the juice. It is the only cooking oil that is made without the use of chemicals and industrial refining.

It’s simply the juice of fresh, healthy olives which contains, more than any other grade, the health-promoting nutrients that olive oil is famous for.

What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

Extra virgin is the highest quality and most expensive olive oil classification. It should have no defects and a flavor of fresh olives.

It must be produced entirely by mechanical means without the use of any solvents, and under temperatures that will not degrade the oil.

It's not easy to produce extra virgin olive oil. A producer must use fresh olives in good condition and monitor every step of the process with great care. Extra virgin olive oil doesn't stay that way: Even in perfect storage conditions, the oil will degrade over time, so it's important to enjoy it within its two-year shelf life.

Articles on Olive Oil Quality

Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is…

Fruity

Look for pleasant fruit flavors characteristic of fresh ripe or green olives.

Ripe fruit yields oils that are milder, aromatic, buttery, and floral, while green fruit yields oils that are grassy, herbaceous, bitter, and pungent. Fruitiness also varies with the variety of olive.

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Bitter

Fresh olives oil will have a mostly pleasant acrid flavor sensation on the tongue.

Pungent

A peppery sensation in the mouth and throat is a sign of abundant nutrients in good, fresh extra virgin olive oil.

The Difference Between Virgin and Refined

Olive Varieties

Just like different grape varieties used for wines, there are more than 1,000 olive varieties, each with its own unique taste characteristics.

Chefs are only beginning to explore the almost limitless possibilities by pairing monovarietal extra virgin oils to enhance their culinary creations.

Choosing an olive oil to bring out the best flavors in dishes can be a challenge. That's why Olive Oil Times and the New York International Olive Oil Competition have teamed up to develop an app that uses an innovative algorithm to find the perfect olive oil match for your foods.

Try the Food Pairing App

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Latest News About Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pairing App Finds the Best Olive Oil Match for Foods

A new tool helps chefs find the perfect olive oil to enhance their culinary creations.

‘Extra Virginity’ Author, Tom Mueller, On Olive Oil

The investigative author shares his thoughts on the events over the four years since the release of his controversial exposé with Olive Oil Times publisher, Curtis Cord.

Italian Producers Group Propose New Olive Oil Classifications

With other olive oils taking a back seat to extra virgin, Assitol’s president recommends a new approach.

Olive Pomace Oil:

Not What You Might Think

Many people don't realize what they are buying when they choose olive pomace oil, only that it has a lower price. In most markets, olive pomace oil use is confined to the foodservice industry.

Olive pomace oil is produced using the same industrial solvents and refining methods used for seed oils such as canola, sunflower and peanut. Still, olive pomace oil is a monounsaturated fat, and is considered a better alternative to polyunsaturated seed oils.

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UC Davis Report:

Most Imported Extra Virgin Olive Oils Aren’t Extra Virgin

In a widely-cited 2010 report by the University of California at Davis, 69 percent of imported olive oil samples and 10 percent of California olive oil samples labeled as extra virgin found in several supermarkets in California failed to meet the IOC/USDA standards for extra virgin olive oil.

Read more