5 Easy Ways to Know Your Olive Oil is a Ripoff

So you splurged for extra virgin olive oil, but did you get what you paid for? Here are five sure signs you got ripped.

By Olive Oil Times Staff
Aug. 19, 2016 15:53 UTC

With hun­dreds of arti­cles in these pages about olive oil qual­ity, some read­ers might feel over­whelmed and could use a few quick tips to tell a real extra vir­gin olive oil from one pre­tend­ing to be. Not every­one can be an olive oil som­me­lier, but you can catch most of the imposters if you look for some com­mon red flags.

Assuming you paid a lit­tle extra to buy what you thought was extra vir­gin olive oil, here are five sure signs you got ripped off:

It’s past its best by date’

Just because an olive oil is extra vir­gin when it’s bot­tled, does­n’t mean it will stay that way for long. Even the best EVOOs degrade over time and, by the end of an eigh­teen-month of two-year shelf life, the oil you’re left with isn’t worth the hefty price tag. Unfortunately, that won’t keep some mer­chants from try­ing to sell them any­way.

It has no scent at all

Pour some oil into a clean glass and warm the glass with one hand, gen­tly swirling it, while cov­er­ing the top with your other hand. Now put your nose in there and take a long, slow sniff. Smell any­thing? If there’s vir­tu­ally no scent, you prob­a­bly have a refined oil that was never extra vir­gin to begin with. If you find a pleas­ant, grassy fra­grance, then you hit the jack­pot.

It smells like rotten fruit, hay or mud

You know that faintly nau­se­at­ing smell of fruit rot­ten to the point of being black? Olives and olive oil oxi­dize over time and will smell the same way even­tu­ally. Not only will it impart that rot­ten fruit smell and fla­vor to your food, the healthy nutri­ents you paid for are long gone.

It tastes like vinegar or wine

Common tastes that give away a less-than-good olive oilare the ones experts call winey” and vine­gary.” If your oil tastes oddly like vine­gar or wine, it sig­nals that the olives under­went fer­men­ta­tion and that’s a bad thing.

It just doesn’t smell (or taste) fresh

Fresh, healthy olives are bit­ter and the oil they pro­duce should be, too. Take a sniff, sip it and swirl it around in your mouth. It should smell fresh, like green grass, have a pleas­ant bit­ter­ness on your tongue and cause a sting in your throat. If it has none of these, you wound up with a dud.


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