Today, I will show you how to choose an outstanding Olive Oil. The steps we must take are not 100% fail-safe, but they will ensure that we find the highest quality product available and avoid making a poor selection.
I hope that these points will help you to make an informed decision.
Table of Contents
- 1 1.-Read the label
- 2 2.-The current season is better
- 3 3.-Olive Oil is produced around December (June in South Hemisphere)
- 4 4.-Varieties are important in selecting your Olive Oil
- 5 5.- Time of harvesting
- 6 6.-Colour does not dictate quality when choosing your Olive Oil.
- 7 7.-Try new brands.
- 8 8.Cheap is expensive.
- 9 9.- Packaging helps keep your EVOO in a good condition.
- 10 10.-the most important point of all: people first.
1.-Read the label
The first step is mandatory, and it involves taking a careful look at the label. What am I looking for? Firstly, we must see what kind of commercial category is being bottled. The four main categories found in most supermarkets are: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Virgin Olive Oil, Olive Oil, and Pomace Olive Oil. Do not simply look for “Olive Oil”, but EXTRA VIRGIN Olive Oil; it’s high quality (and higher priced, too). Obviously, you can buy any quality oil you need, but be wary of pretty envelopes and tons of misleading words in the packaging. Read the label carefully to see which oil is actually higher quality and which is not.
2.-The current season is better
Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Virgin Olive Oil are juices (Olive Oil and Pomace Olive Oil come from refining processes). The quality of homemade orange juice degrades with time after the oranges are initially squeezed, and olives work in the same way. Olive Oil doesn’t get better with time, and that’s why it’s very important to consume olive juice produced in the current season. Sometimes, you can find the season where it was produced, but it isn’t always easy. You can use this trick: Deduct 18-24 months from the expiration date. It may be more or less than the bottled date, but not the production date.
3.-Olive Oil is produced around December (June in South Hemisphere)
If you’re going to buy EVOO once per year, in order for the whole quantity to be fit for consumption throughout the year, you must take into account one important fact:
If you acquire your Olive Oil in August(xe), from August to December you will be using on season Olive Oil, but from December to August, you would be using last-season Olive Oil. This is because from December onwards, new olive oils would be on the market, and you would be using old Olive Oil for eight months more!
4.-Varieties are important in selecting your Olive Oil
It’s important to begin differentiating between varieties. In the wine world it’s very common to taste varieties with different flavours, textures, etc. depending on the grape variety. With EVOO, it works the same way. Tastes and flavours we find in the Picual variety are totally different from those we find in the Arbequina or Royal varieties.
5.- Time of harvesting
We must differentiate between an early harvest EVOO and an EVOO made with ripe olives. The fruitiness, a primary attribute in Olive Oil, is totally different between ripe and aged olives. Obviously, prices are different too; early harvested oils will be more expensive due to the higher quantity of olives needed in order to produce a litre. You can find these kinds of EVOO named as Premium or Gourmet. They are best tasted raw, especially on toast or in salads.
6.-Colour does not dictate quality when choosing your Olive Oil.
If you find two bottles of the same type of Olive Oil with different colours in the same market, chances are they were extracted from olives of different maturation levels within the same olive grove. In some cases it might be that some nefarious businesses are trying to sell you an out-of-date Olive Oil (unfortunately, there are bad people everywhere).
Colour isn’t the main point, but it can give you some clues, and in my case I enjoy seeing its incredible green/gold colour.
7.-Try new brands.
Whether you’re visiting areas where Olive Oil is a prized local product, checking out new brands at your daily supermarket, or attending a tasting session, you can discover amazing EVOOs. Buy little quantities, but from several brands. You will educate your tasting sense by trying new things.
8.Cheap is expensive.
If you find and EVOO lower than 3€, 99 times out of 100 there will be some doubts about its quality. Some commercial brands use Olive Oil as a hang product, based in their strategy, or based on the needs of selling it as quick as possible because it’s near its expiry date. These prices hurt small producers because they are lower than the non-profit line.
9.- Packaging helps keep your EVOO in a good condition.
Packaging must be taken into account since the best ways to preserve EVOO from light are with tin and dark glass. If you choose plastic, you can improve the state of conservation by keeping the bottle in the same cardboard box that it came in. Be sure to isolate the oil from very low or high temperatures. When choosing the size of the bottle, it is important to factor in your rate of consumption. You want to keep the oil fresh. For example, in higher level of kg consumption-per-year areas, it usually means 5l bottles. If you are an EVOO lover and you enjoy trying several different oils, you may prefer to use little bottles, ½, 1, or 2 litres.
10.-the most important point of all: people first.
Buy, if possible, directly from producers. Ask your shopper about how to choose an awesome olive oil, what the origin of the oil is, and who is behind it. Try to choose a soul based business; buy from people with a history to be told, and you will be a part of a world where luxury is measured in time, not in money.
This article was provided by Centro de Interpretacion del Olivar y del Aceite de la Loma and re-touched by myself. You can visit THEIR GREAT JOB in their webpage or by visiting them in UBEDA, one of the headquarters of Olive Oil World.
I hope you enjoy this article as much as I did writing it. Now you can 1º Share in your social networks , 2º Subscribe to my blog in order to receive new articles I will write or 3º leave a comment if you have anything else to be added.
Be Olive Oil my friend.