Olive Oil: How to Choose the Best & Highest Quality

Food & Cooking Tips, Gentle Nutrition

Have you seen all the varieties of just olive oil? From “extra-virgin” to “cold-pressed” and “pure” it can be confusing to know what these terms mean and what you’re actually getting!

Well, no need to worry — I’m here for you!

Give this blog post a read where I talk about refined and unrefined oils, smoke point and the best oils for cooking with different temperatures to give you some background info.

How to Choose a High Quality Olive Oil:

Extra virgin olive oil vs. refined olive oil

Extra virgin olive oil is a staple in my house (my fave is Origin 846)– it’s unique flavour and aroma along with its versatility make it a go-to oil for medium to no heat cooking. Not to mention it’s high in vitamin E and antioxidants, contains anti-inflammatory properties, and can prevent and reduce the risk of diseases associated with the heart and blood vessels.

However, many of these health benefits are only linked to extra virgin olive oil – not refined olive oilExtra virgin olive oil is supposed to be unrefined and cold-pressed.
Olive Oil - Origin 846
“Pure” and “light” are terms for olive oils that have been refined. Therefore, they have a more neutral flavour, longer shelf life and higher smoke point. Due to the refining process, they lose the antioxidants and vitamins they once had. Although, they still have the “good” (monounsaturated) fat. This fat is known for lowering “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and raising “good” (HDL) cholesterol. For this reason, refined olive oils are still a good option for medium to high heat cooking.

Is the place of origin important?

When shopping for olive oil, you want to look for olive oil that has had its olives harvested, treated, and the oil extracted and packaged all from the same place. This gives the olive oil more distinct flavours.

What method of extraction?

When looking for extra virgin olive oil, make sure that the label says “cold-pressed”. This term means that the olives had no excess heat applied to them during extraction. The first extracted batch, known as “first-pressed”, indicates that the olives were only pressed once and results in a higher quality oil. This term ensures that the olive oil was not made from remnant olives. For example, Pumace Olive Oil is olive oil that is made from the pits.

Cold pressing olive oil protects and preserves the flavours and aromas so that they can be enjoyed when cooking and eating.

Does the colour matter?

The colour of extra virgin olive oil is not important in determining its quality. Olive oil can range from a green-yellow to a deep dark green colour due to the amount of chlorophyll present in the olives at the time of processing.

That’s it from me!

After reading this I hope you feel less confused and more confident to pick out an olive oil!

Want to stay in the loop of all our latest and greatest nutrition info & food tips and tricks?

Blog Contributors

This blog was written with the help of some amazing dietetics & nutrition students: Celine & Vanessa.

Disclosure

nutriFoodie has received a donation of Olive Oil from Origin 846. The opinions and information shared in the blog are independent to nutriFoodie and do not necessarily reflect those of the partnering companies’.

References

  • http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/100111p30.shtml
  • https://daa.asn.au/smart-eating-for-you/smart-eating-fast-facts/food-and-food-products/extra-virgin-olive-oil-the-latest-update/
  • https://nutritionstripped.com/cooking-oils/
  • https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/smoke-point-matters-in-cooking-with-oil/article26569060/
  • ​https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/ask-a-health-expert/whats-the-healthiest-cooking-oil/article566592/
  • http://www.fao.org/docrep/v4700e/V4700E0a.htm
  • ​https://www.delallo.com/blog/market-selecting-olive-oils/#
  • ​https://www.veghealth.com/nutrition-tables/Smoke-Points-of-Oils-table.pdf
  • McGee, H. (2004). On Food and Cooking.