In this post we have organized a duel which we have decided to call extra virgin olive oil vs olive oil. What it is really about is getting to know the differences between extra virgin olive oil, (that is to say, why the word ‘extra’ is used) and olive oil.
We will look at the classification of olive oils, what characteristics extra virgin olive oil needs to have and the factors which mean that it is of greater quality. Let the duel begin: extra virgin olive oil vs olive oil.
Extra virgin olive oil is the perfect product. It is the authentic juice of the olive. It contains no imperfections. It is the most natural one and also the healthiest. It is the food stuff around which the Mediterranean Diet, the healthiest food system in the world, revolves.
It is what you should consume in its raw state, for dressing your salads and on your toast but also for cooking.
If you are looking for quality, good aroma, an unbeatable flavour, you have no choice but to use extra virgin olive oil. By the same token, you should use olive oil if you want to take advantage of all the beneficial properties it has for your health.
As we move through this post, we see the differences between extra virgin olive oil and olive oil and we will briefly touch on the differences between extra virgin olive oil and other oils produced from seeds. So let’s get started:
Extra virgin olive oil: the real juice
Olive oil, all olive oil comes from the olive, that is to say, from a fruit. Pay particular attention to those oils which are extracted from seeds such as soya, sesame, sunflower… they are not extracted from olives. They are not the juice of the olive, which is what we are looking for when we buy extra virgin olive oil.
Once the olives have been collected, they are crushed or ground. After that, they are centrifuged and filtered with the resulting juice to be bottled, using as we do at Masía el Altet, the best food technology. The analysis to which it is subjected and the subsequent tastings carried out by experts will provide the possiblility of differentiating between extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil and olive oil.
Only that oil which has no imperfections will be bottled as extra virgin olive oil. If it has slight imperfections, you will find virgin olive oil on the label but the adjective ‘extra’ will not be used.
If the imperfections are greater, this olive oil is sent to a plant to be mixed with extra virgin olive oil and that is when it is called olive oil, purely and simply. Perhaps the nomenclature is somewhat confusing. What you have to know is that extra virgin olive oil is the most perfect, it has no imperfections and has an incredible aroma and flavour. The others are refined oils, oils which are obtained from blending.
How to distinguish between extra virgin olive oil vs olive oil
How can you tell the difference between extra virgin olive oil and olive oil? What do you have to look for to know if you are dealing with an extra virgin olive oil of great quality? From the following aspects:
1. The colour
This is not a decisive factor. Extra virgin olive oils cover a large range of tones. From browns through some yellows to green. It is not a factor which will help you to pick out an extra virgin olive oil from other olive oils. It goes without saying that the glasses used in tastings are opaque.
2. The aroma
Through their sense of smell, experts detect the different aspects of extra virgin olive oil. They can detect the presence of what they call positive notes such as those of fruits and aromatic plants… and negative notes such as a rancid taste. These negative notes, if they are picked up could mean that an oil might not be graded as extra virgin olive oil and might have to be taken away for refining. As soon as professionals in tasting put the olive oil in their mouths, they can detect other positive or negative points.
3. The moment of picking
Oil which is produced from olives picked in October and November is usually of a far higher quality than that from olives picked in December and January.
The first is what is called the early harvest, with the olives being of higher quality but less productive. The great majority of extra virgin olive oils are produced from the early harvest. Those from a late harvest tend to be used for producing refined olive oil.
4. Varieties of olive
As far as the variety of olive is concerned, we have to say that it has no bearing on the matter, that all the varieties of olive which exist (and there are many), can become extra virgin olive oil if they fulfil the previous requirements and that using one extra virgin olive oil or another is purely a question of personal preference.
Is the year important? The answer is yes. Because all olive oils starts to lose certain organoleptic qualities with the passage of time. For this reason, it is much better to use olive oil bottled the same year.
In this comparison of extra virgin olive oil vs olive oil, we have only considered oil made from olives. And at this point, we would like to advise you not to use oil made from seeds. Obviously, it has less aroma and less taste but above all, it is far less beneficial for your health than extra virgin olive oil.
To sum up, extra virgin olive oil is a foodstuff which contains no imperfections. It is a pure foodstuff and the healthiest for you and for your family.
Do you use extra virgin olive oil or do you prefer other types of oil? Tell us in the comments section.
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