Basiks at Home™ searched the world to find the finest first cold pressed extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Like fine wine, each brand has its own distinct flavor and cooking with olive oil is like cooking with wine. Never use an olive oil that does not taste good to you. An inferior oil will leave a sour aftertaste. If you do the taste test and compare the “pure” to the “extra-virgin” you’ll understand the difference. Unlike supermarket oils, these pressings have a complex vibrant taste that will change how you think about olive oils.
When cooking with olive oil, save your extra-virgin expensive oils for salads, dressings, and vinaigrettes. You can also drizzle it over slices of crusty bread or onto open-face sandwiches. Use it on a baked potato or add it to mashed potatoes instead of butter. EVOO tastes great on cooked vegetables or brushed onto fish or meat before serving.
Generally, olive oil is extracted by pressing or crushing olives, and comes in different varieties, depending on the amount of processing involved. Varieties include:
Extra virgin – considered the best, least processed, comprising the oil from the first pressing of the olives.
Virgin – comes from the second pressing.
Pure – undergoes some processing, such as filtering and refining.
Extra light – undergoes considerable processing and only retains a very mild olive flavor
When buying olive oil you will want to obtain a high quality EXTRA VIRGIN oil. The oil that comes from the first “pressing” of the olive, is extracted by a cold press without using heat or chemicals, and has no “off” flavors is awarded “extra virgin” status. The less the olive oil is handled, the closer to its natural state, the better the oil. If the olive oil meets all the criteria, it can be designated as “extra virgin”.
What is pure and light olive oil? “Pure” olive oil is made by adding a little extra virgin olive oil to refined olive oil. It is a lesser grade oil that is also labeled as just “olive oil” in the U.S.
“Light” olive oil is a marketing concept and not a classification of olive oil grades. It is completely unregulated by any certification organizations and therefore has no real precedent to what its content should be. Sometimes, the olive oil is cut with other vegetable oils.
Today, olive oil is still treasured for its medicinal, culinary, nutritional and cosmetic virtues. It is reported that olive oil: Is an intensive natural conditioner for skin and hair tissues.
Helps to assimilate vitamins A, D and K and provides essential acids that cannot be produced by human body. It also encourages healthy growth of young cells while it slows down the aging process. The greatest exponent of monounsaturated fat is olive oil, and it is a prime component of the Mediterranean Diet. Olive oil is a natural juice which preserves the taste, aroma, vitamins and properties of the olive fruit. Olive oil is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed as it is – freshly pressed from the fruit. The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and its high content of antioxidative substances.
Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the “good” cholesterol) levels. Olive oil is very well tolerated by the stomach. In fact, olive oil’s protective function has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis. Olive oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones much more naturally than prescribed drugs. Consequently, it lowers the incidence of gallstone formation.
But while all types of olive oil are sources of monounsaturated fat, EVOO from the first pressing of the olives, contains higher levels of antioxidants, particularly vitamin E and phenols, because it is less processed.
Olive oil is clearly one of the good oils, one of the healing fats. Most people do quite well with it since it does not upset the critical omega 6 to omega 3 ratio and most of the fatty acids in olive oil are actually an omega-9 oil which is monounsaturated.