The merits of extra virgin olive oil have been talked about everywhere, from Oprah to the Sunday paper. But when you go to the store to buy olive oil, the range of products and prices is astounding. How do you choose?
Let me make it easy for you. Here is the explanation of what makes olive oil extra virgin or not.
First, we have to consider the quality of the olive itself. If the olive is picked while still green, the oil will be bitter. Using an olive that is too ripe will result in rancid tasting oil. Great care is used in choosing olives that are ready to become oil. The words "handpicked olives" on the label indicate that great care was used.
Organic means that the olives are certified to have been grown without the use of pesticides, an important point.
Extra-virgin olive oil is produced by the old-fashioned way of slowly grinding the olives into a paste, allowing the oil to form naturally, and not letting any heat build-up in the process. Too much heat will produce an oxidized oil that loses its health-giving vitality. Extra-virgin olive oil must be cold processed and cannot be adulterated with any refined oils. I agree that this olive oil has a superior taste.
Virgin olive oil is slightly more acid with a less pronounced taste. Some literature says that it is the second pressing of those olives. There may be a little bit of heat building up as the process continues.