Almost a year ago I wrote about the problems associated with cooking olive oil at high temperatures, you can read this post here. Whilst this post stirred up a lot of emotions, it also raised a lot of questions. One question which seems to have been popping up time and time again is ‘which variety of olive oil do I use on salads or my vegetables?’. Whether it’s Extra Virgin, Light or Pure, today I discuss what those terms really mean and which one is best for your health.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
This is the purest form of olive oil that is extracted from premium grade olives using a cold-pressing technique, without heat or chemicals in order to preserve the taste. This oil is great drizzled over salads or vegetables however, I wouldn’t use it for cooking at high temperatures.
Virgin Olive Oil
This process also takes place without the use of heat or chemicals however it is made using second-grade olives or from the second pressing after extra-virgin olive oil is made. The flavour of this variety is not as strong.
Pure Olive Oil
After virgin oil has been extracted from low-grade olives, the remnants are processed using heat, chemicals and high-pressure techniques to make this commercial grade oil. It is then mixed with some virgin olive oil to give it colour and flavour.
Light or Extra-Light Olive Oil
This is made from the final pressing of the olives, making it the lowest quality. Despite what many of us originally thought, ‘light’ refers to the colour NOT fat content.
Olive Oil Blends
This variety refers to olive oil that is mixed with canola, vegetable or sunflower oil to be used in products such as margarine and canned tuna. These are the types of oils you want to avoid completely and as such, something you should be wary of when reading the food label.
Which Olive Oil variety do you use? Were you purchasing the highest quality?