Food connoisseurs and some of the best chefs will tell you that using the right olive oil will make a huge difference in your cooking. But finding the perfect oil can be such a daunting task! Every grocery store, supermarket, and even online sites have so many options to choose from. That’s where I step in. Using trial -and -error, a decent amount of research, as well as help from my boyfriend (who is a terrific Sous Chef!)–I am here to give you advice on all-things olive oils.
What’s the Deal with Extra-Virgin?
Extra-virgin is considered unrefined, which means it is not treated with chemicals or altered by temperature. Because of the way it is made, it will have a more true olive taste. Fresh, high-quality extra-virgin olive oil is one of the world’s healthiest foods because it retains a lot more of the natural vitamins and minerals found in olives. This is why extra-virgin is the best and only olive oil you should buy.
Learn to Read the Label
Where is it from? The ideal olive oil will have been grown, pressed, and bottled all in the same country. The oils you buy should be 100% authentic to the country it came from to be of- quality.
Does it say “light”? If it does, stay away! Oil is fat. Fat is money. AKA fat is going to be the star of your dish. There is no such thing as a “low fat” oil. So, if the bottle say it is, that means that the olive oil inside that bottle has been stripped of all flavor and goodness.
What’s the expiration date? Any good bottles of extra-virgin olive oil will contain an expiration date or a ‘pressing date’. This ensures that you can buy the freshest oil possible. The rule of thumb is that it needs to be bought and consumed within a year of when it was pressed.
What Color is the Bottle?
Only buy olive oils that are in a dark bottle. This helps keep out any light, which can cause the olive oil to become oxidized more quickly. That is how it can turn rancid- because unlike wine, olive oil does not age well. This being said, make sure to store your olive oil away from any direct sunlight or heat.
Do a Taste Test!
If you want to get real about your olive oil, taste it. A lot of stores have an olive oil ‘bar’ where you can sample different kinds. Make sure to smell them as well – a fresh, floral or herby aroma is everything! A good extra-virgin olive oil should have a very robust taste with a grassy, peppery flavor that lingers on your tongue.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I would never recommend anything I don’t personally love, and the income goes to keeping this site updated and free for everyone!