For thousands of years, olive oil has been a kitchen staple. However, not all forms are created equal.
Extra virgin olive oil from cold-pressed olives stands out above the rest. It preserves all-natural flavors, nutrients, and antioxidants for maximum health benefits when cooking or adding to your diet.
With so many brands and varieties of olive oil on the market, it is challenging to determine the most suitable for you. But with its ever-growing popularity, fake and low-quality oils are being produced more often than ever, making it difficult for buyers to recognize real from counterfeit goods.
This article will give you all the information you need to become an olive oil connoisseur! Everything from how to make sure your olive oil is genuine, introduce some of the highest-quality brands on the market and give advice on storing it for its flavor and quality.
So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cook, this guide has something for everyone who wants to learn more about the best real olive oil.
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How to Tell Real Olive Oil from Fake Olive Oil
If you’re looking for true olive oil, the only way to be sure is to taste it. However, tasting isn’t an option in stores or online – unless of course, you’d like to risk being shown out!
Therefore, it is a must that we can recognize the true olive oil and avoid its counterfeits. With countless health benefits of olive oil, whether used for cooking or simply consumed as a salad dressing or plain drinking olive oil, its demand has only increased more over time which unfortunately also means an influx in fake production.
The infamous report from UC Davis reporting 69% of imported oils, compared to just 10% sampled from California production, failed to meet standards. Then later, the North American Olive Oil Association discussed that report as a flawed test that was highly likely conducted as a scare technique to discredit the competition.
Then another EU investigation revealed that only 6 of 35 products were the real deal.
The typical fraud is mixing with inferior cheaper seed oils and labeling their product as extra virgin olive oil to get the premium price.
So, how can you be sure?
How to Tell Real Olive Oil from Fake
The olive oil industry has gone through great strides to set standards for genuine, high-quality olive oil. Below are some standard tests you can use to determine the authenticity of your olive oil:
- Flavor: The best olive oil should have a fruity, nutty, or peppery taste. If the oil has a bland taste or a chemical aftertaste, it’s likely to be fake.
- Color: The color of olive oil should range from light yellow to greenish. If the oil is too yellow or has a yellowish-green tint, it may be a sign of fake or low-quality oil.
- Smell: High-quality olive oil should have a fresh, fruity aroma. If the oil has a rancid or musty smell, it’s likely to be fake.
- Harvest Date: The best olive oil is made from the most recent harvest. The harvest date should be indicated on the label. The oil should also be consumed within two years of the harvest date.
- Labels: The label should indicate that the oil is extra virgin and made from pure, cold-pressed olives. The oil should also indicate the variety of olives used and the place of origin.
- Price: The price of olive oil varies, but if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. High-quality olive oil is relatively expensive compared to other oils.
Which Olive Oil is the Purest?
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is the purest form of olive oil. EVOO is made from fresh olives, first cold pressed and is not subjected to any chemical treatment. It is also unrefined, which means it retains all the natural flavors, nutrients, and antioxidants.
The Best Olive Oil Brands
The best olive oils don’t have to be from Italy, many great olive oils are found all over the world. Then, you should steer clear of mediocre olive oils such as Bertolli, Crisco, Filippo Berio, and Mazola—these don’t deserve to be labeled as “good enough.”
Some stand-out brands:
- California Olive Ranch: This brand is known for producing high-quality, affordable extra virgin olive oil. The oil is made from 100% California-grown olives and is non-GMO, gluten-free, and kosher-certified.
- Spanish Olive Oils: Spanish olive oils tend to be high-quality, with a rich, fruity flavor and a balanced bitterness. Some famous Spanish olive oil brands include Oro del Desierto, Hojiblanca, and Baronia.
- Italian Olive Oils: Italian olive oils are known for their mild flavor and fruity aroma. Some of the best Italian olive oil brands include Frantoio Muraglia, Colavita, and Farchioni.
But the most exciting part of tasting extra virgin olive oils from various countries, including Argentina, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, and Turkey, is that you can find the most interesting, delicious, and diverse flavors. So don’t limit yourself to one brand or country—explore the world of olive oil!
How to Find an Olive Oil You Can Trust
We have identified unique differences to spot real olive oil and identified some of the best brands, but what high probability things should we be looking for when shopping for the best EVOO?
- Read the label carefully.
- Look for certifications: Look for certified olive oils, such as those certified by the California Olive Oil Council, the North American Olive Oil Association, or Ultra Premium (UP), trademarked by Veronica Foods Company.
These certifications indicate that the oil has been tested and meets specific quality standards.
- Go for a dark bottle: Olive oil should be stored in a dark bottle to protect it from light, which can cause the oil to spoil.
- Avoid oils with vague labeling: Be wary of oils that don’t specify the variety of olives used or the place of origin. These oils often blend various oils and may not be pure olive oil.
Price: Expensive olive oil doesn’t always mean high quality, but it’s only sometimes a guarantee that it’s real. Look for a brand that has a good reputation and certification.
Packaging: Olive oil should be stored in a dark bottle or glass to protect it from light.
Tasting Notes: If you can taste the olive oil before you buy it, look for a rich, fruity flavor with a peppery finish. If it tastes bland or like other oils, it’s likely, not real.
How to Store Olive Oil
Olive oil should be stored in a cool, dark place and tightly sealed to prevent oxidation. If you buy your olive oil in bulk, it’s best to keep it in smaller containers to use up the entire bottle before it goes bad.
Keep it in the dark: Olive oil should be stored in a cool, dark place, away from light.
Avoid Heat: Olive oil should not be stored near a heat source, as it can cause it to spoil faster.
Use it Within a Year: Olive oil should be used within a year of being opened, as it can become rancid over time.
Explore the world’s extra virgin olive oils and ride the culinary experience for taste and health, and I know finding the best extra virgin olive oil can be challenging, but it’s worth the effort.
Increase your odds of discovering the highest caliber olive oils and never settle for just decent oil. With some investigation, you can find a premium quality oil that is both palatable and cost-effective using the aforementioned guide.
Never accept anything less than perfection; the best in life should always be savored to its fullest extent.
Good luck on your olive oil-finding journey!