Have you heard the truth about extra virgin olive oil? Have you ever had extra virgin olive oil? Do you cook with extra virgin olive oil? Maybe you just think you do. That was me, before getting weirdly but satisfyingly obsessed with extra. virgin. olive. oil.
This isn't a recipe, but since it's about food (like my life) I found it fitting to add some quick tips here about purchasing extra virgin olive oil and where to learn more!
"Extra Virgin" is the highest standard of olive oil, and should only be used on the labels of olive oils that are PERFECT. However in real life that's rarely the case, especially in the United States where it's perfectly legal to label a rancid and chemically processed oil that may not even be from olives as "Extra Virgin Olive Oil." That's like slapping a sticker that says "grand cru" on a box of Franzia.
When purchasing EVOO look for a harvest date. Real EVOO will include a harvest date, the northern hemisphere (Italy, Spain, Greece, California) harvests in the Fall. The Southern Hemisphere (Chili, Australia, New Zealand) harvests in the Spring.
Once opening a bottle of EVOO use it within 6 weeks. If it's unopened I highly recommend using it within 6 months of the harvest date.
Yes, real EVOO is more expensive. But it goes back to the idea that your dollar is a vote, and these small olive oil producers need support NOW before real EVOO is lost forever. The flavor is better, plus it's so much better for you. All of those health benefits from olive oil, are only in unrefined real extra virgin olive oil.
Don't heat your good EVOO. Exposing the oil to high temperatures makes it like the unspecified olive oil you pick up in the grocery store.
Read this book: Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller
and check out the author's slightly glitchy yet informative website here: www.extravirginity.com
Find a olive oil tasting! Because yes there is a huge difference between Trader Joe's brand olive oil and extra virgin olive oil.
Shop online. It can be very difficult to find good EVOO at your grocery store. The California brand is a good option but the taste never quite measures up to specialty bottles I've found online. I use oliveoillovers.com (sometimes they even have sales) just you know, avoid truffle oil, because there's no such thing.
What about other oils? When asking myself this question I just like to think of how oily/fatty the food is that the oil is claiming to be extracted from. Can they cold press it to make oil? Hot press it? Add all the chemicals to refine it? You get the idea.