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What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

Olive oil is classified by how it was produced, by its chemistry, and by its flavor:

Extraction. How was it made? All production begins by applying physical pressure at room temperature to the olive fruit, which extracts oil and leaves a substance called pomace.

Virgin means the oil is produced at room temperature and only using pressure—in other words, with no chemical treatment. Marketing materials refer to cold pressed or mechanically pressed, which mean the same thing.

Refined means that the oil has been chemically treated to neutralize strong tastes and remove much of the acid content. Refined oil is commonly regarded as lower quality than virgin oil; the retail labels extra-virgin olive oil and virgin olive oil cannot contain any refined oil.

Olive-pomace oil means oil extracted from the pomace using chemical solvents—mostly hexane—and by heat.

Chemistry. What is in it? Quantitative analytical methods determine the oil's acidity defined as the percent, measured by weight, of oleic acid in it.

Flavor. How does it taste? The oil is subjectively judged by a panel of professional tasters in a blind taste test. This is also called its organoleptic quality.

recipes_bg.jpgOil grades:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil comes from the first pressing of the olives, contains no more than 0.8% acidity, and is judged to have a superior taste. There can be no refined oil in extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Virgin olive oil is also cold-pressed, with an acidity less than 2%, and judged to have a good taste. There can be no refined oil in virgin olive oil.
  • Olive oil is a blend of virgin oil and refined virgin oil, containing at most 1% acidity. It commonly lacks a strong flavor.
  • Olive-pomace oil is a blend of refined olive-pomace oil and possibly some virgin oil. It is fit for consumption, but it may not be called olive oil. Olive-pomace oil is rarely found in a grocery store, but is often used in restaurants.
  • Lampante oil is olive oil not used for consumption; lampante comes from olive oil's ancient use as fuel in oil-burning lamps. Lampante oil is mostly used in the industrial market.

(Source: www.worldiq.com)

 

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