Ask the Chef: What’s the Difference Between Olive

Here’s a question that comes up frequently—both in the office and with friends. It seems even non-foodies have made the shift to using olive oil whenever possible, aiming for fewer saturated fats and a healthier approach to cooking. That good EVOO is more expensive, but is it worth it?

A comparison of the qualities of extra virgin olive oils on bottles provided by Gaea.

Photo: Gaea Olive Oil.

Our friends at Gaea, who make one of our favorite brands, have provided a great answer to this question. Here’s what they say:

What’s the difference between Olive Oil and EVOO?

  • The difference lies in the process used to extract the oil. Olive oil is treated and contains additives, reducing the quality, health benefits, and acidity of the oil

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil gets its “extra virgin” name by being awarded the highest-quality of olive oil that you can buy—meeting very specific industry standards

  • While olive oil produces a sand/yellow hue, high-quality extra virgin olive oil will have a golden-green color

Health Benefits of EVOO:

  • Antioxidants, with anti-inflammatory properties

  • May reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease

  • Loaded with vitamin E, which is great for your skin, hair, and nails

What to look for when buying EVOO:

  • “Extra Virgin” should be on the bottle

  • Quality extra virgin olive oil should be bottled in a dark glass bottle or can to preserve the freshness, by keeping light out and flavor locked in

  • A fresh bottle should have a harvest date within the last 12 month (can be found on the bottle)

  • Golden-green color

You’ll find other questions in our Ask the Chef series and other instructive pieces in our How-To Section.

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Post Author: cprcm