What makes olive oil “extra virgin?”
Lately, Extra Virgin Olive Oil has been getting a lot of attention in the news, from its cancer-fighting benefits to mafia-run fraud in Italy. But what exactly makes oil “extra virgin"? Does it matter?
The term “extra virgin” refers to the finest grade of olive oil made from the first cold press of olives and containing a maximum of one percent acidity. Olive Oil Times states “it is the only cooking oil that is made without the use of chemicals and industrial refining.”
Very simply, the olive is crushed and the juice is extracted. This means you are basically eating the raw fruit, which is going to retain the most nutrients and phenols with impressive benefits such as heart and immune health.
Even if the oil is processed as extra-virgin, poor storage can degrade the quality. It is important to store extra virgin olive oil away from light and heat. That is why you’ll notice Healthy Harvest olive oil NEVER comes in plastic or clear containers. Our dark glass bottles and tins protect the integrity of our oil, so we guarantee it will never go rancid - ever.
Virgin olive oil is oil that is pressed without any industrial refinement; however, it doesn’t meet the strict taste and acidity standards set for “extra virgin.” Virgin olive oil is sometimes labeled ‘pure’ or ‘light.' A lot of virgin quality olive oil is falsely labeled as ‘extra virgin.’
How do you know you bought the real deal?
First, check out this 2010 report from University of California-Davis. The study tested 19 brands labeled as extra virgin olive oil, yet only a few met those standards. Did your brand make the cut?
Next, it is very difficult to tell when olive oil has been adulterated, as the refined oils often used are colorless and odorless. However, you’ll notice pure extra virgin olive oil should have a bright green color, a strong olive aroma, and an undeniably fruity, pungent, and even peppery taste. It should also solidify when cold and will not leave a greasy film on the palate or skin.
But better than all of these methods is an independent chemist report or knowing your grower. Healthy Harvest oil is backed by both. Karl and Jake have not only known the family farmers who produce our products for nearly a decade, but they have also both visited the estate where the olives are grown, as well as the press and bottling facility.
So what makes Healthy Harvest oil the the best?
- Single Varietal of Olives
- Sustainably Grown
- Cold pressed within one day of being picked
- No chemicals or additives
- No refined oils