For a kitchen staple, there sure are a lot of options when it comes to olive oil. But don’t get lost in a grocery store aisle full of green bottles—there actually is a significant difference in quality between extra virgin olive oil and conventional olive oil. Pure extra virgin olive oil (also called EVOO) has a richer flavor and more nutritional benefits.
Comparing extra virgin olive oil to regular olive oil is like comparing a top-notch bourbon to its bottom-shelf counterparts. While they can be found on the same aisle, there’s a vast difference in quality. Extra virgin olive oil is made more intentionally, preserving the taste and health benefits of the Mediterranean fruit.
It’s All About the Process
Compared to conventional olive oil, the process of making extra virgin olive oil takes exquisite care and skill. From orchard to bottle, EVOO is cold-pressed and unrefined, which preserves the flavor and nutrition of the oil.
Learn more about the process we use to make artisanal extra virgin olive oil.
But not all olive orchards can meet the high standards that make EVOO so delectable. Productions that use lower-quality product end up with an olive oil that is overwhelmingly bitter. To be able to market it, the oil requires refining. Using heat and chemicals, the undesirable compounds are stripped away, leaving conventional olive oil. This oil is labeled in stores as “Pure Olive Oil” or “Light Olive Oil” and is generally flavorless. Some bottles will have a splash of EVOO added in to bring back the semblance of an olive.
The Olive Oil of Your Culinary Dreams
Simply put, extra virgin olive oil tastes better. The refining process used to make conventional oil literally strips away the natural flavor compounds in the fruit. Regular olive oil tastes pretty bland, similar to canola or vegetable oil.
A spoonful of EVOO, however, will taste earthy with a peppery finish. In other words, EVOO tastes like olives. In fact, depending on the type of olive the oil comes from, the oil will have different characteristics. For example, the Arbequina olives produce oil that’s fruity and rich while Koroneiki olives have notes of pear and fresh grass. Just like fine wines or whiskeys, oils from different olives are blended together to create artisanal flavors.
Health Benefits of EVOO
Extra virgin olive oil not only tastes better, but it’s also much more nutritious than refined olive oil. Along with being a heart-healthy, unsaturated fat, EVOO is full of powerful vitamins and antioxidants. A tablespoon of EVOO provides you with about ten percent of your daily recommended value of vitamin E and vitamin K. Antioxidants are a critical part of any diet. By neutralizing free radicals, they help reduce inflammation and fight chronic diseases. Due to the damaging properties of heat and chemicals, refined olive oils lose these health benefits.
You Deserve Quality
Extra virgin olive oil is quite different from regular olive oil. The different processes result in different flavors and nutritional values. At La Panza Ranch, we grow and produce award-winning extra virgin olive oil. Upgrade your pantry with a bottle or pouch of our cold-pressed oils. With a splash of La Panza olive oils, your sautés and salad dressings will thank you!