Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is the highest quality and purest form of olive oil extracted from the fruit of the olive tree. It is obtained through a natural cold pressing process that preserves its characteristic aroma, flavor, and nutritional properties. With low acidity levels of less than 0.8%, EVOO is considered unrefined, as it has not been treated with chemicals or high heat.
EVOO is a staple in Mediterranean cuisine and is widely celebrated for its health benefits, particularly in promoting heart health and reducing inflammation. It is commonly used in cooking, drizzling over salads and pastas, dipping bread, or as a base for dressings and sauces. Consuming extra virgin olive oil adds flavor, depth, and richness while complementing the ingredients of various dishes.
In cooking, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) poses some challenges, mainly due to its low smoke point. This includes burning and developing a bitter taste when used for high-heat cooking methods like frying or searing. However, in low or medium heat sautéing, dressings, and drizzling over finished dishes, EVOO is unrivaled. It’s in these areas that its unique flavors can really shine. Always use your EVOO fresh; over time, EVOO's flavors decrease and health benefits fade. So buy in small quantities and store in a cool dark place with the bottle tightly sealed. Moreover, ensure to choose EVOO packed in dark glass bottles; the dark glass helps to protect it from damaging UV light. Despite its somewhat sensitive nature, EVOO's benefits more than make up for its downsides. It’s a powerhouse of nutrition and flavor and an essential addition to any pantry.
Can I use extra virgin olive oil in baking?
Why does my extra virgin olive oil taste bitter?
What can I use extra virgin olive oil for?
Why is extra virgin olive oil healthier than other oils?
Can I use extra virgin olive oil for high-heat cooking?
Can I replace vegetable oil with extra virgin olive oil in a recipe?
Why is some extra virgin olive oil greener than others?
How much extra virgin olive oil should I use in a salad dressing?
What does 'cold pressed' mean in relation to extra virgin olive oil?
My extra virgin olive oil has become cloudy, is it still good?
Expiration & Storage Tips
When does extra virgin olive oil expire?
An unopened bottle of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) usually remains at peak flavor for about 18 to 24 months from the time of bottling, or usually a year from the purchase date. Once opened, EVOO should ideally be used within three to six months for best flavor. Despite these guidelines, it's good to note that EVOO doesn't 'expire' in the traditional sense, but its flavors start to deteriorate and lose their freshness after the recommended span. Freezing olive oil is also an option, which will extend the oil's life by several years, although it can affect the texture and flavor slightly when thawed.
How do you tell if extra virgin olive oil is bad?
Check for a sour smell or taste, as this is an indication that the oil has turned rancid. The oil might also look a bit cloudy if it's going bad. Remember, good EVOO should have a fresh, fruity, grassy or peppery smell and flavor, it should not smell stale or old. Additionally, its color can also indicate its status. While color can vary from green to golden, a particularly dark color could suggest the oil is old, but don't use this as the only indicator. Always trust your nose and your taste buds!
Tips for storing extra virgin olive oil to extend shelf life
• Store the oil in a cool and dark place, ideally in a pantry and away from heat sources like the stove or oven.
• Make sure the EVOO bottle cap is tightly sealed after each use to minimize exposure to air.
• If available, consider storing your oil in a dark glass or tin container to protect it from light that can degrade its quality.
• Limit the oil's exposure to oxygen. Use smaller bottles if possible or transfer the oil into a smaller bottle as you use it.
• If you choose to freeze your olive oil, pour it into an airtight container leaving some space for the oil to expand as it freezes.