How to Choose the Best Quality Olive Oil at a Good Price
All olive oils are not created equal, so when selecting a good olive oil you’ll want to make sure its “extra virgin.” Extra virgin is the highest standard of olive oil, and yes, there are committees and councils for such.
Rachel Ray is famous for referring to it as EVOO, and Ina Garten often calls it “good olive oil,” but the reference is the same. Using a high quality olive oil makes a significant difference in the way your food cooks and tastes. Here are some things to remember when buying olive oil:
1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra Virgin indicates the highest grade of oil has been used. This process is classified by the International Olive Oil Council and USDA. Some oils that say “Olive Oil” or “Light Oil” can be mixed with other ingredients, or other types of oils that are not as heart healthy as pure olive oil.
2. Olive Oil by Region
Many of the world’s best olive oils come from Europe, but it’s likely you and I have never tasted these types of oils, as they can be hard to get your hands on. It’s important to read the label and make sure the oils are coming from the same region. Quality is lessened when oils from say, Italy, Sicily, and Greece are all combined into one bottle. but the good old USA makes some amazingly tasty olive oils; California Olive Ranch brand is one you might recognize from your grocer. You can also find it on Amazon!
3. The Best Containers for Olive Oil
When perusing down your oil aisle in the grocery store you should look for tins or dark bottles. Dark containers help to block out light, which makes oil spoil faster. The color of the oil is no marker of quality, so pay closer attention to the container.
4. Good Olive Oil: Use it or Lose it!
Olive oil isn’t like wine, so unfortunately it doesn’t get better with age. If you like buying in bulk, keep a smaller container by your cooking station and replenish every two weeks, or as needed. Also, keeping oil near the high temperatures of your stove can speed up the process of spoiling. Keep unused oil in a cooler, darker place.
Affordable Olive Oils and Where to Buy Them
- California Olive Ranch $14-$22
- Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil – $13-$15
- Terra Delyssa – (2 pack on Amazon $33)
- Trader Joe’s Kalamata Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Whole Foods 365 Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Once confident in your choice of olive oil, try it out in some of these recipes!