Which olive oil is best?
You may think of olive oil as a simple salad dressing, but it has several cooking and personal care uses. Choosing olive oil is easy if you use it for casual everyday cooking, but if you’re a culinary or skincare enthusiast, you’ll want the highest quality possible.
The best olive oils are specially crafted in regions such as the Mediterranean, where high-grade olives are used. If you’re looking for high-quality olive oil, Flora Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a top choice that’s popular for its smooth texture and rich flavor.
What to know before you buy olive oil
Incorporating olive oil into your diet can yield many health benefits. It is loaded with antioxidants that can help prevent the development of health conditions such as cardiovascular disease.
As recently as 2018, the Food and Drug Administration considered the oleic acid found in extra virgin olive oil to be effective in reducing the chances of developing coronary heart disease. There are also scientific claims that olive oil can help prevent metabolic syndrome, reduce cancer risk and help treat anxiety and depression.
Lightly flavored olive oil enhances the flavor of fruit salads and salads with delicate greens. Medium or robust oils pair well with heartier salads and pasta. Olive oils and blends are also excellent for stir-frying, sautéing, baking and braising.
Apart from its culinary use, many dermatologists recommend it for its skincare benefits. Olive oil helps prevent water loss, making it effective at moisturizing the skin and giving it a youthful appearance. The antioxidants also help protect skin cells from damage caused by the sun and other environmental factors.
What to look for in a quality olive oil
Olive types and grade
There are three primary olive oil grades: pure olive oil, virgin olive oil and extra virgin olive oil.
- Pure olive oil has a paler look and lighter texture than virgin olive oil. Since it’s highly refined and contains the least amount of actual olive oil, it’s considered the lowest-grade form.
- Virgin olive oil is unrefined, but it contains a higher level of free fatty acids than extra virgin olive oil.
- Extra virgin olive oil is extracted without chemicals or heat, making it the rawest and purest form. It also contains a low amount of free fatty acids and must meet several chemical standards to be labeled as extra-virgin olive oil.
Olive oil can be spoiled if exposed to direct sunlight or heat. The best olive oils come in tin cans or dark glass or plastic bottles that help preserve their freshness and maintain their core nutritional value.
Style and flavor
Several extra virgin olive oils are named for the type of olive they’re derived from, and some have sweeter or spicier notes than others. The time of year the olive oil is crafted helps determine whether it’ll be smooth or robust in texture. Smooth olive oils have a gentle fruity flavor, while robust oils are more peppery.
How much you can expect to spend on olive oil
Pricing depends on the bottle size, but you can find all-purpose olive oil for $8-$15. For olive oils from the Mediterranean region or other territories known for high-grade olive oil crafting, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20-$40 for a 500- or 750-milliliter bottle.
Olive oil FAQ
Can I use olive oil for frying foods?
A. Yes, but temperature control is a vital component of effectively frying foods with olive oil since it has a lower smoke point than some other cooking oils.
Does extra virgin olive oil spoil faster than pure olive oil?
A. Yes. To help prevent your olive oil from spoiling, store it in a cool, dry place and ensure that the contents are never exposed to air for extended periods.
What’s the best olive oil to buy?
Top olive oil
Flora Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
What you need to know: This high-grade olive oil has a rich flavor and is ideal for Middle Eastern dishes, dressing for pasta and salads and everyday cooking or baking.
What you’ll love: It’s made from mechanically cold-pressed sun-ripened olives and is organic-certified by Quality Assurance International and the United States Department of Agriculture. It’s unfiltered, kosher-friendly, nitrogen-flushed and comes in a light-resistant, dark glass bottle that helps preserve its taste, freshness and nutritional value.
What you should consider: It’s flavorful, but the taste isn’t as strong as some other olive oils. Also, the bottle can be messy after use since there’s no spout for pouring, so you may wish to use an olive oil dispenser.
Where to buy: Sold by iHerb
Top olive oil for the money
Pompeian Smooth Extra Virgin Olive Oil
What you need to know: This is a terrific bargain pick as you’ll get 2 liters of olive oil suitable for sauteing and stir-frying for a low, affordable price.
What you’ll love: This oil is authentically made from first cold-pressed, farmer-owned olives by Pompeian olive oil craftsmen. The flavor is excellent and suitable for salads, baking, braising and all-purpose cooking. Also, some customers find that it’s a naturally effective body moisturizer.
What you should consider: Although it’s smooth, some customers found it slightly heavy and didn’t like the strong taste when used for stir-frying.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Gaea Sitia Extra Virgin Olive Oil
What you need to know: This is an authentic Greek olive oil expertly crafted to deliver a superior product with an outstanding taste.
What you’ll love: It’s rooted in the Protected Designation of Origin region of Sitia, located in Crete, which is one of the most famous olive oil-producing territories. It’s cold-extracted from hand-picked Koroneiki-variety olives for a flavorful taste and smooth texture. Also, it comes in a no-spill bottle designed to deliver a clean pour.
What you should consider: It has a thicker consistency than some other olive oils. Also, some customers found its taste spicier and less fruity than expected.
Where to buy: Sold by iHerb
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Kevin Luna writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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