For a long time, no one doubts the benefits of olive oil. The presence of olive oil in the daily diet strengthens the immune system, improves the functioning of the heart and blood vessels, stimulates mental activity, and supports the nervous system. But finding pure extra virgin is not an easy task. First of all, you need to understand the difference between olive oil and Extra Virgin olive oil.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil vs. Olive Oil
Unrefined Extra Virgin olive oil is obtained from freshly picked olives exclusively by mechanical means. This oil retains the maximum of useful and nutritious substances. The unrefined oil has a rich, bright taste and excellent aroma, where you can highlight the notes of fresh herbs, fruits, sometimes tomatoes, and even almonds! Most often, the product is used for dressing salads and preparing snacks, and it is also added at the end of cooking meat or fish dishes, soups.
Refined oil is ideal for the thermal processing of food without health risk. When heated to 220˚C, this oil does not decompose, so it can be used for frying, stewing, and baking.
How to determine the quality of Extra Virgen olive oil
The quality of Extra Virgen unrefined olive oil is determined by two groups of parameters:
- Chemical Properties
The first group includes the acidity level, the oxidation state, and the presence of impurities in the oil. So, acidity is expressed as a percentage and means the proportion of fatty acids in the oil. This indicator tells you that the oil is made from quality olive fruits in compliance with the rules at all its production stages. The lower the acidity, the higher the quality of the oil. It should be no more than 0.8% for a quality Extra Virgen olive oil.
- Organoleptic Characteristics
The second group of characteristics includes the taste and aroma of olive oil. They can only be appreciated by tasting the oil. Good quality olive oil should have a rich and rich flavor that gradually develops on the tongue. Extra virgin olive oil should taste pleasantly bitter (mainly in the throat after swallowing) – this is an indicator of its quality.
Contrary to popular belief, the color of olive oil is not at all an indicator of its quality. It can be either golden or greenish. Different olive trees produce different olive oil varieties with varying profiles of flavor that differ in color, taste, and aroma.
These qualities of olive oil are influenced by many factors, including the region of origin of the olive, soil type, microclimate, rainfall, altitude. To find the product that suits you best, experiment, and taste different olive oils. Then you can find the olive oil that will perfectly reveal itself in the dishes you cook.
Why Extra Virgin Olive Oil Can And Should Taste Bitter
Some housewives believe that bitterness is an indicator that olive oil has deteriorated over time or under external factors. This is not at all the case. Bitterness is an essential feature of the high-quality Extra Virgen Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Let us explain why bitterness in the taste of olive oil is a good sign and indicator of product quality.
Why olive oil is bitter
Olive oil is made from olives that have reached optimum maturity and are harvested from a healthy tree. However, two different varieties of olive trees can produce fruits that differ in aroma, color, and, of course, taste. Olive oil of different characteristics can be obtained even from olives of the same variety and harvest, but with different ripeness degrees.
At the same time, the premium olives have something in common – they taste pleasantly bitter. Bitterness is an entirely natural flavor characteristic of olive oil. This guarantees the quality of Extra Virgin olive oil of the first cold pressing, which is considered the richest in composition and excellent in taste and aroma.
The degree of bitterness can vary. It is influenced by many different factors, including the variety of olives used when pressing, the soil’s condition, and the weather conditions under which the crop ripened. Depending on these characteristics, olive oil can have either a pronounced bitterness or a subtle one.
How bitterness is measured
As mentioned above, when bottling olive oil, comprehensive laboratory testing is carried out. The oil is tested for two parameters: its chemical composition and organoleptic parameters. The latter includes the definition of the taste of olive oil. To do this, you need to taste it.
During the tasting, the experts determine the flavor and aroma characteristic of each oil. The color of the oil, contrary to popular belief, does not affect its quality at all. That is why olive oil is tasted in glasses made of dark blue glass so that the color of the product does not mislead the experts.
Who appreciates the bitterness of the oil
In European countries with strict regulations and requirements for the quality of olive oil, the product’s quality is assessed by special officially accredited tasting commissions.
Italy, the world leader in the production of high-quality olive oil, has a developed production culture and consumption of this oil. Officially, the quality of a product in a sunny country is assessed by tasting commissions, but the tasting itself as a process has ceased to be a formal procedure and has turned into exciting entertainment. Real gourmets can attend a professional olive oil tasting, where they will be taught to “read” the taste and aroma of the product and will tell you a little more about its production.
If you feel bitterness in Extra Virgin Olive Oil of the first cold-pressed – rejoice. This means that you have chosen the highest quality food for your diet, which is produced according to standards from a healthy crop.
If you want to buy pure Extra Virgin Olive Oil, you can visit our store. We are providing the best quality that will enhance the flavor of your dishes.
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