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The Difference Between Olive Oil Grades


Choose Regular (Pure) or Light Olive Oil for high heat cooking like sauteing or when you need a neutral flavored oil). This olive oil is usually the least expensive. Since it is basically the bottom of the barrel it has to be refined and filtered to remove both the bitter flavors and acid content. This means a lot of the flavors we love have been lost, and it is not as nutritious, however since it has been purified it has a higher smoke point than extra virgin olive oil, so it is good to use in the pan or oven. By the way, “light” does not mean “low fat”, it means light in flavor.

Select Virgin Olive Oil for marinades, roasting and dressings. Virgin olive oil is the result of the olives pressed with hardly any further manipulation or processing, hence the term “virgin”. This milder flavored olive oil is good for marinades, everyday salad dressings, pestos and for roasting vegetables with.

Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil for dressings and drizzling. This is a high quality olive oil since it comes from the first press. It is delicious just as it is, with lots of flavor so it is perfect for dipping bread, salad dressings, and for drizzling on dishes after they have been cooked.

Select Cold Pressed Olive Oil for dressings, drizzling, and general fanciness. Cold pressed olive oil is the fanciest and most precious of all. Usually this means the farmer used the best olives and they were cold pressed with care to make sure that all the flavors and health benefits remain intact. This is the olive oil you use when you really want to showcase it, so use it in cold or room temperature dishes, for dipping, drizzling and dressings that have just been gently whisked, or for drizzling on hot dishes after they have cooked. This olive oil is not recommended to cook with as you will lose a lot of the flavors you paid dearly for.


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