Types Of Olive Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Benefits, History & Culture

Not all olive oil is the same. There are different grades of olive oil and associated standards are defined by the International Olive Council. In summary there are five different types of olive oil:

1 Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is the highest quality olive oil you can get. Genuine extra virgin olive oil is rare and as a result is slightly more expensive.

The chemical characteristics of extra virgin olive oil (as with all vegetable oils) give an indication of the care with which it was made and stored: how the fruit was grown, transported and harvested, how it was pressed into oil, and how the oil was packaged and bottled. Stringent chemical analysis also helps to determine if the oil is adulterated in any way. The chemical standards for extra virgin olive oil are the highest of all the grades and, as such, offer a guarantee of quality.

Olive Oil Research
Olive Oil Research

The definition of extra virgin olive oil is very precise regards production methods, taste and chemical composition. To be certified as extra virgin, an olive oil must:

  • Come from a single source, it is not mixed / blended with other olive oils, even if they are of extra virgin quality
  • Come from the first pressing of fresh, young olives, normally within 24 hours of harvesting
  • Be extracted purely by mechanical means at temperatures specifically below 28C.
  • Have free fatty acid or acidity level (normally measured as oleic acid) of less than 0.8%.
  • Be defect free and have a perfect taste and aroma.

Extra virgin olive oil is the highest grade and best tasting olive oil. The organoleptic (taste) characteristics of a high-quality extra virgin olive oil are typically:

Fruity

  • It has pleasant spicy, fruity flavours characteristic of fresh ripe or green olives. Fruitiness varies with the variety of olive. Green fruit yields olive oils that are grassy and herbaceous.
  • More mature, ripe fruit yields olive oils that are milder, aromatic, buttery and floral.

Bitter

  • Creating a pleasant acrid flavour or sensation on the tongue

Pungent

  • Creating a peppery sensation in the mouth and throat.

High quality extra virgin olive oils also contain the antioxidants and polyphenols that give the health enhancing qualities associated with olive oil.

2 Virgin Olive Oil

  • Virgin olive oil also comes from the first pressing but must have an acidity level of less than 2%. It is therefore of inferior quality to extra virgin olive oil. It’s flavour intensity can vary and its taste is milder than extra virgin olive oil.
  • The higher level of acidity also means it’s shelf-life will not be as long as extra virgin olive oil

3 Refined Olive Oil

  • These are olive oils that have been refined by using agents such as acids, alkalis and heat to extract as much oil as possible from the olive pulp that remains after the first pressing. The result is a fattier and more acidic oil which lacks taste, aroma and natural antioxidants found in extra virgin olive oil.
  • Producers then need to add unrefined extra virgin or virgin olive oil to give refined olive oil some flavour, colour and aroma into the blend.
  • Terms such as “pure” or “100% pure” or “Light” are made up terms used by large producers and supermarkets. If the label states “pure” or “100% pure” or “Light” then the olive oil is a refined oil lacking the taste, aroma and quality of extra virgin olive oil.

4 Olive Pomace Oil

  • The lowest grade of olive oil made from the by-products of extra virgin olive oil production. Olive skins, seeds and pulp are heated and the remaining oil is extracted using solvent. The result, pomace oil, is then put through a refining process, similar to pure or light olive oil.
  • Pomace olive oil is bland and extremely low in antioxidants.

5 Lampante Oil

  • Lampante oil comes from bad fruit or poor processing practices and has severe taste defects. It is not fit for human consumption until it has been refined.

Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive OIl

Morocco Gold comes from a single source, from the Beni-Mellal region of Morocco. The olives are  harvested by hand, early in the season whilst the fruit is still young and green. The olives are handled with care and attention throughout the harvesting and pressing process to ensure that only the best olives are used for Morocco Gold.

Uniquely, we include the results of our chemical analysis for acidity, peroxide and ultra violet testing on each-and-every bottle of Morocco Gold so that our customers can see at a glance the guarantee of extra virgin olive oil quality.

Morocco Gold comes from the Picholine Marrocaine olive, which is characterised by its green, fruity flavour, with hints of almond and herbs, also it’s high level of polyphenols that give Morocco Gold it’s health enhancing qualities as well as it’s taste.

It does not have the ‘aggressive’ pungency of some extra virgin olive oils, giving Morocco Gold a well-balanced and satisfying finish. This also makes Morocco Gold highly versatile in how it can be used, either taken directly, dipping with bread, drizzling over salads, sautéing vegetables, the uses are limitless

References:
Mediterranean Diet

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