What is the difference between olive oil and extra virgin olive oil?
We have been asked various questions about olive oil and extra virgin olive oil at the tasting events we have held for Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil throughout the country. We have put together the following Q&A’s…
Extra-virgin olive oil is made from pure, cold-pressed olives, whereas regular olive oil is a blend, including both cold-pressed and processed oils. Any cold-pressed oil that doesn’t meet extra-virgin standards is then refined to get rid of undesirable impurities, giving the oil a more neutral flavour and lighter colour.
Why it is called extra virgin olive oil?
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the highest grade of olive oil. It is the very best olive oil you can buy. Genuine extra virgin olive oils are challenging to produce, are hard to come by and are consequently slightly more expensive. To achieve this superior quality, olives are picked early in the harvesting season whilst the fruit is still young, they are then processed ideally within 24 hours of picking. The term ‘first cold pressed’ means they are young olives, pressed solely by mechanical means, without the use of any solvents / additives, at temperatures below 27˚C.
Morocco Gold includes all of the above. Our olives are also handled with care and attention throughout the harvesting and processing to ensure that only the best quality olives goes into Morocco Gold.
Virgin olive oil means the oil was made by simply pressing olives. It didn’t undergo any of the industrial processes used to make ‘refined’ oils such as canola, sunflower, soybean and the lower grades of olive oil labelled ‘Pure,’ ‘Light,’ and simply ‘Olive Oil.’
Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil Good for Your Health?
There have been extensive researches carried out on olive oil and extra virgin olive oil in particular. It is now widely recognised that high quality extra virgin olive oils can help to :
- Reduce of risk of cardiovascular diseases
“… The lowest rates of death from coronary heart disease are currently recorded in the countries where olive oil is virtually the only fat consumed.” – Professor Francisco Grande Covian
- Prevent ulcers and gastritis
Olive oil reduces the risk of the flow or reflux of food and gastric juice up from the stomach to the oesophagus, the gastric content of the stomach is released more slowly and gradually into the duodenum, giving a greater sensation of “fullness”.
- Maintain the digestive tract in good health.
Olive oil, therefore, is a fat that is digested and absorbed really well. It has choice properties and a mild laxative effect that helps to combat constipation and bad breath.
- Reduce blood pressure
Addition of olive oil to a diet has a clear lowering effect on blood pressure. Regular consumption of olive oil decreases both systolic (maximum) and diastolic (minimum) blood pressure.
- Control healthy cholesterol levels
- Ease or prevents diabetes
- Lessens the severity of osteoporosis
Which extra virgin olive oil is best?
Extra virgin olive oils are much like fine wines. The taste is determined by many attributes like olive type, soil conditions, proximity to other fruits and crops and variations in weather. Like fine wines, there is a huge variety in taste.
High quality olive oils are however :
- FRUITY: With pleasant fruit flavours characteristic of fresh ripe or green olives. Green fruit yields oils that are grassy, herbaceous, bitter, and pungent. Fruitiness also varies with the variety of olive.
- BITTER: Fresh olives oil will have a mostly pleasant acrid flavour or sensation on the tongue.
- PUNGENT: Giving a peppery sensation in the mouth and throat is a sign of abundant nutrients in good, fresh olive oil.
The best olive oils are high in polyphenols, one of the numerous health-enhancing antioxidants. Like other antioxidants, polyphenols fight against age-related diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and certain types of cancer. They also contain strong anti-inflammatory properties.
In conclusion that is why the Food Standards Agency have given their approval to health benefits of extra virgin olive oils with polyphenol levels above 250mg / kg. Polyphenols in Morocco Gold are well above this level. We have included the level of polyphenols present in Morocco Gold on our labelling, so that consumers can see at a glance the quality of the oil they are buying.
Can I use extra virgin olive oil for cooking?
Yes you can cook with extra virgin olive oil. High quality olive oil is incredible versatile and is perfect for cooking, frying, sautéing, poaching, dressing and baking. It tastes delicious and enhances the flavours of the food.
Which olive oil is best for skin?
If you ask me what is the best olive oil for skin and hair, the answer is definitely extra virgin olive oil. However it is also the most expensive. This unrefined olive oil has the minimum of acidity level. Therefore, it is also rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.
What is the healthiest olive oil?
One of the few fats that most people agree is healthy is extra virgin olive oil. This oil, part of the Mediterranean diet, is a traditional fat that has been a dietary staple for some of the world’s healthiest populations. There is actually quite a bit of research behind the health effects of olive oil.