Is Virgin Olive Oil Better Than Olive Oil?

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Olive Oil Versus Extra Virgin Olive Oil: What’s the Difference?

Updated September 9th 2021

Olive Oil And Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive Oil And Extra Virgin Olive Oil

When it comes to making the best choice in olive oil for taste and health, there is simply no finer option than extra virgin olive oil.  Distinct from other refined oils, it is the highest grade of olive oil you can buy due to the strict criteria that producers must be follow to label their product as ‘extra virgin olive oil’.  This gives the consumer a guarantee of quality from the earliest point in the production process.  

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Must Be Cold Pressed

The process of making extra virgin olive oil involves care and attention from the very start. The olive is a fruit and like most fruits, olives are rich in antioxidants. Olive oil is simply the juice from pressed olives. There are over 2,000 varieties of olives grown throughout the world, and each varietal has its own unique flavour profile. As a result, olive oil from one type of olive will taste different than those made with another variety of olive.

The basic procedure for making extra virgin olive oil has remained the same for thousands of years: Harvest the olives, wash them, crush them (cold pressed) into a paste, separate the solids from the liquid and further separate the water from the oil. No chemicals or solvents are used in this process.

Refined Oils: How They Differ From Virgin Oils

Unlike Extra Virgin 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 process.

Harvesting Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Harvesting Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Harvesting Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Typically, harvesting begins early when the olives are green, continues through the ripening process and ends when the olives are more purple. When the olive is picked will influence the quality and flavour of the olive oil produced.

Harvesting can either be done by hand, with rakes or by shaking the tree so that the fruit can fall into nets. Modern harvesting techniques involve machine harvesting of the olives, however some of these processes have raised environmental concerns. Conscientious harvesters minimize the damage to the olives and subsequent quality of the olive oil by never letting them touch the ground and by getting them to the mill as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours of harvest.

Grades Of Olive Oil

There are different grades of olive oil according to its level of acidity, or level of free oleic acid within the olive oil. The amount of free oleic acid in olive oil indicates the extent to which fat has broken down into fatty acids.

Olive oil also falls into two distinct categories: refined and unrefined. While unrefined oils are pure and untreated, refined oil is treated to remove flaws from the oil to make it more sellable.

There are five different types of olive oil:

  1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  2. Virgin Olive Oil
  3. Refined Olive Oil
  4. Olive Pomace Oil
  5. Lampante Oil

Why Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil Higher Quality Than Refined Oils?

This is a wholly natural, unrefined oil and the highest quality olive oil you can buy. Genuine extra virgin olive oil is rare and as a result is slightly more expensive.  The definition of Extra Virgin olive oil is very precise regards production methods, taste and chemical composition.

To qualify as extra virgin olive oil, it is an olive oil of less than 0.8% acidity and has no taste defects. In practice, the very best extra virgin olive oils have acidity levels much lower. Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil is consistently below 0.5%, normally around 0.25% to 0.3% depending on the weather conditions throughout the growing season.

Extra Virgin olive oil is completely natural. It is not treated with chemicals or altered by temperature. It is typically has a golden-green colour, with a distinctive fresh, green flavour and a light peppery finish.

Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil:

How the fruit was grown, harvested and transported, how it was pressed into oil, and how the oil was packaged and bottled all contribute to ensure Extra Virgin olive oil like Morocco Gold is the best quality olive oil you can buy.

This means it is an olive oil of less than 0.8% acidity and has no taste defects.

Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is Single Estate:

This means that it is from one source and is not mixed or blended with other oils, (even if they are extra virgin olive oil).

Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil Production:

How the fruit was grown, harvested and transported, how it was pressed into oil, and how the oil was packaged and bottled all contribute to ensure Extra Virgin olive oil like Morocco Gold is the best quality olive oil you can buy.

The best extra virgin olive oils are produced when the olives are young and green. They are hand-picked and handled with care and attention throughout the harvesting process. The olives are pressed using solely mechanical means within 24 hours of picking at temperature of below 28 º C.

Because of the way Extra Virgin olive oil is made, it retains more true olive taste, and has a lower level of oleic acid (no more than 0.8%) than other olive oil varieties. It also contains more of the natural vitamins and minerals found in olives.

Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil Taste:

The taste characteristics of best extra virgin olive oils are:

Fruity : having pleasant fruit flavours characteristic of fresh ripe or green olives
Bitter : with a mostly pleasant acrid flavour sensation on the tongue
Pungent : giving a distinctive peppery sensation in the mouth and throat. This is a sign of abundant nutrients in good, fresh extra virgin olive oil.

Tasting extra virgin olive oil is similar to wine tasting. You want to pour a small amount of the olive oil into a glass and place the bottom of the glass in the palm of your hand to warm up the oil. Gently swirl the glass to release the extra virgin olive oil aromas. Then sniff the olive oil and note the aromas – does it smell like grass or fruit?

Next, take a small slurp and suck the olive oil to the back of your throat – this spreads the olive oil throughout your palate and helps release the flavours. Lastly, swallow your extra virgin olive oil and take note of the flavours and any bitterness or pungency. A good extra virgin olive oil will give you a slight burn after you swallow. This indicates the olive oil is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols. Bitterness at the back of your tongue tells you it’s pure. 

Bitter, pungent and fruity are positive flavour attributes of extra virgin olive oil. You don’t want your olive oil to taste mouldy, yeasty or muddy. If it smells like crayons or stale nuts, it’s likely old and the oil has gone rancid.

Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is High In Heath Enhancing Poyphenols:

Thanks to the recent spotlight on the Mediterranean Diet, extensive research has been done on the phytonutrient composition of evoo What has been discovered is an extensive list of phytonutrients; one of the most praised is its polyphenols. The amount of polyphenols found in evoo is truly amazing!

Polyphenols are a potent antioxidant – one that can decommission a nasty molecule in your body called a free radical. Free radicals can ricochet around inside your body and harm good cells. Antioxidants, such as the polyphenols found in extra virgin olive oil, work to neutralize free radicals; protecting the body from their harmful effects.

The European Food Safety Agency has now approved health claims for extra virgin olive oils with a polyphenol content of more than 250mg / kg. The polyphenol content in Morocco Gold is well above this level.

Is The Healthiest Fat on Earth:

Fats in the diet are highly controversial. You will see people arguing about animal fats, seed oils and almost everything in between. But 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 now considerable scientific research behind the health effects of olive oil. These studies show that the fatty acids and antioxidants in it have some powerful health benefits.

Delivers A Wide Range Of Health Benefits:

The health benefits from best high-quality extra virgin olive oils include:

Evoo is probably the most extensively researched foodstuff on the planet – to really understand why it is so good for us. This means that the health benefits are evidence based and not the result of marketing ‘hype’.

Reduces Risk Of Cardiovascular Diseases

  • Cardiovascular diseases are the top cause of death in the industrialised world. A host of studies have documented that arteriosclerosis is closely linked to eating habits, lifestyle and some aspects of economic development.

    “… 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

Has A Beneficial Effect On 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”.

Maintains The Digestive Tract In Good Health.

  • Evoo produces a small amount of secretion by the pancreas, making this organ “work” little, but efficiently and enough to carry out all its digestive functions. It stimulates the absorption of various nutrients (calcium, Iron, magnesium, etc.).
    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.

Helps To Reduce Blood Pressure

  • One in every four adults is hypertensive. This increases the risk of early death because of the damage to the body’s arteries, especially the arteries that supply blood to the heart, kidneys, brain and eyes. Addition of extra virgin olive oil to a diet has a clear lowering effect on blood pressure. Regular consumption of extra virgin olive oil decreases both systolic (maximum) and diastolic (minimum) blood pressure.

Helps To Control Healthy Cholesterol Levels

  • Cholesterol is a fatty substance contained in foods of animal origin. Diets containing a large amount of animal fats raise blood cholesterol level, which is one of the chief risk factors of cardiovascular disease. Extra virgin olive oil lowers the levels of total blood cholesterol. LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides. At the same time it does not alter the levels of HbL-cholesterol (and may even raise them), which plays a protective role and prevents the formation of fatty patches and recurrent heart disease.

Eases Or Prevents Diabetes

  • An extra virgin olive oil rich diet is not only a good alternative in the treatment of diabetes, it may also help to prevent or delay the onset of the disease. How it does so is by preventing insulin resistance lowering triglycerides and ensuring better blood sugar level control and lower blood pressure.

Lessens The Severity Of Osteoporosis

  • Osteoporosis is a reduction in bone tissue mass that increases the risk of fractures. There are two types. Type I occurs in middle-aged, post-menopausal women and type II in the elderly. Olive oil appears to have a favourable effect on bone calcification, and bone mineralisation is better the more it is consumed. It helps calcium absorption, thereby playing an important part during the period of growth and in the prevention of osteoporosis.

Best Olive Oil:

Is found in dark glass bottles that protects the olive oil against ultra-violet rays and thus extends shelf-life.

Best Evoo Storage :

If of a superior quality and stored correctly, in a cool dark place and away from direct sunlight, it can have a shelf life of up to 4 years

Best Evoo Availability :

Genuine extra virgin olive oil is extremely rare. Most (even some that are badged as extra virgin), have been mixed, blended or processed in some way.

Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Morocco Gold satisfies all of the above criteria.