If you have tried several Italian recipes, you need to know that Italian extra virgin olive oil has been used in many of those recipes. While shopping for Italian olive oil, you have seen an array of options on the market including extra virgin, pure virgin, light oil and more. Is there any difference between these options? Let’s learn more.
This one comes from the olive tree fruit. The type of olive, the process of extraction of the oil, level of free oleic acid and additives differentiate one variety from others.
Grades Of Olive Oil
Extra virgin oil is a little darker than regular one, which has a brighter hue. However, color varies from brand to brand. So, you cannot rely on color while buying it. Taste and quality vary and this one is graded by the level of free oleic acid.
Olive Oil – refined vs. unrefined
The unrefined one is pure and untreated. On the other hand, refined is obtained after removing flaws from the oil. In addition to this, the refined one hardly has any color, flavor or aroma of olive. Some of the anti-inflammatories and antioxidants are missing in refined one.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
As it is unrefined, extra-virgin oil is the highest-quality option available to you. To get the label of “extra-virgin”, it has to meet some specific standards. The oleic acid content is low in extra-virgin oil and it has true olive taste. Natural vitamins and minerals present in olives are present in it as well. Oleic acid content is no more than 1%. It has a golden green color, distinct flavor and light peppery finish. Extra-virgin burns at a lower temperature.
Virgin Olive Oil
According to the International Olive Council, virgin olive is next in quality. The process of making extra-virgin and virgin oil is similar. It is also pure and carries the taste of the olive. However, production standards are a little less rigid. The oleic acid content is slightly higher in it. The flavor is also slightly less intense.
Pure Olive Oil
The pure one is the regular one. It is a blend of refined and virgin oil. The quality of the pure one is lower than virgin and extra virgin versions. The flavor is neutral and the color is lighter. Oleic acid content is 3-4%. It is an all-purpose cooking oil.
Light Olive Oil
Here light does not mean lower in calories. This is a marketing term that describes the lighter flavor of the oil. It is a refined and comes with a neutral taste. It’s smoke point is also high and you can use it for frying, grilling, sauteing and baking.
Can you substitute one type for another?
Yes, you can. If you are trying a recipe with olive oil as an ingredient, you can use the pure or extra-virgin one as well. It’s all on your personal preferences. You can use both pure and extra-virgin oil in cooking and baking. However, you should keep in mind that both don’t have the same smoke points.
There is a simple rule of thumb. If you are using the oil for finishing, in dressing, for dipping bread, dips or in dishes that will not be cooked, you can use more flavorful extra-virgin one. The flavor on this highest quality oil can shine through.
Italian extra-virgin, virgin, and all other variations of the oil are available online.
Hope this will help you in choosing the right Italian olive oil for the next Italian recipe you are going to try. All these variations of are available in ItalianFoodOnlineStore.com. You can read product description to find out if you can use it in your recipe or not.