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The Different Types Of Olive Oil
Not all Olive Oils Are Created Equal
poor quality - avoid consumption
Olive pomace oil has nothing to do with quality olive oil and should be avoided just as much as vegetable oils. Olive pomace oil is extracted from the solid material left after the initial oil extraction.
The process involves using petroleum based solvents, mostly hexane and heat. The same exact method of extraction is used on the production of soy, sun flower, canola, and most other seed-derived oils.
Ever tried squeezing oil out of a corn kernel?
Refined Olive Oils
poor quality - avoid consumption
Commonly made from rancid and oxidized olive oil that has been chemically and thermally treated to eliminate unpleasant flavors and to neutralize the free fatty acid content.
Refining allows producers to use olives that are in a bad condition and blend in low quality oils since the bad tastes resulting from this treatment are chemically removed.
Refined olive oil is an inferior, heavily processed oil that does not possess most of the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil. It also lacks in color, flavor, and aromas.
Whenever you see an olive oil bottle or tin that says simply “Olive Oil”, chances are it is refined. Refined olive oils also go by other names to make them more appealing to the unsuspecting consumer
Pure Olive OilOften mistaken for a healthy option because of the word “pure”, it contains around 80% refined olive oil.
Lite Olive OilLite Olive Oil is a misrepresentation of refined olive oil in that is supposedly light in flavor. Too often customers have mistaken it as a healthier product, when in fact, it has the same exact calories as extra virgin olive oil with virtually none of the health benefits.
Virgin Olive Oil
An unrefined olive oil of lesser quality. While free from chemical refining, virgin olive oil’s acidity levels make it a considerably subpar option to extra virgin olive oil.
Extra Virgin Olive Oils
highest quality rich flavors & aromas
the only oils that we care about here at Olive Oil Lovers
Extra virgin olive oil is the freshly-squeezed juice of the olive fruit. It has strong flavors and aromas, it is by far the healthier cooking oil and the only that is made without the use of chemical solvents and industrial refining.
Producing extra virgin olive oil is more difficult a process than most people realize. Beginning with the care of trees and carefully harvesting and picking the fresh olives, down to thoroughly monitoring every single step of the entire production process.
During the mechanical extraction process, the temperature must be kept below 75 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. But even after the oil has been bottled, it is important that it is kept away from heat and light.
True EVOO’s acidity levels cannot be over 0.8% and the lower the acidity the higher the quality. Some extra virgin olive oils may have as low as 0.1% acidity!
Extra virgin olive oil doesn’t stay “extra virgin” for ever. Even in perfect storage conditions, the oil will degrade over a 2-year period and lose its freshness, its flavors, and aromas.
Learn more about extra virgin olive oil:
THE UNITED STATES OLIVE OIL CAPITAL
Olive oil production in California began in the 16th Century by Spanish missionaries who brought Mission variety olive trees to California from Mexico and began planting them alongside other European varieties. Since there are no native olive trees to the US, the varieties of California olive oils tend to be very unique adaptations of foreign favorites such as Koroneiki from Greece, Arbequina and Arbosana from Spain, and Frantoio and Leccino from Italy.
The California olive oil industry went through a very long period of stagnation as it focused its attention mainly on the production of table olives, but in the past 15 years California producers mounted a major effort to increase production by planting thousands of acres of new trees, building new mills and producing oils that can be on par in quality with some of the best oils imported from the Mediterranean.
An innovative farming system known as “super high-density” orchards helped to reduce costs and improved quality. In the high-density grove, trees are tightly planted and pruned so they can be mechanically picked by a harvester that quickly sucks the olives off the branches. In traditional groves, the olives are raked or shaken from the tree by hand, resulting in a labor-intensive and time-consuming process. In addition, an acre of high-density olives can contain up to 900 trees compared with a traditional grove that will hold less than 100.
Because high-density planting currently only works with certain varietals, such as Arbequina and Arbosana from Spain and Koroneiki from Greece, these tend to be the most popular varieties found in California olive oil. While opinions currently vary in regards to high-density planting, many who implement the system believe that the rapid harvest actually produces superior oil.
Premium quality California extra virgin olive oils produced today typically have grassy and fruity aromas with a smoother, buttery flavor and subtle peppery finish. In numerous blind tastings, high quality California oils can certainly hold their own against the best quality Italian, Spanish and Greek oils.