If you’ve ever found yourself looking for a healthy yet delicious way to add more flavor to your food, adding a dash of olive oil will do the trick. Tasty, nutritious, and light on the calories, olive oil is one of the healthiest fats around, which means you can add them to your dishes without feeling guilty. They’re also a staple in the diet of some of the world’s healthiest populations, further cementing their status as an ingredient to incorporate into your meals.
There are three types of olive oil—refined olive oil, virgin olive oil, and extra virgin olive oil. Due to its popularity in the kitchen, there are many extra virgin olive oil myths and misconceptions that cause people to purchase less-than-stellar quality products despite its popularity.
8 Common Extra Virgin Olive Oil Myths
Here are some of the most common extra virgin olive oil myths:
1. ‘First Cold Pressed’ Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the One to Buy
‘First cold pressed’ is a marketing term that doesn’t always guarantee quality. While all officially certified extra virgin olive oils must be first cold-pressed, as established by the International Olive Council, the term itself is outdated. Olive oil uses a mechanical process called centrifugation, which uses centrifugal force to separate the oil from the olive paste and water. Before centrifugation, the olive paste was pressed between mats to get the oil. First cold-pressed olive oil usually points to a high-quality product, but it’s best to study the brand beforehand.
2. ‘Second Pressed’ Refined Olive Oil is Better Than ‘First Cold Pressed’
Second pressed refined olive oil results in lower quality oil, as it means that the olive was crushed again to extract the oil. This often occurs at higher temperatures as well, affecting the overall quality of the olive oil. Refined olive oil goes through a different process from extra virgin olive oil, so in no way does second pressed refined olive oil outperform extra virgin olive oil in terms of quality.
3. Light Olive Oil is Lighter in Calories and Fat
Another common extra virgin olive oil myth is about low-calorie variants. Light olive oil exists, but it doesn’t mean that it’s light on fat and calories. It refers to the oil’s taste, color, and flavor due to the refining process it underwent. It’s important to note that extra virgin olive oils do not experience this process.
4. Cloudy Olive Oil is Good For You
Cloudy olive oil often has a shorter shelf life, and the cloudiness results from the olives’ particles that remained in the oil even after processing. These particles do not denote added nutrition. It’s best to stick to more transparent extra virgin olive oil, which is as pure as possible.
5. Color Indicates Quality
The richness of the color of extra virgin olive oil doesn’t indicate its quality. Instead, it tells you characteristics about the oil, like the ripeness and variety of the olives used, along with the climate in which they were grown.
6. Extra Virgin Olive Oil Must Be Refrigerated
While extra virgin olive oil can be refrigerated, doing so will reduce its shelf life. It’s best to store it in a dark bottle and a cool, dark place away from the heat. If it’s stored properly and remains unopened, it can last for one and a half to two years. However, when opened, it must be consumed within six months.
7. Heating Olive Oil Produces Trans Fats
You cannot produce trans fats by heating olive oil. Trans fats result from hydrogenation, which is a process that turns any oil into solid fat using extreme high heat and pressure.
8. Olive Oil Shouldn’t Be Subjected to Heat
You may have been cautioned against heating olive oil or using it to fry due to its low smoke point or the temperature at which oil begins to produce smoke. However, the smoke point highly depends on the oil’s freshness and quality. Higher quality gourmet olive oils have higher smoke points of around 400ºF.
Olive oil is delicious and distinct, more so in its pure, extra virgin form. However, thanks to its popularity, many misconceptions continue surrounding it. Now that you know the truth behind these extra virgin olive oil myths, you can confidently choose a high-quality olive oil set for all your culinary needs.
The Olive Bar is an olive oil gourmet shop selling artisan olive oil, balsamic vinegar, coconut oil, and more. Our products are of the best quality, providing you only with the richest, most delicious oils. Shop now to get yours!