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Make Any Dish Better With The Best Extra Virgin Olive Oils

Olive oil is a culinary staple and has a place in many kitchens, but what's so important about "extra virgin" olive oil? Extra virgin olive oil is cold-pressed, meaning it comes into no contact with high heat that could denature its robust flavor and health benefits. This olive oil contains a good amount of antioxidants and healthy fats, is more pleasing to your palate, and is more consistent to cook with than refined olive oils.

While you have many choices when it comes to oils, it can still be challenging to find which brands of extra virgin olive oil are the best. For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of the best extra virgin olive oils on the market in 2021. These nutritious and healthy oils will fit right into any recipe you cook up next.

Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pompeian Robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pompeian Robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil offers a complex, full flavor that other basic olive oils do not. The oil is cold-pressed to maintain its robust flavor and amazing color, making it perfect for salad dressings, marinades, and more. If you use a lot of olive oil in your cooking, this large 68-fluid ounce bottle is perfect. It also comes in other sizes ranging from 16 fluid ounces to 101 fluid ounces. Plus, it comes from a farmer-owned company and is in a BPA-free plastic bottle. The oil is non-GMO and has been certified for meeting all olive oil standards set by the NAOOA (North American Olive Oil Association).

Cobram Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Cobram Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil comes all the way from Australia. Low in acidity and full of flavors such as fig leaf and tomato bush, this well-balanced olive oil is the perfect foundation for a variety of dishes. Believe it or not, this olive oil has won awards in various countries for its high quality too. To make things easier as you cook, the bottle comes with a convenient pop-up spout so you can pour controlled amounts of oil with ease. This olive oil is available in single 12.7-fluid ounce bottles or a 25.3-fluid ounce quantity.

365 by Whole Foods Market Mediterranean Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The Mediterranean Blend extra virgin olive oil from 365 by Whole Foods Market is an affordable and efficient solution to all your cooking oil needs. This extra virgin oil is a healthy culinary necessity for all kitchens as it enhances the true flavor of your meal and spices up the flavor mix exceptionally without any fuss. The flavor is full-bodied and smells and tastes like green olives. This olive oil comes in a 33.8-fluid ounce glass bottle and is non-GMO and has been tested to meet high-quality standards.

La Tourangelle Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

La Tourangelle Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil is made with the freshest olives, pressed just hours after harvest in order to maintain those bright, fresh flavors. This artisan olive oil is certified organic, non-GMO, and Kosher, and is sure to bring an ideal balance of flavor to any dish, from pasta dishes to salad dressings to meats. The oil has mild flavors of almond and olive leaves and has a slightly peppery finish that isn’t overwhelming in any way. In addition, this recyclable, BPA-free container contains 25 fluid ounces of oil.

Partanna 101-Ounce Tin Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Partanna Extra Virgin Olive Oil comes all the way from Sicily. This rich-flavored olive oil is reasonably priced and applicable in a bunch of scenarios including frying, sauteing, dipping, roasting, and baking, to name a few. This extra virgin oil comes in a 101-fluid ounce container and is an early harvest oil that is unfiltered and comes from fresh, cold-pressed olives. Plus, it is 100% organic and has been certified the quality and blend standards for olive oils.

Buyer's Guide

Extra virgin olive oil is the purest, least acidic, and best-tasting form of olive oil. Health experts and virtually everyone that has tried it can attest to its countless health benefits and advantages. Apart from being a near-ubiquitous ingredient in the kitchen, extra virgin olive oil is widely used for a lot of other things, like hair and skin treatment.

With all the many different kinds of extra virgin olive oils available on the market, you stand a better chance of getting a quality one when you have a keen eye and insight into the things that really matter when it comes to extra virgin oil. To point you in the right direction, we’ve assembled a comprehensive guide of the things you should know before making a purchase.

What are some things to consider when buying extra virgin olive oil?

To gain a bit of insight into the background of each oil, you should learn how to read the labels properly and discern which oil is most appropriate for you. Here are a few details to keep an eye out for.

Age

Unfortunately, olive oil is one of those items that won't stay good forever. It has a decently long shelf life, as it can last for roughly 2 years after harvesting, but that means you shouldn’t buy a gallon jug and plan on keeping it for years. Olive oil loses its flavor and increases in acidity over time, so you certainly don’t want it going rancid in your possession. Be sure to look for the “pressing” or sell-by date on the bottle or container so you can see how long it’ll last. A helpful tip is to only buy what you would consume within one month so you always have a fresh supply.

Origin

The origin of olive oil — where it is grown, pressed, and bottled, factors a whole lot into how it tastes. Every bottle of olive oil has a unique tale that results in a vastly different flavor profile. The soil, olive species, climate, and time of harvest can all impact the flavor of the oil and will vary by region. For example, olive oils made in Italy will taste different compared to those crafted in Greece or Spain. Pay attention to flavor profiles from different countries of origin and then you may find your new favorite olive oil.

Taste

Extra virgin olive oils can have different flavor profiles ranging from spicy to nutty, floral, fruity, herbal, and buttery. Olive oils made with care and quality olives will have a clean, fresh taste that is reminiscent of fresh green olives and has a subtle peppery finish. The best will have a gorgeous darker color and a texture that is smooth and doesn’t feel waxy. However, while the taste is great, the taste of the oil should not be too overpowering. If the oil seems acidic and oddly bold in flavor, it is likely rancid.

Authenticity

You have to beware. The market for olive oils is saturated with a lot of impostors and fake products claiming to be Italian extra virgin olive oil. These impostors are usually a blend of substandard olive oils, and a lot of them aren’t even Italian. Some products market themselves as “Italian” when the olives weren’t even grown in Italy; the oil was just packaged there. To avoid these fake products, always check for third-party certifications on the bottles before buying. Also, check out the packaging: if the oil comes in a darkened plastic or glass container or a container that is fully opaque, that’s a good sign. Olive oil is sensitive to light and temperature, so a fully clear container can damage the oil.

Health benefits

Olive oil is known for its great health benefits. It is full of healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, making it a staple in many cuisines and diets. A daily dose of EVOO can be beneficial to your cardiovascular health, as well as for managing weight. However, you’ll have to keep in mind that the more antioxidants there are, the more bitter the oil can be. Some oils just naturally have more antioxidants in them, and sometimes this bitter taste might overpower the other flavors in your food or snack. If you have a particularly bitter olive oil, use it with more flavorful dishes that can mask the oil's bitterness.

What are the types of olive oil processes?

Here are a few key terms you may come across while shopping for the best extra virgin olive oil.

Refined: When olive oil is referred to as "refined," that means it underwent a second production after pressing. This refining process often includes the presence of heat and or chemicals. The result is overall lower-quality olive oil, usually priced lower than its counterparts.

Cold-pressed: Cold-pressed oils are higher in quality and price because they go through a more natural process of oil production. In this process, heat is minimized to preserve the delicate flavors and aromas valued so much in extra virgin olive oil. All extra virgin olive oils are cold-pressed, despite the fact that some brands may not make that obvious.

Unrefined: No heat or chemicals are used in extracting unrefined oils, making the oil taste more like its source. All extra virgin olive oils are unrefined, and unrefined olive oils are high in quality and preserve the health benefits that come with the olives.

Quick storage tip: Make sure to keep your olive oil in a darkened container or a place in your kitchen away from high heat and sunlight. Heat and light can denature the unrefined oil, so for quality oil that lasts as long as it should, store your oil properly.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil FAQ

Q: What is olive oil?

A: This special oil has a dark greenish or golden yellow hue and a buttery taste with slight pepper undertones. It can be used in a myriad of applications from cooking to the creation of soap. The flavor and high smoke point make it the perfect oil to do practically any cooking with. It is made from fresh olives that are cold-pressed without the use of heat or chemicals in order to maintain its robust and fresh flavor. This also maintains its health benefits, which make olive oil a major part of the Mediterranean diet as well.

Q: What does extra virgin olive oil mean?

A: Extra virgin olive oil is made by extracting oil from olives through the cold-pressing process. When something is cold-pressed, no heat or chemicals are used, so the oil is very fresh and unrefined. Any oil that does not specify it is extra virgin is likely treated with heat or chemicals, decreasing its health benefits, decreasing its robust flavor, and turning it lighter in color.

Q: What harvest date or best buy date is appropriate for extra virgin olive oil?

A: Olive oil is best consumed within one year after it has been harvested (a maximum of two). It is always best to check the bottle of olive for the harvest date or best by date so you can be sure you are enjoying it in a timely fashion.

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