The 411 on EVOO
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or EVOO, has been used for thousands of years for cooking in the Mediterranean. It is mostly used in salad dressings, with bread or sautéing foods. In ancient Greece, olive oil was used for massages, and in ancient Egypt, it was used on the face to cleanse and moisturize the skin.
Did you know that 10 years ago, Racheal Ray coined the term “EVOO” and since then, it not only has become a household name for extra virgin olive oil, but is also now in the Oxford Dictionary?
EVOO is the preferred oil for Krysten’s Kitchen. I use it for absolutely every kind of recipe, even baking. We also use avocado oil and coconut oil for various recipes, but our go-to is olive oil. I have had people look at me funny when I tell them that I use extra virgin olive oil to make cookies, brownies and cakes. You can use it in place of canola oil and, though it might have a slight nuttier flavor than using other oils, it really adds some character to your breads and muffins.
There are many types of olive oil and even different flavored olive oils, but how do you know which is right for you?
Look where the olive oil is made. We purchase olive oil made in Greece. Look for D.O.P. (Protected designation of Origin) labeling that indicated exactly where the olive oil came from. This label ensures products are made in accordance with strict guidelines.
Choose Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Extra virgin means three different things: 1) the oil has been pressed out of fresh olives without heat or chemicals, 2) it has been tested to make sure there is no taste or smell defects and 3) it has been lab tested to prove it has very low acidity. Extra virgin also is famously filled with antioxidants. Choosing extra virgin means choosing olive oil that is minimally processed.
Taste the olive oil. Many stores will actually allow you to taste the olive oil before purchasing. It should be intensely aromatic, fruity and pungent. If your olive oil is mild or not filled with flavor, there’s a good chance that it’s low quality or filled with other cheaper oils.
Consider choosing bottles that are made of dark glass or tin to prevent the oil from going rancid from too much sunlight. Or you can keep your olive oil in a cool, dark place.
Do not always choose the largest bottle for the cheapest price. The flavor will be compromised and it might not even be 100% olive oil. It isn’t uncommon for olive oil to be doctored. Low quality and cheaper oils such as sunflower oil and canola oil are often used as fillers, but are often still labeled as Olive Oil. Just make sure you check the ingredients to be sure. It’s worth it to pay a tad more to ensure you are purchasing pure olive oil and receiving it’s wonderful health benefits.
Other Extra Virgin Olive Oil facts:
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids which have shown to lower the risks of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.
Do not choose LIGHT olive oil, as it has nothing to do with calories. If an olive oil is “light” it is lighter in flavor. Light olive oil is also refined, has a neutral taste and has most likely been adjusted for color and acidity. There is no such thing as “diet” olive oil, so there is no reason why you shouldn’t be choosing extra virgin olive oil.
Rachael Ray says to lightly massage some extra virgin olive oil onto your hands before cutting beets to prevent them from staining your skin.
Roughly 95% of olive oil is imported to the U.S.
The majority of olive oil is products in Europe. Spain is the largest producer followed by Italy and Greece. In the United States, California leads in production followed by Arizona, and Texas.
You can read more about extra virgin olive oil from Delicious Living here.