Tips For Picking
Top Quality Olive Oil
Real olive oil is a powerful elixir that has been proven to have wide-ranging health benefits. Actually more of a fruit juice than an oil, authentic olive oil is produced by pressing the juice out of olives without using any chemical process. The highest grades of olive oil are virgin and extra virgin, which must also conform to high standards for acidity level and flavor.
But how can you tell by looking at the bottle whether you are getting the real thing? Unfortunately, there has been a history a piracy in the olive oil business and many “olive oils", even “virgin” and “extra virgin” are mixed with other oils to reduce cost to the manufacturer. There’s also the problem of expired oil being sold on the market. Olive oil is not like wine; it deteriorates over time—therefore the best oils are those that are the most fresh.
Below are a few tips to follow when buying olive oil that will help you to avoid imitations and also find the freshest bottle on the shelf.
Check the harvest date
Good olive oils will carry a harvest date on the back of the bottle. This date will tell you when the olives were harvested. As you might expect, fresher is better. Try to use the oil between one to two years from when it was bottled.
In a 2010 study by researchers at the University of California, Davis and the Australian Oils Research Laboratory, it was discovered that two-thirds of imported European olive oil isn’t what it claims to be. Many of the “olive oils” tested were mixed with cheaper oils like canola, seed or nut oils. California olive oils, on the other hand, were not adulterated.
There are additional benefits to choosing California olive oils. Because they don’t have to travel as far, they are less likely to be expired before they reach the supermarket shelves. Not sure about a bottle of extra virgin olive oil you’d like to purchase? You can check the California Olive Oil Council’s list of 2013 Seal Certified Oils. If it’s on the list, it’s 100% guaranteed to be authentic.
Dark glass bottle
Choose olive oils that are sold in dark glass bottles over those sold in clear containers. Olive oil deteriorates with exposure to heat, light and oxygen. The best oils will be packaged to maintain freshness and flavor.