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Switching to olive oil for the sake of your health? Here’s what you should know, so you never get duped by the fancy words thrown around in the market.
Olive oil is one of the healthiest fats around. Whether you want to use it to drizzle on your salad, or to sauté your veggies in, it’s definitely a better bet than a lot of other oils. Here are a few tips for you to buy the right bottle of olive oil:
Extra virgin olive oil is the best when fresh – Extra virgin means that it has been produced without any chemicals or processing. It is essentially the juice of the fruit called olive. Hence, it stands to reason that the fresher it is, the better it will taste. Extra virgin olive oil is good for use in salads, dressings, and for cooking at home. If you can, always try to buy extra virgin. All other kinds of olive oil have been through processing, even plain ol’ olive oil.
Don’t be taken in by marketing terms – If buying extra virgin, some manufacturers use terms such as ‘cold-pressed’, ‘first-press’, and ‘cold-extracted’. These are just marketing gimmicks, as extra virgin means that it is cold pressed, and only the first press is possible for this.
No light, and no heat – This is something that most olive oil connoisseurs are well-aware of. Don’t buy olive oil packaged in plastic bottles, or light-coloured glass bottles. Always store them in a cool, dark environment. Olive oil in dark bottles and opaque tins help keep most of the flavour.
Flavour – Usually, if it’s bitter and pungent, it is of good quality. Experts say that this is because it indicates a higher levels of antioxidants in it.
Colour – Colour is not an indicator of how good or how fresh the oil is. A lot of people think that the greener oils are better, but this is not true. Concentrate instead on the flavour and aroma of the oil.
Labels – If your olive oil bottle says ‘packaged in Spain’, it only means that it was packaged in Spain, not that the olives are from the country. If you want to know where the olives were grown, look for the estate. It is also very important to check the best before date.
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