Olive oil is obtained from the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea L.), which trees are classified primarily into two groups: those producing extra virgin olive oil and those yielding virgin olive oils. Virgin olive oils are obtained primarily by mechanical or physical means, while cold pressing or centrifugation is sometimes used to extract quantities of olives unsuitable for consumption. The olive oil market is the largest component of the world’s vegetable oil industry. Virgin olive oils (VOO) are produced either with mechanical or physical methods and cold-pressed or extracted using chemical solvents. The basic phenolic compounds found in virgin olive oils are tyrosol, hydroxytyrosol, oleuropein aglycones, lignans, and other phenolics.
Olive Oil Flavor:
The olive oil flavor can be appreciated as a mixture of aroma, taste, and mouthfeel from a chemical point of view. Aromas arise from the formation of volatile compounds by thermal degradation during frying or heating processes whereas mouth feel is determined by the release of specific compounds onto the oral cavity at the moment of tasting the food. In fact, physicochemical interactions occur between Olive oil and molecules from surrounding matrices including saliva and even air during aeration processes which modify their final perception and intensity in the oral cavity.
Types of Olive Oil:
1. Extra virgin olive oil:
Extra virgin olive oil is typically labeled as such because the olives used to make the oil were pressed at their ripest and purest, without any re-pressing or chemical extraction. It means that there are no refined or deodorized oils in the bottle, and it has an intense flavor profile.
Extra-virgin olive oil is a very delicate product with many health benefits. It can be used for cooking and for dipping, but it also makes a great salad dressing or marinade. There are several ways to choose quality extra-virgin olive oil, but the most obvious is freshness.
Around 12 months after harvest, olive oil becomes dull and rancid, and by 18 months, it has almost likely gone bad. When shopping for extra-virgin olive oil, you should look for one with a harvest date printed on it (instead of just an expiration date). Expiration dates are sometimes deceiving since they are calculated from the date of bottling, which means the oil could have rested for a long period before being bottled. Instead, search for products that have been kept at a cool temperature and have been harvested on time. “The best way to store extra-virgin olive oil is to keep it in your home’s refrigerator”.
2. Virgin Olive Oil:
Virgin Olive Oil, made from the first pressing of the olives, is the highest quality olive oil and has a slightly fruity flavor and peppery undertone. Virgin olive oil is a high-quality oil and contains about 1.5 percent free acidity. It is best for frying and sautéing, has a mild taste, and is usually less expensive than extra virgin olive oil.
3. Refined Olive Oil:
Refined Olive Oil is the next best choice after virgin olive oil and will have a lighter flavor.
4. Extra Light Olive Oil:
Extra Light Olive Oil is best for baking purposes or for any use where a high-flavor oil will be causing disruption. This product does not offer any significant health benefits so it’s best to avoid it altogether if you are looking for something with added health value.
5. Olive pomace oil:
The process of making olive pomace oil is similar to that of extra virgin olive oil. The main difference is that while extra virgin olive oil comes from freshly squeezed olives, olive pomace is the byproduct left over once they are pressed into commercial-grade olive oil. It contains less fatty acids than extra virgin olive oil and has a stronger flavor, giving it a less desirable taste.
Benefits of Olive Oil:
Olive oil is a versatile ingredient. It can add flavor and complexity to any dish.
- It also helps protect your heart
- It helps to reduce blood pressure
- It protects against certain types of cancer.
- It acts as an antioxidant.
- It also shows an anti-bacterial effect.
- It acts as a natural moisturizer that’s why it is useful for skin health.
Olive oil varies greatly in quality depending on the care taken in its production. Pure olive oils are pressed from olives — not chemically extracted — the result is a smooth-tasting oil that makes dishes shine with rich flavor and aroma.