Well, no need to worry -- I’m here for you!
Give this blog post a read as I talk about refined and unrefined oils, smoke point and the best oils for cooking with different temperatures to give you some background info.
How to Choose a High Quality Olive Oil:
Extra virgin olive oil vs. refined olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is a staple in my house (my fave is Origin 846)-- it’s unique flavour and aroma along with its versatility make it a go-to oil for medium to no heat cooking. Not to mention it’s high in vitamin E and antioxidants, contains anti-inflammatory properties, and can prevent and reduce the risk of diseases associated with the heart and blood vessels.
However, many of these health benefits are only linked to extra virgin olive oil - not refined olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is supposed to be unrefined, cold-pressed olive oil.
"Pure" and "light" olive oils have been refined and therefore have a more neutral flavour, longer shelf life and a higher smoke point. Due to the refining process, they no longer have the antioxidants and vitamins they once contained but they still have the "good" (monounsaturated) fat that is known for lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and raising HDL (good) cholesterol. Refined olive oils are still a good option for medium to high heat cooking.
Is the place of origin important?
What method of extraction?
Cold pressing olive oil ensures that the flavours and aromas are protected and preserved so that they can be enjoyed when cooking and eating.
Does the colour matter?
That's it from me!
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- McGee, H. (2004). On Food and Cooking.