Perhaps you've become aware of the vast terminology used to describe olive oil these days: extra-virgin, pure, unrefined, all natural. The terms become marketing catch phrases for many of us — all sounding good and positive. But what do they really mean and how do they alter the price of the olive oil you buy?
The full answer to these questions would be material for a book-length exploration, but more and more is being written about how to distinguish good olive oil from mediocre olive oil at the store, and I think it's worth taking a moment to explore.
Zester Daily recently wrote a post on a handful of actions you can take to make sure you're buying the best olive oil. A few took me by surprise and are definitely things I don't think about when browsing through the grocery store. They note, "There is much work to be done to better communicate what’s in the bottle instead of focusing on devising language that masks unscrupulous practices. So how do you read an olive oil label to make sure it’s the best extra virgin you can afford?"
The point that struck me the most was the suggestion to turn the bottle over and look at where the olive oil is coming from. While it may sound exotic that it's hailing from a small farm town in the Italian countryside, it's also true that the farther the product had to travel, the more likely it could be rancid. Sure, there are lots of incredible Italian and Mediterranean olive oils out there, but if we want to diminish the chance of spoilage and support our domestic economy, does it make more sense to keep the purchase a little closer to home?
For more excellent tips on what you can do to make sure you're buying the best olive oil you can afford, see the link below.
What's your own favorite brand of olive oil?
(Image: Gregory Han)