Extra virgin olive oil is made from the oil extracted from fresh olives. Extra virgin is considered the highest quality of olive oil, it is the only cooking oil that is made without the use of chemicals and industrial refining. Each type of olive has an individual taste, this allows the producers to control the taste of the final product by combining different types and create an individual flavour.
Virgin means it hasn’t undergone a refining process and considered the ‘best’ type of olive oil. Refined means the residues have been filtered out, this changes the colour and the flavour and can no longer be called virgin olive oil and is referred to simply as olive oil.
Extra virgin olive oil can be used both for cooking, salad dressings and dips.
When cooking remember extra virgin olive oil contains a little water so when it is heated often steam will rise out of the pan before the smoking point is reached (which is about 207°C/405°F).
Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil is considered the highest grade of olive oil. For it to have the title of cold pressed means there has not been any heat applied to the oil during the manufacturing process.
Extra virgin olive oil nutrition benefits
Despite its high-calorie content (120 calories in 1 Tbsp), extra virgin olive oil is considered one of the worlds most healthy fats. It is considered a ‘superfood’ by numerous healthcare experts. This is largely to do with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Olive oil contains an antioxidant called hydroxytyrosol, this is known to be one of the worlds most potent anti-inflammatory.
Olive oil contains lots of monounsaturated fats which may help reduce cholesterol in the blood, blood clotting and blood pressure. It also contains vitamin E and vitamin K.