Did you know that there are two types of olive oil, and each type has its own specific purpose?
One is the regular olive oil, while the other is the extra-virgin olive oil. No, I didn’t know either. Or, at least I knew the basic difference but until last night only did I realise that there is a stark difference between the two. Whoops.
A couple of days ago, I asked my husband to help me buy some olive oil for cooking. I didn’t specify which version so he just bought the next best thing that he was familiar with — the extra-virgin olive oil. I’m not sure if he thought extra-virgin olive oil would be better, though I won’t fault him for that because I myself had thought the same too.
There is actually a difference which I normally use to tell the two varieties apart but this time, because I wasn’t at the supermarket with him, I couldn’t tell which were the ones he was looking at. Well, this is what the extra-virgin olive oil is all about:
- Retains more true olive taste than regular olive oil
- Noticeably darker hue compared to regular olive oil
- Highest-quality olive oil you can find in supermarkets
- Has a lower level of oleic acid than other olive oil varieties
- Contains more natural vitamins and minerals found in olives
- Has a lower smoke point, which means it burns at a lower temperature
- A type of unrefined olive oil; pure, untreated, and unaltered by temperature
- Results in a golden-green colour with a distinct flavour and a light peppery finish
For the virgin olive oil, it is also made using a similar process as the extra-virgin olive oil, and is also an example of an unrefined oil:
- Has a slightly higher level of oleic acid
- Has a slightly less intense flavour than the extra-virgin olive oil
- Rarely found in supermarkets; your usual choice will be extra-virgin, regular, or light
- Maintains the purity and taste of the olive, though not as crisp and sharp as the extra-virgin olive oil
I usually buy the regular olive oil for cooking but never the extra-virgin olive oil; unless I plan to host a dinner party which includes Greek salads, bread dips, and cheeseboards where the expensive and high-quality olive oils can help the flavour of the food to shine through. Otherwise, it’ll just be the regular, less expensive olive oil that I’ll use for cooking.
Source: The Kitchn.