Sunday, October 9, 2011
The differences between regular olive oil, virgin and extra-virgin
Simply put, olive oil is made by crushing olives to make a paste that’s then put under a press. If the oil that comes out has a low acidity and a good taste and smell, it’s labeled extra-virgin or virgin. (Virgin is slightly lower quality than extra-virgin.) These types are ideal to use for bread dunking, drizzling on veggies and other foods, and making salad dressings, since their delicate flavor and aroma will be lost when heated (some chefs still prefer to use extra-virgin for cooking). The deeper the color, the more intense the olive flavor.
If the oil is highly acidic or not great quality, it’s refined and mixed with virgin or extra-virgin oil to make “regular” olive oil; this all-purpose oil is good for cooking.
The heart-health benefits of all types of olive oil are pretty much the same, although the virgin and extra-virgin ones have extra antioxidants.