23 Aug

What to look for in olive oil

olives oils bottlesOlive oil is different from other cooking oils in many ways. The most important differences to consumers and cooks are its heart-healthy properties and its taste. Unlike vegetable oils, it has one.

It can be evaluated like wine, especially extra-virgin olive oil that comes from the first pressing of olives grown in one grove or region. In these oils, terroir, the French term describing how weather, land and water affect crops grown in a specific place, becomes obvious.

These properties are especially prominent in olive oil that costs $25 or more a bottle. They are less noticeable in generic, grocery store olive oils, and that’s because the olives come from a variety of growers and possibly more than one country.

Some consumers buy expensive estate olive oils for finishing touches such as drizzling on tomatoes and less-expensive, generic varieties for cooking.

Olive oil is really a fruit juice that should be consumed within two years of pressing and within 90 days of opening. Don’t buy more than you can use in about three months. If it is cloudy, pass it by or throw it away. It is past its prime and could be rancid. Read the label. Italica oil ($5.99 for 17 ounces) states on its label that the olives are from the hills surrounding the city of Italica in southern Spain. (Even though the hurried shopper might assume Italica is from Italy.) *

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