What is Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and how is it different from Olive Oil?

Olive oil is a staple ingredient that most of us use when cooking our favorite dishes or for salad dressings. However, not all olive oils are created equal. Wondering how extra-virgin olive oil is any different from regular olive oil? In this post, we will explore what extra-virgin olive oil is, its health benefits, and how it differs from regular olive oil.


What is extra-virgin olive oil?
Extra-virgin olive oil is the purest form of olive oil and is made from pure, cold-pressed olives. The term “extra-virgin” refers to the extraction process and not the quality of the oil. Extra-virgin olive oil is obtained through the process of mechanical pressing without the use of chemicals or heat and is extracted from the first pressing of the olives. This process preserves the oil's rich, natural flavor and aroma, as well as its host of nutritional benefits.

What makes extra-virgin olive oil so beneficial?
Extra-virgin olive oil is considered one of the healthiest oils as it is rich in antioxidants, polyphenols, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. It has been proven to lower the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and improve cholesterol levels. Additionally, extra-virgin olive oil is rich in vitamins E and K, which are essential for maintaining healthy skin and hair.

How is regular olive oil different from extra-virgin olive oil?
Regular olive oil is typically a blend of refined olive oil and a small amount of extra-virgin olive oil. It is more processed and undergoes a refining process which involves filtering and heat treatment which causes it to lose some of its natural antioxidants, flavor, and nutrients.

In contrast, extra-virgin olive oil is pure and unrefined, which means it contains higher amounts of natural vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It also has a strong, fruity flavor and a distinctive, often robust or lightly peppery aroma that is characteristic and adored by many people.

As a half-Italian household, olive oil is to us a wonderful gift of nature that is in every part of our cooking and baking. We choose extra-virgin olive oil whenever we can but note that because of its purity, it has a lower smoke point. To preserve its bioactive benefits, we bake our cookies low and slow.

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