Lots of people are incorporating olive oil into their diets because of the health benefits associated with it.
High in monounsaturated fat, it’s believed to contribute to lowering levels of “bad cholesterol.” Or, to put it another way, it’s one of the few fats still considered good for you.
There are several different styles of olive oil on the market, and this primer is intended to help you sort through them…
* Extra Virgin — The highest grade of olive oil, it’s made by mechanical means without high heat or chemicals. It can be made from hundreds of varieties of olives, and has a free acidity of not more than .8 grams per 100 grams.
* Virgin — Its free acidity is not more than 2 grams per 100 grams.
* “Pure” or “Plain” — Typically a blend of refined and virgin olive oil. “Refined” means the oil had defects removed with the use of filters.
* First Cold Press — An oil produced from the first pressing of olives with a traditional hydraulic press at a temperature lower than 80.6 degrees. The less heat and the quicker the extraction, the better the oil.
* Unfiltered — Many serious tasters prefer this type of oil because it has less oxidation and, thus, more pure flavor.
* Light or Extra Light — Marketing terms with no real meaning, such as “Reserve” in winespeak.