When it comes to healthy living and cooking, you may have heard of extra virgin olive oil coming up in recipes here and there. It can be used for salad dressings, drizzled on plates of pasta, and incorporated in almost any kind of cooking. However, not many people are aware that there are other types of olive oil besides the extra virgin variant!
In fact, when shopping at your local grocery store, there is a good chance that many of the olive oils lining the shelves are not extra virgin. Due to extra virgin olive oil not being diluted by additional ingredients, it is often more expensive but allows for the oil to be enjoyed in its purest and most raw form.
Determining the Right Olive Oil for the Job
There are different types of olive oil that will match each kitchen need. You can use these factors to help you decide which type of olive oil will work best for the dish you are preparing for your family.
1. Flavor Profile
Each type of olive oil has a slightly different flavor. Olive oils with more processing or additives tend to have a less distinctive flavor with additional trade-offs of fewer of the healthy fats and antioxidants. In extra virgin olive oil, the health benefits are preserved but minimizing the amount of processing, meaning you will get a rich, full flavor profile that will work best for garnishing and finishing.
2. Smoking Point
Despite myths about olive oil’s smoking point, when it comes to frying and sauteing, olive oil is not only a good choice due to its high smoke point, but is actually the healthiest option.
While olive oil makes for a fine cooking oil, you may want to save extra virgin olive oil for dishes that you really want to benefit from its distinct flavor while using non-virgin oil as more of a substitute for other cooking oils to provide a non-stick cooking surface.
The darker and more flavorful extra virgin olive oils usually cost more than the lighter ones. However, most often, any type of olive oil will carry a much bigger price tag than other cooking oils.
While spending more does automatically guarantee higher-quality among olive oils, extra virgin olive oil is not diluted and the concentration of pure olive oil will mean a higher price point over non-virgin olive oil.
How Extra Virgin Olive Oil Can Improve Your Dishes
Extra virgin olive oil will work best for incorporating flavor when frying. Frying the oil will add an extra nutty layer of flavor to the dish and incorporate healthy fat.
Dishes right out of the oven or out of the pan can also benefit from the rich flavor of extra virgin olive oil drizzled over the top. For some ideas, consider using the oil on pizza and pasta, over dishes with chicken, or as a substitute for butter.
2. Salad Dressings
Extra virgin olive oil is the best option when it comes to salad dressings. It has a light, peppery taste, which can add depth and flavor to the dressing you are making.
Using olive oil as a dressing offers a healthier alternative to thicker cream-based dressings by not including any added sugar or sodium.
Extra virgin olive oil makes for a fantastic dip that is thick. Pair with your favorite balsamic vinegar with some bread, or enjoy it on its own with cheese and crackers, or any other snack you enjoy.
Cooking with olive oil will be a healthier option than using regular vegetable oil and extra virgin olive oil lets you enjoy all of its distinct flavors and health benefits. It is very versatile and has a wonderful taste that can level-up any type of dish. Plus, if you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle and prepare more health-conscious meals, having a steady supply of olive oil in your cupboard is a must.
Each type of olive oil has a different taste and consistency. Each can be used for a variety of recipes—which is why it is good to stock up on each kind of olive oil variant to make sure that you have what you need, no matter the recipe.
Whether you are looking to buy your first bottles of olive oil, or if you are looking to stock up on your kitchen’s supply, you can always find high-quality extra virgin olive oil at The Olive Bar! Let us help you get the best for your kitchen—visit our online shop today!