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Types of olive oil | Features and differences

Types of olive oil | Features and differences

While it is true that extra virgin olive oil is one of the most valued ingredients in the Mediterranean diet, there are many other types of olive oil. Next, we show you the characteristics and differences of each one:


1. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

It is the most valued oil par excellence. It is obtained from selected olives of the best quality, through a mechanical process and cold pressing. In this way, all its natural components are maintained, thus being the purest oil, with the highest quality and the most beneficial for health.

It has a degree of acidity of less than 0.8º, and is characterized by being an olive juice with a fresh and fruity flavor and aroma. It is rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fatty acids, which help reduce bad cholesterol in the blood. This type of oil is usually used raw, combining cold dishes or salads.


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2. Virgin olive oil

It is one of the most common types of olive oil. It is extracted from the second pressing of lower quality olives. And since its extraction process is less rigorous, this oil is of lower quality and loses a certain flavor. Its flavor and aroma is less intense than the extra virgin. However, it is still a healthy oil that is used

Its degree of acidity is higher, being able to reach 2%, which makes it more prone to oxidation and rancidity. However, all its nutrients are maintained, thus maintaining its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power. And despite having a less intense flavor and aroma than extra virgin, this oil is still healthy, especially used for cooking over medium and low heat.


3. Olive oil

It is achieved by subjecting the oil to a refining process, from which a tasteless and odorless liquid is obtained, which is later mixed with EVOO. Depending on how much EVOO is used, it will be a more intense oil (lots of EVOO) or softer (little amount of EVOO).

Its result is an oil suitable for consumption, but with fewer properties than virgin or extra virgin olive oil. This oil is usually used for marinades, sauteed or scrambled.


4. Refined olive oil

It is a processed oil that is obtained through a refining process that involves the use of chemical products and high temperatures to correct its defects. It is often used in the food industry under the name “pure”, “light” or “dry”, so you will rarely see the name “refined” on the label.

Their degree of acidity is higher, which is why they are subjected to a refining process to correct their high acidity. And it is during this process where the oil loses its characteristic color, as well as its smell and flavor, and part of its nutritional value.


5. "Lampante" olive oil

It is a low-quality virgin olive oil that does not meet the flavor and aroma standards for direct consumption. Currently it is usually used as a raw material for the production of refined olive oil, since its low quality makes it unsuitable for direct consumption. However, in earlier times, this oil was used to light lamps (hence its name).

This type of oil has a high acidity that can reach 3.3%, causing it to have defects in its flavor and aroma, and its flavor may be rancid or vinegary.


6. Monovarietal oil

Unlike the rest of the oils that come from a mixture of olives, monovarietal oil is made from a single variety. Therefore, its flavor and aroma is unique, and its characteristics may vary depending on the type of olive used to make it.

This type of oil is usually used especially in haute cuisine dishes, being valued by many experts for its exceptional flavor due to the unique characteristics of each variety of olive.




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