Tips to Identify a High-Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Aren't all olive oils the same? What should I look for before purchasing?
What if you cannot taste or smell an EVOO before purchasing?
At most food stores, we face row upon row of olive oils, endless bottle displays, and no accurate compass to guide us in selecting a great EVOO. To help you navigate this vast world of olive oil, we've gathered several professional-level tips to help you identify an excellent EVOO.
1. Make sure you look for Extra Virgin only.
This designation will often be front and center on any quality EVOO label. "Extra virgin" signifies that this specific grade of olive oil has not been refined (treated with heat or chemicals during the extraction process) and uses only mechanical means to crush and extract the olive oil. This grade of olive oil is also "free of defects" per the extra virgin standard.
What are some other categories of Olive Oil seen at stores?
Refining neutralizes or "strips" foul odors and aromas at high heat from low-quality defective olive oil and "stretches" the oil using hexane and benzene. We often see these products labeled as "Light", "Olive Oil" and "Pomace Olive Oil". “Pure” and “light” olive oils contain 10% extra virgin oil. These oils are inexpensive for a good reason - these are products made at large refineries - and you will not find a 100% "Extra Virgin" designation on any of these labels.
If finding quality is your goal, look to bottles labeled as Extra Virgin Olive Oil only and then search for its Harvest Date.
2. Identifying the most recent harvest date.
3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil should be in dark glass bottles.
Extra virgin olive oil is susceptible to light. To protect the EVOO, producers of high-quality extra virgin olive oils use darkly tinted glass bottles to reduce the risk of oxidation and degradation. Plastic bottles should also be avoided since the chemicals used to make the plastic will eventually seep into the oil.
4. Look for Country of Origin and Olive Varietal.
An extra virgin olive oil's flavor and aromas are often tied to the olive varietal used to make a great EVOO. The provenance of a great extra virgin olive oil - similar to wine grape varieties and vintage tasting notes - gives us an idea about an oil's unique style. Each olive varietal imparts unique attributes, such as intensity to the oil. Producers listing these details want their customers to know that their EVOOs were made with care and will result in a spectacular tasting product.
5. Should I shop by price?
“You get what you pay for” carries over to high-quality EVOO. Like a good wine, you can expect to pay at least $20 for a bottle of great, fresh EVOO. Similar to wine, there is a big difference between “bulk wine” and single estate, mono-varietal, artisan quality wine. Late harvest, old Extra Virgin Olive oil is usually cheaper. It will not have as many nutritional benefits, high aromas, and bright flavors as an early harvest, fresh single estate EVOO that we offer at Seasons.
Why Do Our Customers Love Seasons EVOO?
At Seasons, we do not sell standard grade bulk oil; we are Extra Virgin Olive Oil experts obsessed with the highest quality green olive fruit and milling processes.
We guarantee our EVOO quality by using the best green olive fruit and milling equipment that helps us produce our highly-awarded olive oils. We constantly monitor many internal quality standards, which is the primary difference between our stores and a typical big-box retailer buying bulk olive oil at the lowest possible price. We employ agronomists and master millers to manage our top-tier quality and constantly look for ways to improve the entire process. Our mill and mill partners do not wait for the olive fruit to over-ripen to maximize oil yields and lower our costs at the expense of quality.
We crush green olive fruit with grower partners to maximize the extra virgin olive oil's polyphenols, aroma, and
Did you know our mill in Spain is one of the most awarded in the world for quality?