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LaRiservaBio organic farm, founded by owners, Anna Maria De Rossi and her husband, an expert in agronomy, has been producing award winning olive oil for decades.

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HomeHealthy EatingHow to choose the best olive Oil: A buyer’s guide

How to choose the best olive Oil: A buyer’s guide

Extra virgin olive oil is one of the basic ingredients of the Mediterranean diet, thanks to its excellent nutritional properties it is a true elixir of long life and a panacea for the body.

 Personally, we prefer our own Organic Olive Oil, but You may be wondering how to go about choosing the right one; in this article we explain what to consider and what to pay attention to when choosing what to buy.

Olive oil: what is there to know?

You have certainly noticed that the choice of vegetable oils on the market is very wide, but not all oils are the same, both for their organoleptic properties and for the benefits they have on our body.

So how to choose what is good for us to buy among the variety we have in front of us?

The first thing to do is to know what are the main differences between the different types of olive oil:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil (also known by the acronym EVO): comes from the first pressing of the olives, contains no more than 0.8% acidity and is considered to have a superior taste. EVO oil is so called because it has not undergone any refining process and is, without a doubt, the healthiest, the best of the range of olive oils.
  • Virgin olive oil: this oil too has not undergone any refinement, however, but compared to EVO oil, it contains more acids (0.8-2%), consequently it retains only some of its natural aromas and flavors.
  • Olive oil: The most common type is regular olive oil:  you can find plenty of it on supermarket shelves. It is usually a mixed oil, consisting of virgin olive oil mixed with refined olive oil of lower quality and made using chemical processes. It may be suitable for cooking, but lends itself little to raw condiments as it has lost most of the organoleptic and healthy properties typical of EVO.
  • Pomace oil: this is an oil that is produced by using chemical solvents and is considered a waste product of higher grade oil production . It is a low quality and very cheap product. We do not recommend it in any way for food consumption.

Practical tips for choosing the best olive oil.

  1. Choose olive oil packaged in dark bottles: to preserve the olive oil in the optimal way, we must preserve it from exposure to light, which accelerates oxidative degradation reactions, thus causing the oil to turn rancid. A valid packaging alternative is tin: it is, in fact, made of a single metal and without welding. The important thing is to buy the oil in containers sized for their real use: don’t buy oversized portions of oil risking to end up with rancid oil.
  2. Avoid low cost supermarket oil: do not be confused by the low cost supermarket offers, always read the label, and, if possible,  taste the oil first. Our advice is to contact the producers directly, visit the olive farms and ask to taste the products.
  3. Reading labels: In the food sector, knowing how to read labels is a guarantee for the purchase of a quality product. Beware of opaque labels, which have small print and are unclear about the origin of the products. The labels must clearly indicate the brand, production process, place of production and characteristics of the product. The labeling of food products must comply with 3 fundamental characteristics: be clear, legible and indelible. As for extra virgin olive oil, for example, they must report the product name, sales name, nominal volume and expiry date by which to consume it.
  4. Choosing organic olive oil: a certification that states the organic production of the olive oil  is always a guarantee, not so much on the quality of the product, but on the fact that it is healthy. Buying organic extra virgin olive oil means knowing that it is the result of a more natural agriculture, in which no chemicals have been used. Organic oil does not contain traces of pesticides and potentially harmful substances. So choose extra virgin olive oil preferably from small and organic farms (like ours!).
  5. Cold-pressed olive oil: Cold pressing allows the nutritional and physical characteristics of extra virgin olive oil to be kept unaltered, preserving its properties and vitamins and enhancing the benefits that derive once consumed. Cold pressing refers to the temperature of the pressed olive paste, which must not exceed 27 ° degrees in the malaxing phase (remixing). The production of cold pressed olive oil happens in multiple phases: first the olives are washed carefully (phase 1), to be afterwards crushed (phase 2) and afterwards kneaded (phase 3) to create a paste that can be easily centrifuged (phase 4) to obtain the oil. The crushing can take place according to different techniques: the first (the traditional one) involves the rotation of large stone wheels (granite) on the olives, which will be subsequently pressed; the second instead involves the use of mechanical crushers made out of inox steel and decanters through a method that could be defined as “continuous” because it does not have pauses. In the latter case, it is more correct to speak of “cold extraction”. It is the most used method because it allows to improve the hygiene standards of the products and to optimally meet the needs of consumers and the market. The first cold pressing allows you to extract the content present in the fruits while preserving the amount of minerals, vitamins and substances rich in antioxidant properties for the body. Afterwards the kneading starts: during this process the crushed olives are carefully remixed to facilitate the building of large drops for the subsequent centrifugation of the past. The centrifugation takes place in a machine called “Decanter” circulating the paste in a cylinder to separate the liquid from the previously treated flesh of the olives.

So what is it that makes the first cold pressing or cold extraction such an important method?

It is a choice capable of preserving the essence of a fruit and allows the production of quality food through production phases that aim to enhance the virtues of extra virgin olive oil.

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