Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Pomace Oil, and More: Know Which Kind of Olive Oil to Use
Olive oil is more than just the oil for salad dressing. Here's what you should know.
Groceries and specialty shops now carry more than just plain olive oil on the shelves now. With more types of olive oils available, you may wonder how one is different from the other and how best to use it.
From EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) to the fancy infused oils out there in dark bottles, here is all you need to know about the olive oils in your neighborhood supermarket.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
What It Is and How Tastes: The fruitiest and freshest in flavor of all the olive oils, extra virgin olive oil (also known to be shortened to EVOO) is usually the first oil extraction from the olives. It's usually slow-pressed to produce the most flavorful and aromatic of the olive oils. A great example is Bertolli Black Edition Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a deeply grassy olive oil with hints of nuts, herbs, and pepper.
How To Use It: For cooking, it's best for a light sauté since its flavor may change during the cooking process, diminishing its fruity and fresh flavor. It's considered a finishing oil, so lightly drizzle onto dishes to add extra flavor and is also commonly used as the base of many salad dressings. You can also use EVOO for dipping crusty bread.
It's not the best for long cooking processes since heat expedites the deterioration of the flavors and aromas this oil gives your dish.
What It Is and How Tastes: Olive oil is usually the second extraction from the olive pulp after the extra virgin has been collected, This is also collected using the slow press or some other mechanical means of extraction. This olive oil is the most common among the olive oils and it gives a strong olive flavor to any dish where this is used and added. This is a great substitute for any dish where extra virgin olive oil is needed but isn't available.
How To Use It: It's great for cooking because of its relatively high smoke point. It's a particularly great alternative to the more neutral oils, especially if you want to add its olive taste to your dish, and is the best oil to use when making any dish from Europe to give it a more authentic taste.
Olive Pomace Oil
What It Is and How Tastes: Pomace is the oil that has been chemically, not mechanically, extracted from the olive pulp after both the extra virgin and olive oils have been pressed from the fruits. This oil, since it has been mixed with chemicals, is then refined to become food grade and thus, consumable. Because of this process, this oil is considered to be less flavorful, less aromatic, and thus, is less expensive than its counterparts.
How To Use It: Just like olive oil, it makes a great cooking oil because of its high smoke point. But because it has less flavor than olive oil, it is the preferred olive oil in cooking because it won't add a strong olive flavor to dishes that don't require it or will not go well with it.
Flavored Olive Oils
What It Is and How Tastes: Flavored olive oils are usually olive oils infused with herbs, spices, and other flavorings. You'll taste the olive oil as well as hints of the infusion. This is where truffle olive oils, herb-infused, and even fruit-infused oils come in. However, the types of olive oil used in these flavored oils can differ from brand to brand, so best to read the label to determine which type of olive oil, whether extra virgin or not, is used.
How To Use It: Flavored olive oils are best used as finishing oils or salad dressing bases or stirred into the dish at the end of cooking as the infused flavors may deteriorate or change during the cooking process.
Now that you're more familiar with the different types of olive oils in your supermarket and specialty stores, feel free to take a risk on one that you think will make a great salad dressing base or impress your family with a mashed potato dish infused with one of the aromatic oils.