Extra virgin olive oil is the highest grade for olive oil–the best you can buy, it is produced by a simple pressing of the olives, and may be called “extra” if it has less than 1% free oleic acid, and if it exhibits superior taste, color and aroma. Thus, the “extra” in extra virgin olive oil means “premium,” or simply, “the best.”
Ordinary “olive oil” is actually a blended oil product. Olive oil producers start with low quality virgin olive oils. For these oils to be fit for consumption, they must be refined using mechanical, thermal and/or chemical processes. The resulting “refined olive oil” is largely colorless and tasteless.
Olive oil blends like canola oil are sometimes used as a more economical substitute for olive oil (but not as a substitute for extra virgin olive oil). Because the production of good olive oil is labor intensive–the olives must essentially be picked by hand–the resulting product is more expensive than other vegetable oils.
Posted in: Facts