Extra Virgin Olive Oil is an ingredient we can’t live without at our house.  This liquid gold or California Olive Oil is used on just about everything.  From cooking to drizzling on a finished dish, to dipping…we LOVE it! Here in California, there are hundreds of different olive oils.

To help choose just the right one, we’re going to explain an olive oil label.

California Olive Oil Council Certification label:  This verifies that the oil has passed the chemical and sensory standards that qualify it as extra-virgin, the highest grade.

Style or varietal: Some olive oil makers give information about the flavors to guide your choice.

Harvest Date: This is more usful than the “sell by date.  Olive oil is freshest and more flavorful within a year of its harvest.

Awards seals:  Olive oil competitions, such as the L.A. International, Good Foods Awards, and New York International.

 

Mild or Bold?  A good olive oil will balance fruity, pungent, and bitter flavors, but intensity varies depending on olive maturity, variety, where the olives are grown, and miller style (equipment used to make the oil).  Later harvest olive oils will taste more buttery.  Early harvest olive oils will taste greener and more bitter, such as a Tuscan-style olive oil.

Olive oils worst enemies:  Air, heat, and light degrade oil over time.  Your best bet is to purchase oil in a dark bottle in a quantity you will use up in a few months.  Keep it in a cool, dark cupboard.