Picking the right olive oil isn't easy, especially if you are finding it in a supermarket with multiple brands and several choices. However, let us be very clear at the beginning that organic extra virgin olive oil is the safest to consume and top priority in the list of different types. But what makes it the best among the rest?
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The following factors are the ones that impact the taste and purity level:
- Variety of olive used
- Location and soil conditions where the fruits were grown
- Environmental factors and weather during the growing season
- Fruit ripeness
- Timing of the harvest
- Harvesting method
- Length of time between the harvest and pressing
- Pressing technique
- Packaging and storage methods
Types of olive oil and their respective qualities:
a) Extra virgin olive oil
It is like fine wines! No two olive groves will produce an extra virgin variety that tastes like. To be certified for the "extra virgin" label, olive oil should satisfy four criteria: it must be produced by mechanical extraction methods (no chemicals or hot water applied), come only from first cold-pressing, have an oleic acidity level of less than one percent, and must have a perfect taste.
b) Virgin olive oil
This also comes from the first pressing and is produced without refining. In a technical sense, virgin olive oil may have an acidity level of up to 3.3% which makes it less effective than the extra virgin variation. Its flavor intensity can vary and its taste is less mild than extra virgin variety.