What is EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)?
Olive oil is actually a fruit juice, made from pressing or mashing olives, in a manner similar to how wine is made from crushed grapes.
According to the International Olive Oil Council, extra virgin olive oil – or EVOO – is the highest quality of four types of oils:
- Pure: A blend of refined and virgin production oil.
- Light: A blend of pumice olive oil extracted from the fruit using heat and chemicals.
- Virgin: No chemicals used when extracting the oil from the fruit.
- Extra Virgin: Virgin Oil that has gone through several tests that confirm its taste and to verify that it is free of chemicals and defect.
To be classified as high quality EVOO, the product must be made mechanically – on an olive press – without the use of chemicals or excessive heat (cold pressed). And it must also meet strict chemical analysis and organoleptic standards. (Organoleptic refers to quality of taste, colour, odour and feel.)
It’s all About the Taste
Products with the EVOO designation should have superior flavour and aroma. That’s what makes them so delicious when used in salad dressings, for bread dipping, pasta sauces or as a marinade for meat or seafood.
Health Benefits of EVOO
Extra virgin olive oil has been recognized for its health benefits for centuries! It is an excellent source of Omega-3 and -6 Fatty Acids and phytosterols, as well as Vitamins K and E.
According to David L. Katz, MD, director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, olive oil is a mixture of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fatty acids. What makes olive oil so good for you is its high percentage of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that helps protect the heart and may even lower cancer risk. The amount of oleic acid varies from 55 percent to 85 percent of the total fat content, depending on the type of olives and the site and soil in which they were grown. But oleic acid isn’t the only reason to like olive oil. It also contains heart-healthy flavonoid antioxidants and vitamin E. Extra-virgin olive oils—made from the first pressing of the best olives—contain the highest levels of these beneficial substances.
Olive oil is believed to have a protective effect against a variety of cancers, including breast, prostate, endometrium and digestive tract.