Olive oil: the golden rules for choosing the best according to UFC-Que Choisir

Olive oil is the 4th most consumed oil, after that with palm, rapeseed and sunflower. She appreciated for its rich taste and its nutritional qualities. Its production in France represents only 1% of the world market. However, she is considered a premium product. So how to choose among the olive oils currently on sale? Should we opt for an extra-virgin, virgin, organic, fruity green, fruity black or fruity ripe oil? Here is an informed guide to help you make the right choice.

How to recognize a good quality olive oil?

The quality of an olive oil depends on the quality of the olives used and how they were harvested. Cold pressing carried out just after harvest provides high quality oil.

On the other hand, the mention “first cold pressing” on an extra-virgin oil does not help much. Not only is this indication no longer authorized, but it is already a prerequisite for an extra-virgin olive oil.

To be sure of your choice, make sure where your olive oil comes from. This criterion is also mandatory for oils marketed in the European Union. This detail should allow you to know the origin of the olives as well as the place of production of this oil.

But it happens that the latter, sold on the shelves, are in fact a mixture of oils of different origins. You will recognize them by names such as “blend of olive oils originating in the EU and not originating in the EU” or “European Union olive oils”.

In any case, choose this product with a controlled designation of origin (AOC) or protected designation of origin (PDO), is a safe bet. This mark precisely guarantees that it is a local product. For now, France has 8:

  • PDO olive oil from Aix-en-Provence
  • PDO olive oil from the Baux-de-Provence valley
  • PDO olive oil from Corsica
  • AOP olive oil from Haute-Provence
  • PDO olive oil from Nice
  • PDO olive oil from Nîmes
  • PDO olive oil from Nyons
  • PDO olive oil from Provence

Which oil for which use?

The Que Choisir website claims that this product is “the oil richest in antioxidants and more particularly in polyphenols, tocopherols and vitamin E”. It comes in many forms. This is the case for extra-virgin and virgin olive oil.

The one who is extra-virgin is very popular with the French. It is an oil that has kept the best taste notes. It is mainly used on raw preparations, in salads, for example. This is the reason why the latter are sold more expensive. These are mostly local products and winners of international competitions. This is why they can reach 50 euros.

Virgin oils, most of which are industrial, are less expensive. These are not necessarily of poor quality. Often obtained with the combination of oils from different regions, they are very suitable for cooking your dishes.

The heat does not retain the aromas of an oil. In addition, extra-virgin olive oil can burn on contact with heat. This is why it is important tohave several kinds of oil at home.

Buy olive oil in small quantities

Unlike wine, olive oil doesn’t get better with age. Its quality decreases from pressing. It cannot be stored for long. To better keep the aromas of this oil, avoid exposing it to heat and light. In fact, always opt for dark packaging.

Over time, this product oxidizes and gradually loses its aromas. It is a rather fragile product that goes rancid very quickly.

In general, a good oil will keep for a year. So don’t buy too much. It is also best to consume it within 3 or 4 months of opening the bottle.

It’s important to check the expiry date on the bottle. However, this trait is quite problematic when it comes to oils from different vintages. For good reason, it is not always sure that the latter are prepared at the same time. It is possible thatthey are composed of an oil of 2016, 2017 and 2018.

In this case, a longer DDM does not necessarily guarantee a good product. The date that matters most is therefore that of the harvest. But this detail is not often indicated.

Should we therefore choose an organic olive oil for quality? “Organic agriculture” certification is increasingly common on olive oil packaging. This detail guarantees that the olives have not undergone any chemical treatment.

On the other hand, the organic label has no real consequences on the taste of the oil. Moreover, commercial olive oils have a rate of contamination with pesticide residues rather low.

Between “green fruity”, “ripe fruity” and “black fruity”, what to choose?

A ripe fruity olive oil is made from ripe harvested olives. It leaves a slight taste of fruit, almond and hazelnut on the palate. It is mainly used for accompany white meat, fish and starchy foods.

The one that is fruity black is made with ripe olives and fermented in large barrels. Its intense and almost bitter taste is close to mushroom and cocoa. It will bring character to rich dishes such as ratatouille. But it can also be used as a dessert.

On the other hand, green fruity oil is obtained from fresh olives. This particular process gives it a slight bitterness similar to artichoke. Its notes of green fruits will bring delicacy to your salads. She goes very well with beef carpaccio, crunchy vegetables or a good tartare. This oil can even sublimate a fruit salad.

Source : What to choose

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Olive oil: the golden rules for choosing the best according to UFC-Que Choisir