Good for what Ails You
Olive oil…It’s good for what ails you! But which one is the Best Olive Oil
With its many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties to protect your body from heart disease, cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease, olive oil is always in the health news and probably should be on everyone’s shopping list. So that got me wondering, what kind should I buy?
After seeing bottles and bottles and even more bottles of the oil on the grocery store shelf, I didn’t know if some were better than others.
So many brands, so many prices, so many types…Talk about feeling overwhelmed. I just wanted to grab a bottle, toss it into my cart, and never look back.
Deep down I kept thinking it probably DID matter which bottle I chose. But which one? Is extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) better than olive oil? And what about light olive oil? Where does it fit in? My list of questions goes on. And so my research began.
Does price matter?
And what about price? Should I use price as the judge? The higher the price, the higher the quality, right? How about a middle of the road price point that still tastes good? Kind of like how I buy wine, no?
Since my checking account balance wasn’t going to allow me to become an olive oil snob or purchase a bottle of each to taste test, my hunt for a budget friendly brand began.
So I got lost on the internet, reading anything I could find on choosing good quality olive oil. I finally hit the jackpot of information about this golden oil in the book Extra Virginity–the Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller.
I found out that, yes, it DOES matter what type you buy. And, yes, price matters. BUT I found that you can definitely use a less a expensive brand to cook with and splurge on the good stuff you eat straight out of the bottle or in moderation (salad dressings and for dipping fresh baguette slices in).
But to complicate things even further, I learned that olive oil FRAUD has become a problem. Yes, olive oil fraud!
Now there’s something that never occurred to me. Companies that mix poor quality or older olive oil with better and fresher oil yet still slapping a high price tag on the bottle. The unsophisticated EVOO consumer (moi) probably couldn’t tell the difference. Truth. I’m working on it, though.
What you need to look for
Anyway, after much reading and note taking, I narrowed the information down to just a few helpful hints to hopefully clear up some confusion and make EVOO selection a whole lot easier. (Some SUGGESTED BRANDS appear at the end)
1. Extra virgin olive oil ONLY.
Skip “pure” and “light” versions. They’ve been pressed over and over again, may have other types of vegetable oil mixed in, and are missing the health benefits of EVOO. Who needs it.
2. Price matters ~$8-10 and above. Like fine wine.
3. Look for a Best Buy (BB) date, at least 2 years from the day you’re holding it in your hand at the store.
4. Smaller, dark-colored bottle to maintain freshness; glass is best IMO.
5. “Packed in Italy” is NOT found on the label. Packed there does NOT mean it was produced there. Skip those that say “packed in Italy.”
6. Look got some kind of legitimate certification on the label (i.e., California Olive Oil Council) helps. Organic often indicates some level of authenticity
Suggested Brands of Olive Oil
A few readily available budget-friendly brands I found at my area grocery stores:
California Olive Ranch Everyday. (A good price, and even better, most local grocery stores carry it)
Kroger “Private Selection” Extra Virgin Olive Oil (California, Spain, Greece—your choice)
O-Live (most local grocery stores carry this)
Lucina (most local grocery stores carry this but a little bit pricey and what about that clear bottle??)
Omaggia (sometimes available Sam’s Club)
And for those who have easy access to the following stores (lucky you!)
Costco Kirkland TOSCANO
Trader Joes–100% Greek Kalamata, California Estate Olive Oil, Premium Extra Virgin
Whole Foods CALIFORNIA 365
Missing from the List (Stay Away from These)
Pompeian, Colavita, Carapelli, Bertolli, Flippio, and Goya.
My Personal Favorites
Personally, I’m sticking with the Made-in-America California brands. I can support my health and my country’s farmers at the same time. Besides, these are easy for me to find in rural Central Illinois.
For additional Info on choosing the olive oil
For more olive oil info, check out www.truthinoliveoil.com, created by Tom Mueller, author of the book, Extra Virginity: The Sublime Scandalous World of Olive Oil.