How to Choose Olive Oil

Olive oil has revered the world over for its delightful taste and its beneficial health qualities, such as protecting us from heart disease. There are many types of olive oils on the market, so how do you go about selecting one suitable for your needs?


  1. Image titled Choose Olive Oil Step 1 preview
    Be aware of the differences in olive oil styles:
    • Extra-virgin olive oil (sometimes called EVOO) comes from the first pressing of the olives, contains no more than 0.8% acidity, and is judged to have a superior taste. There can be no refined oil in extra-virgin olive oil. This is the healthiest, top of the range of olive oils and should be the oil that graces your salads.
    • Virgin olive oil - The name denotes that this oil has not undergone any refinement; however, it has a higher acidity content (1-4%) than extra virgin olive oil so it retains only some of its natural aromas and flavors.
    • Pure Olive Oil - this is the oil stocked in copious amounts on the supermarket shelves. It is usually the second pressing and is lower-quality refined olive oil. It really depends on the brand and the blend as to the quality and the price. Suitable for cooking.
    • Olive pomace oil - this is solvent extracted olive oil after the food grade oils are taken. It is of a very low grade and will be very cheap. It should be used for cleaning products rather than for cooking and consumption.
  2. Image titled Choose Olive Oil Step 2 preview
    Decide the reason you want your olive oil. If it is for salads, choose virgin or extra virgin olive oils. It is often a good idea to purchase a very small amount of virgin or extra virgin olive oil and keep it aside just for salads. If you are cooking, just plain olive oils are the best choice. If you are creating a cleaning product, such as furniture polish, use the olive pomace oil.
  3. Image titled Choose Olive Oil Step 3 preview
    Choose olive oil encased in dark glass. The dark color helps to prevent oxidation of the oil, which can quickly lead to deterioration of the oil and rancidity.
  4. Image titled Choose Olive Oil Step 4 preview
    Choose for the oil quality, not the color. Olive oils vary considerably in color range, from dark green to a light golden color. The colors are not indicative of quality - the labels as described above are the quality indicators.
  5. Image titled Choose Olive Oil Step 5 preview


  • Olive is best consumed within 12 - 18 months. Ensure that the use-by date is well within the time that you will be able to cook with it.
  • Always prefer extra virgin even for deep frying (smoking point is over 200°C, deep frying temperature 160-190°C).


  • Look out for "blended" oils. Blended "olive oil" products may incorporate cheap, non-olive oils, which often make up more than half the content. These aren't necessarily bad - but you're not getting pure olive oil. Distinguish from different blends of extra virgin olive oils which are fine to consume and enjoy as single variety extra virgin olive oils.
  • Cold pressed or first pressed have higher levels of polyphenols (potent antioxidants) due to the fact that no heat or solvents were used when processing the olives.

Article Info

Categories: Food Selection and Storage