How to Pick the Best Olive Oil: 5 Expert Tips
with Katerina Mountanos, Founder & CEO of Kosterina
We all cook with it: olive oil, but we’re here to tell you that all olive oil is not created equal. In fact, the majority of olive oil being sold in grocery stores is not the high-quality, extra-virgin variety it touts itself to be. I was shocked to learn in my conversation with Katerina Mountanos on the Live Purely Podcast that a recent study conducted by the UC Davis Olive Center found that “69% of olive oils marketed as ‘extra-virgin’ in the United States actually did not meet the sensory or chemical criteria for extra-virgin olive oil.”
As consumers, it’s important to know what food out there is good for you and what to stay away from. Below, we dive into Katerina’s top five tips for making sure you’re getting real extra-virgin olive oil.
1. LOOK FOR AN OPAQUE GLASS BOTTLE
Olive oil should always be packaged in a dark opaque glass bottle. If olive oil is stored in a clear container, it allows light to be let in which degrades the quality of the oil. You should always steer clear of olive oil that is packaged in a plastic bottle as well. Olive oil can be corrosive to plastic over time, which leads to microplastics ending up in the oil itself - and no one wants that!
2. CHECK THE HARVEST DATE
Ideally, olive oil should be consumed within 18 months of the harvest date, aka the time when the olives were harvested and pressed. Olive oil past this date can become rancid and lose its antioxidant properties.
3. LOOK FOR SINGLE ORIGIN
Unfortunately, there are a lot of olive oils being sold in markets that are a blend of different oils from different countries. To save on production costs, producers will purchase olive oils from multiple countries and blend them together with seed oils. This leads to an impure oil, yet it is so often touted as extra-virgin when in fact it is not. When you are shopping for olive oil at your local grocery store, look for the phrase “single origin” as this ensures the olive oil is coming from only one country.
4. NOTICE THE SMELL
High-quality extra-virgin olive oil should smell fresh. You should get notes of grass, tomatoes, fruits, vegetables, with hints of olive. You should be able to smell where the olives were harvested.
5. LET IT BURN
When you sip olive oil, you should get a slight burn at the back of your throat. This burn is caused by the polyphenols that naturally occur in olive oil. These polyphenols act as antioxidants which can aid in neutralizing free radicals throughout the body. Basically, the burn means it’s good for you!
If you’re curious to learn more from Katerina about olive oil and her Greek-inspired brand, Kosterina, listen to the full episode below!
Listen to the full episode here to learn more: