Olive Oil is one of the oldest oil used for cooking. The history dates back to the Mediterranean area thousands of years ago. Originally it was used to light lamps, but it wasnt until ancient Egyptians got hold of it that it was used for cooking. Form there it started to travel across Europe and eventually made it to the Americas. Even though California produce some of the best olive oil in the world, Italians are synonymous with olive oil. Most people still dont know what factors affect the quality of olive oil. Things like press date, extra virgin and place of origin are all things that can affect the quality. This article will list some of the Best Olive Oil for Dipping Bread, Cooking, Salads, pasta and more.
Best Olive Oil for Dipping Bread, Cooking, Salads, etc..
Since Olive Oil has such range in its price and flavor, you should buy one that suits your need. I personally wouldn’t use a 40 dollar bottle for stir fry and I certainty wouldn’t use a cheap one for dipping bread. Having said that, everyone palate is different. What is good for me might differ from you.
Colavita Olive Oil (Best Olive Oil for Cooking)
Colavita is a good brand of Olive Oil. The price is a bit above the supermarket variety but its flavor and quality is fantastic. As such, it is one of the best buy for cooking and Pasta. This oil should be robust enough to handle a gentle stir fry.
Catalonia Olive Oil (Best for Dipping Bread and Salads)
If you intend to dip and use the olive oil for salads, its best to get a delicate one. You can taste the different nuances of the oil. Because they are so delicate, its not recommended to cook with it. If you overheat it, you can knacker the flavor.
California Olive Ranch Destination Series (Best Buy)
If the other two are too expensive, then California Olive Ranch oil is one of the best budget friendly oil. They are great for general use. These olive are grown in california and they are some of the best in the world. I would not hesitate to use it for cooking, dippping, pasta, pesto and more.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil vs Olive Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is both a grade and classification of olive oil. Generally, extra virgin olive oil will command a higher price. They must have a free oleic acid level of less than one percent. You can usually get those from the first press of Olive. They tend to have the less amount of those acid. However manufacturer can remove these free oleic acid chemically and still classify it as extra virgin olive oil. These extra virgin olive oil will be cheapest but also lacking in overall taste.
Virgin Olive Oil and Olive Oil will have a much higher concentration of free oleic acid. These type of oil are usually made from second or third press of the olive. Since the acidity level is higher, they tend to go bad faster than extra virgin olive oil. In terms of taste, they can be slightly more greasy with a overly sweet taste.
What is Cold Press Olive Oil?
Cold Press Olive Oil that has pressed under 100 degree Fahrenheit and lower. It is believed that at higher temperature, flavor will start to degrade rapidly. This is the same reason why a lot of juicer will advertise the operating temperature of their machine.
Traditional method of cold pressing will use stone mills to produce the absolute lowest temperature. Automated Machinery might save time and cost, but they generally produce olive oil at a higher temperature. Some modern machines will be able to keep manufacturing process at temperature below 100 degree, but they tend to come at a price. They are also a bit more sanitary then the traditional stone mill method.
Olive Oil Shelf Life and Best By Date
Your average olive oil will have an average of one year shelf life. That one year is from the harvest date. The problem with a lot of lower grade olive oil is that they never list the pick date. Rather, manufacturer will just list the best by date. To ensure that you get the very best, try to find the harvest date and buy it within that period.
Olive oil should be stored in a cool dark environment. The UV radiation from light will damage the overall quality of it. That is one of the reason why the better manufacturer will have dark bottles. Try to avoid clear bottles.
Olive Oil Taste
Olive Oil flavor will vary greatly from manufacturer. There are many factors that affects the taste of a Olive Oil. Regions, Soil, Temperature can all affect the taste of Olive Oil. Much like how different area of coffee bean will have different flavor. For that reason, if you intend to get serious about olive oil, its best to get single origin olive oil. Blends are usually done more for price than quality.
Is Handpicked Olive Better?
Handpicked Olive makes for the best oil. These pickers will pick rip olive that is perfect for manufacturing. However, handpicking is labor intensive and cost quite a bit. Other manufacturer will use machine to mass harvest olive. This means that olive that were not meant to be pressed can be pressed. Time from picking to pressing will also affect the flavor. Oil that has been pressed within 24 hours will produce the best oil.
Seasonal and Regional Differences
Olive are also seasonal, much like fruits and vegetable. Olive Oil that is picked from October to early November are usually the most highly prized. These oil are fruitier, robust and more peppery. Olive picked from December to January will be more mild in flavor. Temperature and environmental factor can also change the flavor. The end result will depends on how certain years are and how the farmers adapt to it. Some farmers also have special variety of olives.
Filtered vs Unfiltered Olive Oil
Most people know of Olive Oil as its clear green liquid. However, some manufacturer will sell it unfiltered. These unfiltered olive oil is as it sounds, they were not filtered to remove all the sediments. As such, you will find green cloudy bits in it. The good thing about unfiltered olive oil is that it adds a bit of body to its texture.
Nutrition and Health
Olive Oil is one of the healthiest oil you can use. Its high in mono saturated fat, tons of antioxidant, prevents heart disease, has natural anti bacterial property and more. What more is that I notice that olive oil does not leave a sticky film like you get from Canola Oil.
As a oil, its high in calorie and dense in fat. Having said that, I would say the health benefit that you get is much better than other oils out there. I personally use it just for that reason.
Below you will find the Nutritional Facts for Jamon.
|Serving Size||100 g (3.5oz)|
|Total Fat||100 g|
|Saturated Fat||14 g|
|Trans Fat||0 g|
|Total Carbohydrate||0 g|
|Dietary Fiber||0 g|
|Total Sugar||0 g|
Best Olive Oil for Dipping Bread, Cooking and Salads Thoughts
Much like wine, coffee and Soy Sauce, there are various factors that affects quality. What might seem good to one person will differ from another. Ultimately you would not be able to tell the difference until you start trying the better tasting olive oil. What you should get should depends on your taste and needs. I personally use olive oil for its best health benefit.
Want to try more oil? Check out our Sesame Oil Guide. Its one of best oil for salads, soups and more.