If you use olive oil, you must learn to distinguish genuine from fake.
The market has many fake brands claiming to sell authentic olive oil.
Cheap olive oil might be impure, and it may be manufactured under poor manufacturing standards.
Therefore, you won’t get quality when using such a product.
But, What’s The Difference Between Cheap and Expensive Olive Oil?
Expensive olive oil is manufactured using olives from a single source, which could be a country, region, or vine group. These olives are grown carefully and harvested the right way. Manufacturers press them only once using a specific amount of force. They do not extract harmful pomace oils from the olives and pay extra attention to ensuring the flavor and quality of the oil they extract. If a manufacturer presses a batch with low-quality standards, it’s either sold off or sold as off-brand instead of the main brand.
On the other hand, cheap olive oil products come from olives obtained from all over Mediterranean. Manufacturers do not care about the olives’ origin. They mix them and can even use heat and chemicals when extracting oil from the olives and their seeds. They mix the oil with other oils without paying attention to the flavor. The focus is only on the volume.
What Does Quality and Price of Olive Oil Entail?
Extra virgin oil is the highest quality olive oil available. However, even in this category, you will still find differences in price and quality.
Because of its high quality, extra virgin oil is the priciest on the market. That is because it undergoes specific processes and standards before its certified.
For instance, the EVOO grade requires the oil to have less than 0.8% acidity.
Additionally, it has to either be extracted from pressing olives using direct contact or centrifuges that press the oil out.
Another trait of expensive olive oils is cold pressing, where the olives are pressed at 86 degrees Fahrenheit or lower temperatures.
The process keeps the olive oil from coming in contact with hits or chemicals when it is milled.
On the other hand, cheap olive oils have high acidic levels and are manufactured under refined processes.
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What Makes Expensive Olive Oil Pricey?
1. Cold Pressing Uses Many Olives
Manufacturers usually handpick the highest quality olives to make extra virgin oils.
It can take several trees to produce one kilo of oil. For producers to extract 1 kg of olive oil, they have to cold press approximately 9-11 kilograms.
So imagine how many olives have to be used to make even 5 kgs of oil. It’s a lot which contributes to the price increase.
It’s also wise to note that while olives have a high content of monosaturated fats, you will not get a beneficial amount from one olive.
2. Olives Are Hand and Not Machine Harvested
Manufacturers of expensive olive oil usually harvest the olives with their hands using combs.
After, they will use aerated boxes for the transportation of the olives.
On arrival, the olives must be checked for quality, especially in terms of colors, appearance, and any deformities.
3. Olives Are Obtained from a Single Source
Using a mixture of different olives is easy because the manufacturer can obtain them quickly.
However, in doing so, they may end up with olives of different ripeness, which affects the taste.
Expensive companies tend to outsource their olives from a single source. Therefore, the ripeness is uniform and so are the color and flavor.
A brand can get its olive from one region, country, or vine. As a result, it’s easy to achieve a quality, distinctive taste in its oil.
Why Buy Quality Olive Oil?
Although good olive oil is expensive, it offers value for money and can even save you in the long run. Here is why you should always buy quality olive oil:
1. Quality Influences the Taste
Quality olive oil adds flavor to simple meals like pasta.
You can use it to brighten soups, delicious yogurts, roasted vegetables, and other meals.
The high-fat concentration allows more flavor into your food. Therefore, you can expect delicious meals each time you use your olive oil.
We must also mention that good quality olive oil allows easier cooking, which translates to better meals.
2. Quality Means Fresh
Olive oil’s quality reduces with time.
Therefore, the more it stays on the shelves, the less quality it will be.
But, fresh olive oil will give better results during cooking. If you want to ensure freshness, opt for quality olive oil.
Expensive brands usually indicate when the oil was manufactured. Surprisingly, many olives oils are on the shelves than are months old.
You can easily pick a fresh bottle as you can see the date. Some brands may also list other information like olive varietal and the country of origin of the olives.
3. Quality Means Better Packaging
Good quality olive oil bottles usually come in a smart package.
Often, cheap brands use clear glass or plastic for packaging their product.
However, this packaging is light and reduces the quality of the oil.
High-end brands tend to use metal or dark glass to contribute to the product’s durability.
How Do You Identify Quality Olive Oil Using the Label?
1. Buy Young Bottles
The younger the olive oil is, the better it will be.
Even if you purchase a good bottle from three years ago, it won’t offer you quality compared to a younger bottle.
2. Check The Harvest Date
Different places pick and press their olives in different months.
For example, olive oils in Italy are usually picked and pressed in October and November.
But they only list the expiration date and not the date they were harvested.
Look for a brand that shows when the olives were picked and pressed. The picking and pressing for a good bottle should happen at least 24 hours before.
Should You Use Expensive or Cheap Olive Oil?
Remember that olive oil is the main active ingredient in both bottles.
The only issue is the polyphenol content which is in expensive bottles.
We advise you to use a product with high phenolic organic for salads, dips, raw, overcooked food, or seasonings. But such olive oil is expensive, so be prepared to spend a little more.
Olive oil prices range from $10 to hundreds of dollars.
But we must mention that while price can influence the quality of the bottle, it’s not always the case.
A decent olive oil can cost between $10-$20, a mid-range $20-$40 product is of high quality, and anything greater than $40 is considered the best quality.
If a bottle sells more than this, you could be buying the branding or artisan quality.
The only way to know whether a bottle is worth it is to try and decide for yourself.
If you are disappointed with the flavor, you may want to consider a different brand.
Quality olive oil tastes like peppery and has a bitter taste sometimes. Such flavor shows that the oil has low acidity, is rich in antioxidants, and is newly pressed.
Well, there is everything you need to know about cheap and expensive olive oil.
We hope you learnt something from this guide and you can make an informed decision next time you are purchasing your olive oil.